by Lisa Alley
FORT GORDON, Ga. – Retired LTG Robert Gray was inducted as the newest distinguished member of the Regiment during the 2000 Signal symposium.
Retiring from the Army in 1997 with more than 31 years of service, he continues to play an active role as a mentor for officers and supporter of the Regiment.
Gray’s career ended as deputy commander in chief of U.S. Army Europe and Seventh Army; he was the first Signal general to be appointed to this position, a job usually reserved for combat-arms officers. Another upper-level job was Chief of Signal.
It was during his tenure as Chief of Signal that he made his most lasting impact on the Signal Regiment. Responsible for training Signal soldiers and leaders in a time of Army downsizing and cutbacks in money and staff, he oversaw Fort Gordon’s expansion just after the Persian Gulf War during the nation’s base-realignment-and-closure initiatives, when three units moved to Fort Gordon. He was also at the helm during the greatest revision to date of enlisted jobs in Signal Corps’ history, when major changes were made in 47 military-occupation specialties and new MOSs were created to answer the Army’s needs.
The Signal School reorganized and revamped in the early 1990s to develop and train soldiers for an Army becoming digitally based. Although completed after Gray retired, he was responsible as well for initiating the major changes later occurring with Signal warrant officers, as warrant MOSs consolidated to reflect the Army’s evolution.
Gray also created the first Battle Command Battle Lab at the Signal Center to help the Army better use commercial-off-the-shelf technology and speed the Army’s procurement process. He was the first senior officer to see that automation and communications had to be linked and started the effort with officer-training programs at the Signal Center to cross-train Signal officers in automation functions, and Functional Area 53 officers in Signal functions. Gray also enhanced training by expanding technical training at the Regimental Noncommissioned Officers Academy, mobile-subscriber equipment training and use of simulators for training at the Signal Center.
The Vietnam veteran is now president and chief executive officer of Gray Consultants Inc., based in Augusta, Ga.
The distinguished member of the Regiment program was created when the Signal Corps became a Regiment in 1986. At that time the corps instituted a program to recognize people who have made a special contribution and distinguished themselves in service to the Regiment. There are 47 DMs.
Ms. Alley edits Army Communicator.
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