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RG1389.AM:  Denver David Gray, 1917-2013

Papers:  1941-1946

Palmyra, Otoe County, Nebraska:  World War II soldier; insurance executive

Size:  One volume


Denver D. Gray was born in Palmyra, Nebraska in 1917. In the spring of 1937, while a sophomore at the University of Nebraska, Gray registered for the Reserve Officer Training Corps (R.O.T.C.), enabling him to take advanced military training during his junior and senior years. This also required training during the summer and Gray attended summer training at Camp Funston (Fort Riley) in 1938. After his graduation from college in 1939, Gray was commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant in the Reserves.

While working on an M.S. in agricultural economics in 1940, Gray joined the Travelers Insurance Company in Omaha and continued his military commitment with the 89th Reserve Division. On August 7, 1941, he enlisted for one-year active duty with the Army Air Corps. and was assigned to be base adjutant at Hickam Field, Hawaii.

Hickam Field, located next to Pearl Harbor, was attacked during the Japanese raid of December 7th and sustained much damage. Thirty percent of Gray’s squadron were casualties of the attack. During the war, Hickam served as a transit base for servicemen moving in to and out of the Pacific theater.

After taking an administrative inspector’s course in 1943, Gray was assigned to P.O.M. (prior overseas movement) inspections and he was sent to Tinian, in the Mariannas, in December, 1944. After more than four years in the Pacific, Gray returned to the United States as a captain, in March of 1945. After release from the military in 1946, he rejoined Travelers Insurance in Florida and remained with that company for over thirty years.

Denver David Gray died in Atlanta, Georgia, on September 7, 2013.


This collection consists of one volume of manuscript material, “Military Records, 1941-1946.” This collection relates to the military career of Denver D. Gray, Otoe County, Nebraska native who witnessed the attack at Pearl Harbor while assigned as a 2nd Lieutenant at Hickam Field, Hawaii. This volume, comprised of photocopies of Gray’s military records and souvenirs, was gathered as documentation for Gray’s Nebraska History article, “I Remember Pearl Harbor: A Nebraska Army Air Officer in the Pacific Theater During World War II” (Volume 62, #4), 1981.

Included are copies of photographs and radio transcripts relating to the Pearl Harbor attack, as well as copies of official military records relating to Gray’s role in directing defensive efforts during the raid.



  1. Military Records, 1941-1946


Subject headings:

Gray, Denver David, 1917-2013

Pearl Harbor (Hawaii), Attack on, 1941


World War, 1939-1945 — Personal narratives


AIP/ksa                  12-1990

Revised TMM        01-25-2007; 08-25-2017