Gray, James Seton, Jr., CAPT

Deceased
 
 Service Photo   Service Details
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Last Rank
Captain
Last Primary NEC
131X-Unrestricted Line Officer - Pilot
Last Rating/NEC Group
Line Officer
Primary Unit
1964-1966, Navy Absentee Collection Unit (NACU) Norfolk VA
Service Years
1936 - 1966
Captain
Captain

 Last Photo   Personal Details 

17 kb

Home State
Wisconsin
Wisconsin
Year of Birth
1914
 
This Military Service Page was created/owned by Bersley H. Thomas, Jr. (Tom), SMCS to remember Gray, James Seton, Jr., CAPT.

If you knew or served with this Sailor and have additional information or photos to support this Page, please leave a message for the Page Administrator(s) HERE.
 
Contact Info
Home Town
Milwakee, WI
Last Address
Coronado, CA

Date of Passing
Aug 28, 1998
 
Location of Interment
U.S Naval Academy Cemetery - Annapolis, Maryland
Wall/Plot Coordinates
Not Specified

 Official Badges 

US Navy Retired 30


 Unofficial Badges 




 Military Association Memberships
WW II Memorial National RegistryUnited States Navy Memorial
  2019, WW II Memorial National Registry
  2019, United States Navy Memorial - Assoc. Page


 Additional Information
Last Known Activity

US Navy Captain. Gray grew up in Milwaukee, Wisconsin and from an early age learned to fly. He soloed at the age of fourteen and became the youngest licensed pilot in the United States in 1930. He graduated from the United States Naval Academy in 1936 and after graduation he served at sea until 1938 when he was accepted at Flight Training School. Upon completion of Flight School he was assigned to Squadron VF-6 aboard the Aircraft Carrier, U.S.S. Enterprise. On February 1, 1942 he led the strike against Taroa Air Base in the Marshalls Islands. During this mission he shot down two Imperial Navy Mitsubishi A5M Claude fighters over Taroa. On June 4, 1942 Gray took part in the decisive action of the battle of Midway as Squadron Commander of VF-6 and leader of a ten plane flight of VF-6 Grumman F4F Wildcat fighters assigned to protect the slow vulnerable, outmoded Douglas TBD Devastator torpedo planes of Torpedo Squadron VT-6 also based aboard the Enterprise. During 1942-1943 he commanded the fighter training squadron at Pensacola, and authored the Navy fighter pilots Bible "A to N for the Fighter Pilot". Gray was Chief of Staff to the Commander Carrier Division Four as well as Commander Carrier Air Group 3. He was also Executive Officer and Commanding Officer of the Aircraft Carrier U.S.S. Coral Sea as well as Commanding Officer of the Ammunittion ships U.S.S. Mauna Loa and U.S.S. Suribachi. Gray was the first Navy pilot to achieve "Ace" status in World War II. He retired from the Navy in 1965. (bio by: Saratoga)
   
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Not Specified
   
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  1951-1952, USS Coral Sea (CV-43)

Commander

From Month/Year
July / 1951

To Month/Year
December / 1952

Unit
USS Coral Sea (CV-43) Unit Page

Rank
Commander

NEC
Not Specified

Location
Not Specified

Country/State
Not Specified
 
 
 Patch
 USS Coral Sea (CV-43) Details

USS Coral Sea (CV-43)
Hull number CVB 43

USS Coral Sea (CV/CVB/CVA-43), a Midway-class aircraft carrier, was the third ship of the United States Navy to be named for theBattle of the Coral Sea. She earned the affectionate nickname "Ageless Warrior" through her long career. Initially classified as anaircraft carrier with hull classification symbol CV-43, the contract to build her was awarded to Newport News Shipbuilding of Newport News, Virginia on 14 June 1943. She was reclassified as a "Large Aircraft Carrier" with hull classification symbol CVB-43 on 15 July 1943. Her keel was laid down on 10 July 1944. She was launched on 2 April 1946 sponsored by Mrs. Thomas C. Kinkaid, andcommissioned on 1 October 1947 with Captain A.P. Storrs III in command.

