Naval Historical Center
805 Kidder Breese Street SE
Washington Navy Yard, DC 20374-5060
Charles Wellington Gray was born in Chicago, Illinois on 27 November 1897. After attending Crane High School in Chicago and Michigan State University, he received an appointment to Annapolis on 6 August 1917. While still a Midshipman, Gray served with the Atlantic Fleet in World War I, and was graduated and commissioned an Ensign in June 1921.
From June 1921 to October 1924 he served in the gunnery department on USS New York. In July 1924 Gray was promoted to Lieutenant (jg), and in November of that year reported to USS Savannah. He was later assigned to USS S-26, serving on her cruise to the West Coast and Hawaii before returning to Portland, Oregon. Detached from S-26 in June 1925, he attended Submarine School at New London, Connecticut, completing that course as well as the Army-Navy Staff College course in June 1926. He was briefly posted to the submarine O-10, attached to the submarine base at Coco Solo in the Panama Canal Zone. Commissioned a Lieutenant in June 1927, he assumed command of the submarine O-8 two months later.
Gray remained in command of O-8 until June 1928 when he was transferred to the Fleet Training Division in the Office of the Chief of Naval Operations. He returned to sea duty in July 1930, commanding USS R-9 and S-19 until May 1933. From May 1933 until June 1935, Gray was Assistant Inspector of Ordnance in Charge at the Mine Depot in New London, and spent several months on USS Arkansas during the 1935 Midshipman's Practice Cruise.
Gray was next assigned to the Asiatic Station and in December 1935 reported onboard USS Canopus as Senior Aide and Operations Officer on the staff of Commander, Submarine Squadron 5. He later served in submarines of the Asiatic Fleet, and in the fall of 1937 assisted with the evacuation of Americans from Tsingtao, China. Promoted to Lieutenant Commander in October of that year, Gray continued his service in the Far East until April 1938, when he returned to the United States. He spent two years at the Puget Sound Navy Yard in Washington before assuming the duties of First Lieutenant and Damage Control Officer on USS Yorktown (CV-5).
Late in 1941 he was given command of Submarine Division 52 and was serving in the North Pacific Force when the U.S. joined World War II. Advanced to the rank of Captain on 20 June 1942, Gray assumed command of Submarine Squadron 1 of the Atlantic Fleet that August. He held this position until August 1944 when he was designated Task Commander in the Amphibious Force, Pacific Fleet. He remained in this assignment until the end of World War II.
Following the war, Gray returned to the United States, first as Commanding Officer of the Submarine Base at New London. Beginning in February 1946 he held the additional title of Commander, Inactive Fleet, later known as New London Group, Atlantic Reserve Fleet. In September 1947, he was designated Professor of Naval Science with the NROTC unit at Cornell University. After being relieved from this assignment in May 1950, he served on the Naval Examining Board and Physical Disability Board. Gray continued in this assignment until he retired on 30 June 1951 with the tombstone rank of Rear Admiral.
Scope and Content Note
This collection contains personal and official papers of Rear Admiral Charles W. Gray. The collection spans the years 1924 to 1953, but most of the material dates from the 1930s through 1947. Four series are present in the collection.
Series I, Biographical Information, 1925-1947, contains background information on Admiral Gray. A number of his Officer Data Cards are found in this collection, as are several certificates. This series is arranged chronologically.
Series II, Correspondence, 1924-1953, consists largely of official correspondence sent and received by Admiral Gray during his Navy career. A smaller amount of personal correspondence is present as well. The Correspondence series is arranged chronologically.
Series III, Orders, 1924-1953, contains Gray's orders, assignments to temporary duty, and the attached endorsement pages. Some of these relate to his service as Task Commander with the Pacific Fleet Amphibious Force and involve Admiral Daniel Barbey. A related collection is the Papers of Admiral Daniel Barbey, also held by the Operational Archives Branch. The Orders series is arranged chronologically.
Series IV, Photograph, 1922, contains an autographed photo of President Warren G. Harding with an inscription congratulating the crew of USS New York on winning the 1922 Gunnery Trophy.
This collection should be cited as Papers of Charles W. Gray, Operational Archives Branch, Naval Historical Center, Washington, D.C.
Subject Headings (LCSH)
World War, 1939-1945--Naval Operations, American.
United States. Navy. Pacific Fleet. Amphibious Force.
New York (Battleship : BB-34)
Harding, Warren G. (Warren Gamaliel), 1865-1923--Photographs.
United States. Navy--History--Sources.
0.5 cubic feet
30 September 2002