FORT GORDON, GA – Fort Gordon will dedicate its new machine gun range on Thursday, Dec. 13, in memory of a former commanding general and Columbia County resident, the late Lt. Gen. Robert E. Gray.
At the ceremony, set for 8 a.m. at Freedom Park, installation leaders will unveil a plaque dedicating the Lt. Gen. Robert E. Gray Multi-Purpose Machine Gun Range. Signal Center of Excellence and Fort Gordon Commanding General Maj. Gen. LaWarren Patterson will officiate, according to a news release from the facility.
Gray commanded the Signal Center of Excellence and Fort Gordon from August 1991 to July 1994. He was the first African-American commanding general of the installation, and is widely credited with managing the expansion of Fort Gordon with the arrival of new units after the first Persian Gulf War.
He was inducted as a distinguished member of the Signal Regiment in 2000.
After his retirement from the Army in 1997, Gray settled in Evans and served as chairman of the Columbia County Democratic Party. He died on Nov. 23, 2011, from injuries he received in a vehicle crash.
The Lt. Gen. Robert E. Gray Multi-Purpose Machine Gun Range is under construction with completion expected in early 2014, according to the news release. When finished, it will fill a training capabilities gap at Fort Gordon, where post units must travel to Fort Stewart to qualify on heavy machine guns.