George D. Wray
U. S. Army
WWII US Military
Dates of Service: 10/1941? - 1945/1946?
Company Commander, 102nd Anti Aircraft

George was born in Shreveport, the son of George D. and Jane Newton Wray. His father owned two car dealerships, one for Fords, and another for other makes. Young George would later take over the business and moved it to Mansfield Road in 1967. When he was a youngster the family lived on Wilkinson Street, where young George strapped on roller skates and skated to Creswell Elementary School. The family had a chauffeur and owned several automobiles, including Hudson, Chrysler, and Packard cars. After graduating from Byrd High School he spent two years at Virginia Military Institute, then transferred to Tulane University, where he graduated in 1936. Returning to Shreveport George managed an air conditioning business for three years until he was drafted in 1941. He was sent to Fort Eustis, Virginia, for basic training, then to radio school. Posted to nearby Langley Field, he was placed in the 94th Coastal Artillery. George sailed overseas aboard the HMS Queen Mary, a voyage that lasted "forty-some days." He disembarked at Sydney, Australia, then was sent by train 800 miles to Brisbane. He arrived there two weeks after General Douglas MacArthur reached the city from Bataan. George's barracks were horse stables on the exposition grounds of the city. George was placed in charge of the PX. Australians or Americans, he says, once stole about $500 worth of cigarettes. George, a lieutenant and platoon leader, was sent on to Finschhafen, New Guinea, then participated in the invasion of Leyte, with two batteries of his unit. To reach the island, he had to climb down a cargo net of along the side of his ship. Japanese planes bombed and strafed his area. His batteries shot down one. George celebrated Christmas on the beach at Leyte, and then was sent on to Mindoro Island aboard an LST (Landing Ship, Tank). Kamikazes harried the convoy during the three-day voyage. He was soon sent to Laoag on Luzon where he was a company commander in charge of an anti-aircraft battery for " a couple of weeks." George started home in October of 1945. He was flown to Manila on a DC-3 where he boarded a ship for a 15-day voyage to California. On the train home, he says, "We played bridge the whole way." Discharged at Fort Sam Houston in San Antonio, his father met him and drove him back to Shreveport. George joined his father's car dealership business. On June 24, 1947 he married Geraldine Smitherman. They would have four children and 11 grandchildren.