Gray (May 30, 1909 November 26, 1982) was an official
in the government of the United States during the administrations
of Harry Truman (194553) and Dwight Eisenhower (195361)
associated with defense and national security.
Gray was born in Baltimore, Maryland, the son of Bowman
Gray, Sr. and Nathalie Lyons Gray. He was married in 1938
to the former Jane Boyden Craige, and they had four sons:
Gordon Gray, Jr., Burton C. Gray, C. Boyden Gray and Bernard
Gray. After Jane's death, Gray married the former Nancy
Maguire Beebe. His father Bowman, his uncle James A. Gray,
Jr. and later his brother, Bowman Gray, Jr., were all
heads of R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company.
son, C. Boyden Gray, a graduate of Harvard and the University
of North Carolina Law School, served as White House counsel
for President George Herbert Walker Bush. His nephew,
Lyons Gray, also a graduate of both North Carolina and
Yale, is chief financial officer for the Environmental
Gray graduated from the University of North Carolina in
1930, where he was a member of Delta Kappa Epsilon fraternity
(Beta chapter) & the secretive, Order of Gimghoul.
He earned his law degree from Yale Law School in 1933
and practiced law for two years in New York City before
returning to Winston-Salem. UNC presented Gray with an
honorary law degree in 1949. He was the second president
of the Consolidated University of North Carolina, succeeding
Frank Porter Graham in 1950.
began his public life as a lawyer and was elected to the
North Carolina General Assembly in 1939, 1941, and 1947,
representing Forsyth County. He entered the U.S. Army
in 1942 as a private and rose to captain, serving in Europe
with General Omar Bradley's forces. Gray's service to
the federal government began with his appointment as President
Harry S. Truman's assistant secretary of the army in 1947;
two years later, he was appointed Secretary of the Army.
He served in this post from 1949 until 1950. The following
year, he became director of the newly formed Psychological
Strategy Board which planned for and coordinated government
psychological operations; he remained in the post until
May 1952, all the while continuing to lead the University
of North Carolina.
1954, Gray chaired a committee appointed by AEC chairman
Lewis Strauss which recommended revoking Robert Oppenheimer's
security clearance. The Gray Board, as it was known, issued
its split decision on May 27, 1954, with Gray and Thomas
A. Morgan recommending the revocation, despite their finding
that Oppenheimer was a "loyal citizen." Dr.
Ward V. Evans, a conservative Republican and the third
member of the board, dissented, saying that most of the
allegations against Oppenheimer had been heard before,
in 1947, when he had originally received his clearance.
shocked proponents of public education in North Carolina
when he said, in a November 1954 Founder's Day speech
at Guilford College, that "if I had to make a
choice between a complete system of publicly supported
higher education or a complete system of private higher
education, I would choose the latter as a greater safeguard
of the things for which we live." Less than a
year later, Secretary of Defense Charles Erwin Wilson
named Gray assistant secretary for international security
affairs and Gray's brief career in academia was ended.
Dwight D. Eisenhower appointed him to head the Office
of Defense Mobilization in 1957, where he served until
the office's consolidation in 1958. Eisenhower then appointed
Gray as his National Security Advisor from 1958 until
1961. On January 18, 1961, President Eisenhower awarded
Gray the Presidential Medal of Freedom. He served on the
President's Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board under
Presidents John F. Kennedy, Lyndon B. Johnson, Richard
M. Nixon and Gerald R. Ford. In 1976, he was awarded the
United States Military Academy's Sylvanus Thayer Award.
controversial leaked documents, Gray is alleged to have
been part of the secret Majestic 12 organization.
was also publisher of the Winston-Salem Journal, chairman
of the board of Piedmont Publishing Company and chairman
of the National Trust for Historic Preservation.