Retired July 1, 1962. Died Sep. 13, 1986.
Stanley Tanner Wray was born in Muncie, Ind., in 1907. He graduated from Muncie Central High School in 1923 and attended Earlham College the following year on the Goddard Scholarship, which had been awarded upon his graduation from Central High. Further activities were cut short by a bout with typhoid fever until he entered the U.S. Military Academy on July 1, 1928. He graduated in 1932, second in a class of 259.
As a second lieutenant, he was caught in the comptroller's decision that that "you are now and have been on leave without pay since 1 July," so he reported to his first station in July 1932 as assistant to the district engineer at Rock Island, Ill. After a short period of building brush-and-rock wing dams to maintain the six foot channel in the Mississippi River, he took up progressively important assignments around Lock and Dam No. 15 and its attendant construction activities, going then as resident engineer for Lock and Dam No. 11 at Dubuque, Iowa in January 1934. In July 1934 he left Dubuque for Cornell University, where he received his master of science degree in civil engineering in June 1935.
In July 1935 he proceeded to the Panama Canal Zone, being promoted to first lieutenant enroute on the Army transport "Republic". He reported in to Headquarters Squadron of the 11th Engineers at Corozal, Canal Zone. During the next two years, he performed all of the normal duties of a company officer on duty with troops and, in addition, coached the basketball team up from last place to first place on the Pacific side, and as the post athletic officer he was instrumental in winning the basketball and baseball championships in his final year.
In July of 1937 he returned to the United States as a student at the Company Officers Course at the Engineers School at Fort Belvoir, Va. At the conclusion of this course in 1938, he was appointed the assistant professor of military science and tactics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, Mass. In July 1939 he was detailed to the Air Corps for three months and proceeded to pilot training at Tuscaloosa, Ala. Although ordered on to basic training at Randolph Field in September, he was re-ordered by the adjutant general back to Cambridge for another year as assistant professor of MS&T at M.I.T.
Apparently the only thing wrong with being an officer in the Corps of Engineers was that particular branch did not have any airplanes, so in August 1940 he reported back to Tuscaloosa for a quick 20-hour refresher in PT aircraft, and on Sept. 1, entered basic flying at Maxwell Field, Ala. Graduating from Advanced, on Feb. 1,1941, he was transferred to the Air Corps and ordered to the 29th Bomb Group at MacDill Field, Fla.
In the 29th, which was an expanding unit, he served in each of the three bomb squadrons and commanded the Headquarters Squadron before he was appointed executive officer of the 92nd Bomb Group, which was formed by splitting the 29th. On May 15, 1942 he was appointed the commander of the 91st Bomb Group at MacDill, and began receiving pilots and ground personnel the following day. He thus formed the 91st Bomb Group, then trained it through its three stages of combat training, with the second stage at Walla Walla, Wash., and the third at Bangor, Maine.
He led the first element of his Group to England in late September 1942, landing at Kimbolten in Bedfordshire. In early October the group was moved to Bassingbourne, a permanent Royal Air Force station, where the final squadron of the 91st arrived in mid-October. Colonel Wray commanded the group until May 1943 and earned during this period the Silver Star, the Air Medal with oak leaf cluster, the Purple Heart, numerous commendations and, as the leader of the famous low-level raid over St. Nazaire in B-17's, was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross of the Royal Air Force.
From May until August he commanded the 103rd Combat Wing and trained it for its early missions over the continent. In August 1943 he reported to Headquarters Eighth Bomber Command where his experience was put on paper as "tactics and techniques of heavy bombers."
In September 1943, he returned to the United States where he became chief of the Officers Branch, Military Personnel Division, Headquarters Army Air Force. In February 1946 he reported to Fort Leavenworth, Kan., where he was a member of the Second Command Class until Aug. 1, when he returned to Headquarters U.S. Air Force.
In January 1947 he was assigned to Headquarters U.S. Air Forces in Europe as the deputy inspector general. In January 1948, he became the chief of operations and training in the Directorate of Operations, U.S. Air Forces in Europe, and as such commanded the Cyprus Air Task Force in the summer of 1948, and in July formed the Third Air Division (Provisional) which received the first B-29 groups in England and later became the Third Air Force.
In September, General Wray returned to Germany where he became deputy commander of the 61st Troop Carrier Wing at Rhein/Main Air Base. In November, the 61st and the 513th were combined into the 7497th Airlift Wing, and Colonel Wray was appointed the commander. He led the 7497th throughout the airlift until it was disbanded in August 1949. For his leadership in this period, he was awarded an oak leaf cluster to the Legion of Merit which had been presented for his work on the Air Staff in 1945.
Upon his return to the United States, he attended the Air War College from August 1949 until June 1950 when he was ordered to Headquarters U.S. Air Force as the chief of the Construction Division in the Directorate of Installations. As the deputy director of installations he was made a temporary brigadier general in September 1952.
In July 1954 he reported to Robins Air Force Base, Ga., as the deputy commander of the Warner Robins Air Materiel Area, serving in that capacity until December 1955 when he was ordered to New York City to head up the newly formed Electronics Defense Systems Division, of the Directorate of Procurement and Production. As head of this office he was responsible for the execution of the plans for bringing into being the Distant Early Warning Line across the northernmost reaches of the continent, the construction of the White Alice Project (the project of reliable, modern communications in Alaska), and the Semi-Automation Ground Environment (known as SAGE) system within the continental United States. For this he was awarded a second oak leaf cluster to his Legion of Merit, and reported to the Wright Air Development Center, Air Research and Development Command, on Sept. 18, 1957 as the commander. On Dec. 15, 1959, ARDC reorganized and the center became known as the Wright Air Development Division, with headquarters at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio.
Promoted to major general in early 1958, he is a command pilot and technical observer. He is a member of the Society of American Military Engineers (and President of the Kittyhawk Post), the American Academy of Political and Social Sciences, and several other professional societies.