Hamon Gray Post 83 (La Porte, Ind.) honors namesake

Members of Hamon Gray Post 83 honored the memory of 2nd Lt. Hamon Gray on May 24, 2022, at Pine Lake Cemetery, in La Porte, Ind. Gray is the namesake of our American Legion Post 83 which was chartered in 1919. The post considers it their solemn duty to preserve Gray’s memory. Gray, who was born on June 1, 1896, in La Porte, entered the Army at Fort Benjamin Harrison at the First Officers Camp on May 15, 1917, and was commissioned a second lieutenant. Gray went overseas with the American Expeditionary Force in September 1917 and was assigned to Company C, 9th Infantry, 2nd Infantry Division. “Acting as a regimental intelligence officer, he repeatedly carried important orders to the front lines through heavy fire,” Post Judge Advocate Wayne Zeman said. “On July 3, 1918, he marched ahead of the assaulting troops with four scouts; he captured the first five prisoners taken in that advance near Vaux, France.” Interviewed in the midst of the wreckage was Gray, who said, according to Zeman, “the capture of the German soldiers was surprisingly easy. ‘When the barrage ended, we rushed in,’ he said. ‘Five Germans climbed out of a hole. They and I yelled handehohe – which is German for hands up – simultaneously. I guess I yelled the loudest and they put theirs up. That’s all there is to that.'" Zeman added that, according to a letter published on Feb. 13, 1919, in the La Porte Weekly Herald, Gray reportedly walked into a German dugout with a grenade in one hand and a pistol in the other and “wiped it clean.” “On July 19, 1918, German artillery was tearing up the contested ground in ‘huge gulps’ and Gray was having difficulty advancing his column of soldiers,” Zeman said. “Gray died on July 20, 1918, at the age of 22, after being wounded in action in the Battle of Soissons. His body was returned to La Porte and buried with full military honors by members of American Legion Hamon Gray Post 83 on Jan. 16, 1921. His awards include the Croix De Guerre with two silver stars, Croix De Guerre with Palm, Presidential Unit Citation (Brest, France), French Forragere, Purple Heart, WWI Victory Medal with Silver Star, and Battle Clasps for Soissons and Vaux. The service concluded with the Honor Guard firing three volleys – one for honor, one for duty, one for country – and the playing of Taps. A wreath was placed at Gray’s grave."

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