Before 8 May 1945, the aircraft carrier CVB-42 had been known as USS Coral Sea; after that date, CVB-42 was renamed in honor ofFranklin D. Roosevelt, the late President, and CVB-43 was namedCoral Sea.

 

 

Installation of the Pilot Landing Aid Television (PLAT) system was completed on Coral Sea on 14 December 1961. She was the first carrier to have this system installed for operations use. Designed to provide a videotape of every landing, the system proved useful for instructional purposes and in the analysis of landing accidents, thereby making it an invaluable tool in the promotion of safety. By 1963, all attack carriers had been equipped with PLAT and plans were underway for installation in the CVSs and at shore stations.

The Coral Sea leaving Pearl Harbor in 1963

Following the Gulf of Tonkin Incident in August, Coral Sea departed on 7 December 1964 for duty with the Seventh Fleet. On 7 February 1965, aircraft from Coral Sea, along with those from Ranger and Hancock, blasted the military barracks and staging areas near Dong Hoi in the southern sector of North Vietnam. The raids were in retaliation for a damaging Viet Cong attack on installations around Pleiku in South Vietnam. On 26 March, the Seventh Fleetunits began their participation in Operation Rolling Thunder, a systematic bombing of military targets throughout North Vietnam. Pilots from Coral Seastruck island and coastal radar stations in the vicinity of Vinh SonCoral Searemained on deployment until returning home on 1 November 1965.

The Coral Sea made another Westpac/Vietnam deployment from 29 July 1966 to 23 February 1967.

In the summer of 1967 the city of San Francisco adopted the ship as "San Francisco's Own."[1] This might seem ironic given the strong anti-military sentiment in the San Francisco Bay area, and the fact that this occurred during the Summer of Love[2] Despite this, the city and the ship enjoyed a formal, official relationship. However, there were probably many times the crew did not enjoy the attitudes of Bay Area residents at all. The feeling was mutual.[1]

The ship continued to make WestPac/Vietnam deployments until 1975: 26 July 1967 to 6 April 1968; 7 September 1968 to 15 April 1969; 23 September 1969 to 1 July 1970; 12 November 1971 to 17 July 1972; 9 March 1973 to 8 November; and from 5 December 1974 to 2 July 1975. Operations by United States Navy and United States Marine Corps aircraft inVietnam expanded significantly throughout April 1972 with a total of 4,833 Navy sorties in the south and 1,250 in the north. Coral Sea, along with Hancock, was on Yankee Station when the North Vietnamese spring offensive began. They were joined in early April by Kitty Hawk and Constellation. On 16 April 1972, aircraft from Coral Sea, along with those from Kitty Hawk and Constellation, flew 57 sorties in the Haiphong area in support of U.S. Air Force B-52 Stratofortressstrikes on the Haiphong petroleum products storage area in an operation known as Freedom Porch.

After refitting, from 1970 through to 1971, and during Reftra down to San Diego, the Coral Sea on its return trip to Alameda caught fire in the communications department. The fire spread so fast that Captain William H. Harriscommanded that the carrier be put just off shore between San Mateo and Santa Barbara in order to abandon ship if the fire could not be put under control. Several communications personnel were trapped and Radiomen Bob Bilbo and Bill Larimore pulled many shipmates out of the burning and smoke filled compartments.

