Killeen’s Mayor Will Honor World War II Hero Bob Gray on Friday
Killeen's mayor will take time this week to honor a Killeen man who participated in one of the most dangerous air raids of World War II.
Bob Gray Day is Sunday, April 18, but Killeen Mayor Jose Segarra will visit Gray's gravesite on Friday at 2 PM.
According to a City of Killeen News Release, Mayor Segarra will present an official proclamation to a Gray descendant and join in laying a wreath of remembrance.
So, who is Bob Gray? Captain Robert “Bob” Gray was a Killeen native, born May 24, 1919, who flew in the Doolittle Raid over Tokyo on April 18 1942 - about five months after the U.S. entered World War II.
The Doolittle Raid, also know as the Tokyo Raid, was the first air operation to strike Japan and served as retaliation for the attack on Pearl Harbor.
Captain Gray would die six months later in the China-Burma Campaign.
Killeen’s 18th mayor, R.T. Polk, 1935 - 1943, was the first to proclaim Bob Gray Day and ordered, “flags will fly from every socket and flag pole in the community, and the day will be set aside permanently as the memorial to a brave heart that winged its way into the very vitals of enemy territory and destroyed military objectives that were calculated to bring harm and destruction to our great country.”
Gray Street in downtown Killeen was named in his honor, as was the Robert Gray Air Force Base, later renamed Robert Gray Army Airfield, on Fort Hood, along with a historic display and bronze statue at Killeen-Fort Hood Regional Airport.
It's also interesting to note that Robert Mitchum wound up playing Gray in the movie “30 Seconds over Tokyo.”
Captain Robert "Bob" Gray is buried in the Killeen City Cemetery.