Gillette Veteran Recalls Historic WWII Moment

Veterans everywhere are being honored for their service and commitment.

"All the way through the Pacific."

Richard Gray recalls his service in the Navy during World War II.

He fought at both Iwo Jima and Okinawa, two of the bloodiest battles in the Pacific.

He piloted small ships known as “Landing Ship Tanks”.

The LSTs dropped off soldiers so they could walk onshore and reach the battlefront.

"We stayed on the boat," said Richard Gray, a WWII Veteran.

He didn't go onto land, but saw everything unfold.

"It's a lot of activity I guess."

A defining moment for him was witnessing the American flag being raised over Iwo Jima.

"It was fantastic ‘cause we knew all about it. We gave them a salute."

Tyler: you saluted once they raised that flag?

"You bet!"

When Gray got back from the Pacific, he didn't talk much about his service overseas. It wasn't until the past 10 to 15 years, that he started sharing his story with family and friends."

Neal had a small biography written about him by his children.

"We didn't know all about these things, and over the years we started putting together these stories that he had told," said Neal Gray, Richard’s son.

“In those days, they just didn't even think about it. They just went because that's what had to be done."

Gray felt honored to serve and represent the red, white, and blue.

"We were glad that we were serving our country, but more jubilation than whatever we were happy about it."

After Iwo Jima, Gray was stationed at Okinawa for roughly five months.

While at Okinawa, he heard about the armistice being signed, officially ending the war.

Gray was honored alongside nearly ten other veterans today (Friday) in Gillette.

State Representative Eric Barlow presided over the ceremony along with Gillette City Councilman, Billy Montgomery.

Both of them are veterans themselves.