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Command Biography
VMFA-533 Command Senior Enlisted Leader
Sergeant Major James K. Gray

Sergeant Major James Gray is a native of Eagle River, Alaska and enlisted out of Denver Colorado in April of 1999. He attended recruit training at Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego, California, Marine Combat Training at Camp Pendleton, California and Field Artillery Cannon Crewman Course at Fort Sill, Oklahoma, earning the occupational specialty of 0811.

In November of 1999, Private First Class Gray reported to 2nd Battalion (Bn), 11th Marines (Mar), battery G, located at Camp Pendleton, California. Throughout the following four years, he deployed twice in support of the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) in Okinawa, Japan. He held the primary billets of cannoneer, section chief (M198), and collateral billets of battery supply chief and embarkation chief. During his tenure, Private First Class Gray was promoted through the rank of Sergeant.

In November of 2002, Sergeant Gray executed orders to Marine Corps Security Forces (MCSF) Bn, Chesapeake, Virginia for follow on training. Upon graduation, Sergeant Gray was assigned to Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. His billets were Anti-Terrorism Force Protection instructor and basic weapons and tactics instructor for Navy Master-at-Arms members and DoD law enforcement officials.

In November of 2005, Sergeant Gray completed his MCSF tour and received orders to 5th Bn, 10th Mar, battery S, located at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina. While serving with battery S, he deployed in support of Battalion Landing Team (BLT) 1/8, 24th MEUSOC, in 2006. During this deployment, Sergeant Gray participated in the Non-combatant Evacuation Operation in Beirut, Lebanon, evacuating 832 American Citizens from the region. Retuning to CONUS, he deployed to Fallujah, Iraq, as a convoy security detachment, in support of Regimental Combat Team 6. During his tenure in battery S, Sergeant Gray was a section chief, local security chief, platoon sergeant and convoy commander. Sergeant Gray was promoted to the rank of Staff Sergeant.

In 2008, Staff Sergeant Gray transitioned to II MEF HQ Group as a foreign security forces advisor. He served a one-year tour at Combat Observation Post H3, located in Anbar Province, Iraq. Returning from the deployment, Staff Sergeant Gray was tasked to support the establishment of a new battery, 3rd Bn, 12th Marines, battery G. He served as the platoon sergeant as the battery was initially being manned and equipped. Staff Sergeant Gray was then selected to re-deploy and advise an Afghan Kandak based in Helmand Province, Afghanistan. He served as fire and effects SNCO, Senior Enlisted Advisor, and Operations Officer. Upon his return to 5th Bn, 10th Mar, he briefly served as Headquarters battery Gunnery Sergeant and First Sergeant. Staff Sergeant Gray received orders to recruiting school in San Diego, California.

In October of 2011, Staff Sergeant Gray graduated Recruiting School and reported to RS Denver, RSS Colorado Springs North to serve as a canvassing recruiter. After the nine-month evaluation process, Staff Sergeant Gray assumed the billet of SNCOIC. He served as SNCOIC for both Colorado Springs North and South, each for a year. He earned honors of RSS and SNCOIC of the year for RS Denver in 2014. Staff Sergeant Gray received orders to 1st Bn, 11th Mar, located at Camp Pendleton, California. Staff Sergeant Gray was promoted to Gunnery Sergeant during this tour.

Gunnery Sergeant Gray arrived to 1st Bn, 11th Mar in October of 2014. Gunnery Sergeant Gray deployed with battery B in support of BLT 2/1, on the 13th MEU, in 2016. He served as the battery Gunnery Sergeant. Returning from the MEU, Gunnery Sergeant Gray was promoted to the rank of First Sergeant and received orders to Inspector-Instructor (I-I) duty with Company C, 4th Combat Engineer Battalion, 4th Marine Division, at Lynchburg, Virginia.

In March of 2017, I-I duty proved to be a career broadening assignment. During his tenure he played a critical part in activating and deploying an engineer platoon on a truncated timeline in support of Unit Deployment Program 19.1. Additionally, he served as a mentor for the First Sergeants course in Quantico, Virginia. At the conclusion of his I-I tour, First Sergeant Gray received favorable endorsement to attend the United States Army Sergeants Major Academy, class 71.

In June 2020, First Sergeant Gray executed orders to attend the ten-month Army Sergeants Major Academy located at Fort Bliss, Texas.

In July of 2021 First Sergeant Gray graduated the course and transitioned to his overseas posting at Marine Wing Support Squadron 172, Okinawa, Japan. First Sergeant Gray is selected to his current rank of Sergeant Major and served as the Marine Air Control Squadron-4 Squadron Sergeant Major, at Marine Corps Air Station Futenma, Okinawa, Japan. In June of 2024, Sergeant Major Gray relinquished his position at Marine Air Control Squadron 4 and is currently serving as the VMFA-533 Squadron Sergeant Major in Beaufort, South Carolina.

Sergeant Major Gray's military education includes the Marine Corps Enlisted Professional Military Education pipeline from Corporals Course through Commandant's Combined Commandership Course. He has attended the Senior Enlisted Professional Military Education residence Course, located at Marine Corps Base Quantico, Virginia. Sergeant Major Gray is a graduate of the United States Army Sergeants Major Academy (Class 71) located at Fort Bliss, El Paso, Texas, and also a graduate of the Expeditionary Warfare School Blended Seminar in Okinawa, Japan.

2nd Marine Aircraft Wing