20 Mar 2024 | Marine Corps Installations East

It is with great sadness that the Marine Corps announces the death of the 29th Commandant of the Marine Corps, General Alfred M. Gray. General Gray died March 20, 2024 in Alexandria, Virginia, after a brief stay in hospice care.  

“Today I mourn with all Marines, past and present, the loss of our 29th Commandant, Gen. Gray,” said Gen. Eric M. Smith, 39th Commandant of the Marine Corps. “He was a ‘Marine’s Marine’—a giant who walked among us during his career and after, remaining one of the Corps’ dearest friends and advocates even into his twilight. His contributions are many, including the development of our maneuver warfare doctrine, Warfighting, which remains, to this day, the philosophic bedrock of how we fight as Marines. Although he will be missed by all, his legacy will endure and his spirit will continue to live among us.” 

General Gray was promoted to the rank of general, July 1, 1987, and he immediately assumed duties as the Commandant of the Marine Corps. He retired June 30, 1991, and spent his retirement years in northern Virginia with his wife, Jan, until her death in 2020. 

General Gray presided over significant changes in the Marine Corps, none more important than the development and publication of Fleet Marine Force Manual 1 (FMFM-1), Warfighting. This document, barely over 100 pages, has become legendary among military doctrine and remains the foundation for how the Marine Corps thinks about, prepares for, and executes all Marine Corps operations.  

General Gray also placed emphasis on large-scale maneuver in desert and cold-weather environments and robust maritime special operations capabilities. His staunch advocacy for military education resulted in the establishment of Marine Corps University. 

General Gray was beloved by his Marines, and he is well known for being the first Commandant to have his official photograph and portrait taken in the camouflage utility uniform, famously remarking that “every Marine is, first and foremost, a rifleman. All other conditions are secondary.” 

His full biography is located here: Gen. Alfred M. Gray. A full obituary will be released shortly.

All Marine Corps Installations will half-mast the National Ensign upon receipt of ALMAR 003/24 until sunset on April 18. The 29-day period is in honor of the Corps’ 29th Commandant. Media seeking additional information should contact U.S. Marine Corps Communication Directorate at