Timothy Gray was born September 24, 1922 in Saskatoon,
25 May 1945, then 1st Lt Ralph Gray, per General Order
95, issued by Headquarters, 20th Air Force, was awarded
the Distinguished Flying Cross for his actions on
10 April 1945 while flying a practice-bombing mission.
order reads as follows:
extraordinary achievement while participating in aerial
flight on 10 April 1945 as Airplane Commander of a
B-29 aircraft during a practice bombing mission over
the Marianas Islands. The propeller of broke from
one of the engines, and, turning at a high rate of
speed struck the plane and penetrated the fuselage
almost cutting it in two. As a result of the accident
practically all flying controls were severed and communication
lines cut. The aircraft was at the low altitude of
1000 feet and Lieutenant Gray through his superior
professional ability flew his almost severed plane
for approximately fifty minutes until he sighted a
friendly convoy. Ordering the crew to bailout he remained
at the controls of the plane until it reached such
a low altitude that the possibility of his own escape
was very doubtful. Assured that all crew members had
safely parachuted safely from the aircraft he left
the controls of the airplane and although he experienced
extreme difficulty when the plane lurched forward,
he managed to jump clear. His parachute opened just
prior to his striking the water. Lieutenant Gray’s
exceptional airmanship and his courageous action in
placing the safety of his crew above that of himself
are in keeping in the finest tradition of the Army
and his wife Phyllis were married for 58 years, to
this union there were six children, one daughter,
Cathleen and five sons, Jim, Tom, Jerry, Joe and John,
8 grandchildren and 2 great grand children.
after the war Mr. Gray became a pilot for Northwest
Airlines, retiring in 1977. Ralph piloted the first
jet mail service into Washington D.C.’s National
Airport and is featured in the Smithsonian Museum.
was an engaging man with a kind smile. Always a quick
study, he was never short of interesting stories about
his travels around the world. Ralph loved being a
pilot, boating in the San Juan’s and he relished
his role as “Camp Cook” while on hunting
trips with Bob, his son in law.
T. Gray passed away 20 May 2005 in Puyallup
Washington, after a long battle with cancer.
His ashes will be laid to rest in Kona, Hawaii,
a place that he always fond of.
Carroll can be contacted at: