FORT GORDON, GA (January 26, 2015) -- On Jan 23rd, Fort Gordon hosted a ribbon cutting ceremony to open the Lt. Gen. Robert E. Gray Multipurpose Machine Gun Range. The new range provides a facility for assigned military units to fire and qualify on all machine guns from M249 Squad Automatic Weapons up to M2.50 caliber machine guns.
For those in attendance it was a chance to see the range's capability and to honor its namesake, Fort Gordon's first African American commanding general and Chief of the Army's Signal branch.
The event was hosted by the current commanding general, Maj. Gen. Stephen G. Fogarty. Fogarty started by thanking those who braved the steady rain for attending and then introduced the invited speaker, US Army Chief Information Officer/G-6, Lt. Gen. Robert S. Ferrell.
Ferrell praised Gray as a ground-breaking leader citing many "firsts" in his career. He also paid homage to the man as a husband, father, friend and mentor.
"What I want to emphasize today is how Bob Gray took every experience -- every moment of his incredible life - both in and out of uniform, -- and used them for the benefit of others
…for the benefit of soldiers,
… for the benefit of the Signal Corps ,
… and for the benefit of our nation"
Of Gray's time has the commanding general of Fort Gordon, Ferrell said "much of what Fort Gordon is today -- can be attributed to the hard work and leadership of LTG Gray -- and just about everywhere you look - you'll see evidence of the positive impact he had on the Signal community and on this great installation".
He continued, "It was impossible not to admire and respect him…but he never lost his sense of humility, his kindness or his gratitude for life, his lovely wife and their children, and the opportunity to serve his country."
A live-fire weapons demonstration accompanied the ceremony highlighting the range's capabilities to support qualifications of high caliber weapon systems used for machine gun marksmanship training.
Both Ferrell and Fogarty took the opportunity to fire the M2 50 caliber machine gun after visiting with all the Soldiers on the firing positions and presenting them with their personal coins.
"This range is a tremendous tribute to Lt. Gen. Gray", said Ferrell, "especially in the hands of these fantastic Soldiers."
One of the Soldiers on the firing range, Staff Sgt. Joshua Melee of Company A, 202nd Military Battalion, said he was glad Fort Gordon finally had their own machine gun range. "I have been here (at Fort Gordon) six years now, we have had to travel to Fort Jackson (in South Carolina) and Fort Bragg (in North Carolina) to qualify on these weapons," Staff Sgt. Mcelwee said. "This range is going to save us valuable training time."