Operation Pocket Money, the mining campaign against principal North Vietnamese ports, was launched 9 May 1972. Early that morning, an EC-121 aircraft took off from Da Nang airfield to provide support for the mining operation. A short time later, Kitty Hawk launched 17 ordnance-delivering sorties against the Nam Dinh railroad siding as a diversionary air tactic. Poor weather, however, forced the planes to divert to secondary targets at Thanh and Phu QuiCoral Sealaunched three A-6A Intruders and six A-7E Corsair II aircraft loaded with naval mines and one EKA-3B Skywarrior in support of the mining operation directed against the outer approaches to Haiphong Harbor. The mining aircraft departed the vicinity of Coral Sea timed to execute the mining at precisely 09:00 local time to coincide with President Richard M. Nixon's public announcement in Washington that naval mines had been seeded. The Intruder flight led by the CAG, Commander Roger E. Sheets, was composed of United States Marine Corps aircraft from VMA-224 and headed for the inner channel.

Flight operations during the Vietnam war

The Corsairs, led by Commander Leonard E. Giuliani and made up of aircraft from VA-94 and VA-22, were designated to mine the outer segment of the channel. Each aircraft carried four MK52-2 mines. Captain William R. Carr, USMC, the bombardier/navigator in the lead plane, established the critical attack azimuth and timed the naval mine releases. The first mine was dropped at 08:59 and the last of the field of 36 mines at 09:01. Twelve mines were placed in the inner harbor and the remaining 24 in the outer. All mines were set with 72-hour arming delays, thus permitting merchant ships time for departure or a change in destination consistent with the President's public warning. It was the beginning of a mining campaign that planted over 11,000 MK36 type destructor and 108 special Mk 52-2 mines over the next eight months. It is considered to have played a significant role in bringing about an eventual peace arrangement, particularly since it so hampered the enemy's ability to continue receiving war supplies.

On 12 May to 14 May 1975, Coral Sea participated with other United States NavyUnited States Air Force, and United States Marine Corps forces in the Mayaguez incident, the recovery of the U.S. merchant ship SS Mayaguez and her 39 crew, illegally seized on 12 May in international waters by a Cambodian gunboat controlled by the Communist Khmer Rouge. Protective air strikes flown from the carrier against the Cambodian mainland naval and air installations as Air Force helicopters with 288 Marines from Battalion Landing Teams 2 and 9 were launched from U TapaoThailand, and landed at Koh Tang Island to rescue the Mayaguez's crew and secure the ship. Eighteen Marines, Airmen, and Navy corpsmen were lost in the action. For her action, Coral Sea was presented the Meritorious Unit Commendation on 6 July 1976. Meanwhile, she had been reclassified as a "Multi-Purpose Aircraft Carrier", returning to hull classification symbolCV-43, on 30 June 1975.

 



Type
Surface Vessels

Existing/Disbanded
Decommissioned

Parent Unit
Midway-class

Strength
Aircraft Carrier

Created/Owned By
Not Specified
   

Last Updated: Apr 11, 2019
   
   
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13 Members Also There at Same Time
USS Coral Sea (CV-43)

Russell, James Sargent, ADM, (1926-1965) OFF 131X Captain
Harvey, John Wesley, LCDR, (1950-1963) OFF 118X Ensign
Isaman, Roy Maurice, RADM, (1944-1974) Lieutenant Commander
Rhoads, Samuel, MCPO AE AE-0000 Master Chief Petty Officer
Smith Jr, Bert, CWO2, (1940-1960) BT BT-0000 Chief Petty Officer
BACK, JOHNNY, PO2, (1950-1954) ET ET-1444 Petty Officer First Class
Consiglio, Salvatore, PO2, (1952-1960) FP FP-0000 Petty Officer Second Class
Dubetsky, John, PO3, (1950-1953) PH PH-0000 Petty Officer Third Class
Goodwin, John, PO3, (1950-1954) EM EM-4650 Petty Officer Third Class
Wantz, Robert (Bob), PO3, (1950-1953) TE Petty Officer Third Class
Schwartz, Jack, AN, (1948-1952) Airman
Henry, David, SR, (1952-1954) 00 00-0000 Seaman Recruit
Ricci, Francesco, AR, (1952-1955) AB AB-0000 Airman Recruit

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