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LEROY CLIFTON GRAYSON

August 30th, 2005


Private First Class Leroy Clifton Grayson of Middleburg, Virginia joined the Marines in 1943. During World War II he served with occupation forces on Guadalcanal. After the war he moved to the Washing, D. C. area. Retired, he resides in St. Leonard, Maryland.


INTERVIEWER: I want you to start out by stating your, saying your full name and today's date, and would you spell your full name?

LEROY CLIFTON GRAYSON: Okay.

INTERVIEWER: Okay. And do today's date.

LEROY CLIFTON GRAYSON: Okay. My name? Leroy Clifton Grayson, L-E-R-O-Y Leroy, Clifton C-L-I-F-T-O-N, Grayson G-R-A-Y-S-O-N.

INTERVIEWER: And today's date?

LEROY CLIFTON GRAYSON: Today's date is August 10, 19...

INTERVIEWER: 2005.

LEROY CLIFTON GRAYSON: Excuse me.

INTERVIEWER: 2005.

LEROY CLIFTON GRAYSON: 2005. I'm sorry. (LAUGH)

INTERVIEWER: Okay. Good. Now, uh, sir, can you tell us, uh, a little bit about your background, um, (STAMMERS) before joining the Marines? Where, like, where you were from...

LEROY CLIFTON GRAYSON: Sure.

INTERVIEWER: ...and your family and your education?

LEROY CLIFTON GRAYSON: Sure, sure. I am, uh, from Middleburg, Virginia. My father was Welbert Grayson, mother Ellen Grayson. And Middleburg is home. The next one I...

INTERVIEWER: Okay. Your family, uh, any, any brothers, sisters?

LEROY CLIFTON GRAYSON: Brothers four, uh, excuse me, brothers six, sisters four.

INTERVIEWER: A little bit about your education?

LEROY CLIFTON GRAYSON: My education, very short, the seventh grade. I didn't finish that. I just got restless and, uh, wanted to get out where the grownups were. And, of course, my father was trying to feed the family, and I could see how he was stretched out in doing that. That also gave me a reason to wanna stop. I had to beg him, but finally he came across. So I stopped school, then I started working, working then for a private family, which, uh, helped me a lot too, because with the (STAMMERS) private family I, uh, was able to visit Florida for three years. And I've always liked to travel. That's what I did mostly.

INTERVIEWER: Why did you join the Marines?

LEROY CLIFTON GRAYSON: The Marine Corps, I was, at the time I was sort of uptight, I guess, like a little kids, uh, young people are today. I, I needed something to try to feel that I was who I should be, and I saw this, uh, I forget the name of the movie about the Marines. And it was just new that, uh, Blacks were being taken in the Marine Corps at that time so I felt this is where I wanna go. So when I was, when I volunteered to go in, and I was being, uh, inducted the, uh, major asked me what branch did I want, and I told him I like the Marines but any branch would be fine. And of course, uh, he did, or how it came out that I was a Marine.

INTERVIEWER: So, so did you, tell, you, uh, just said something to let me, uh, realize, to help me realize that you, when you joined you knew that the Marine Corps had never admitted Blacks...

LEROY CLIFTON GRAYSON: Exactly.

INTERVIEWER: ...and, and how did, can you talk a little bit more about that and how it influenced your decision?

LEROY CLIFTON GRAYSON: What influenced me mostly was this picture, and I can't remember what picture that was, but it was a dynamic picture about the Marine Corps. I liked the Navy, but I didn't like the Navy uniform. That's in case I didn't get to go in the Marine Corps. The Army was fine. I have nothing against the Army, none of the, uh, fighting forces, but it was just my, uh, choice, the Marine Corps. That was brand-new. That was almost like exploring, uh, something anyway, but that's what I, what I wanted and after getting that, uh, I just felt great. I just wanted to be the best, uh, that I could be.

INTERVIEWER: Okay. Uh, I just wanna piggyback on that, the reason why you joined the Marine Corps. You said it's, it's what you wanted to be. Why did you wanna be, what is...

LEROY CLIFTON GRAYSON: A, a, a Marine?

INTERVIEWER: Yes.

LEROY CLIFTON GRAYSON: They stood out and again they were brand-new, and it seems that for some reason they impressed me more than the Navy or the Army. It was those guys in their blues. It was the way that they talked, they stood and, uh, it just got a hold of me. I guess I have to put it that way, and I wanted to do that. And of course, um, I can't say that, uh, I wouldn't have done my best if I had gone to the other branches. I would've done my best regardless, because this was my country, as they said at the time and even now so just fight and this is my, uh, reason for really doing that was to help our country. And at that time, uh, it seemed like Blacks weren't doing anything, but they were.

LEROY CLIFTON GRAYSON: (CONTINUED) They just weren't being credited for it, not enough for people, uh, to really understand there was a lot of the Black people. And of course, I was one of those, and I just wanted to get in and help as much as I could that we would be recognized and thank goodness, it's come around that way. It took a long while.

INTERVIEWER: Sure. When you, when you joined the Marine Corps and, uh, got ready to, to leave home, do you remember the day that happened and, and what it was like leaving home and...

LEROY CLIFTON GRAYSON: Well, leaving home was fine. The only thing that, uh, I learned afterwards, I didn't tell anybody that I volunteered. Of course, when my mother new it, I was on my way, then my cousin told me how bad that hurt her, uh, because she didn't know I was going to do that. But I didn't want anything to stop me, I really didn't, and I think it's the reason I didn't say anything to her or anyone else. So, um, I guess the only thing I can remember now is getting on the bus headed for Montford Point Camp, not knowing where I was going and, uh, not knowing anything really, but this was adventure to me I hadn't seen before.

INTERVIEWER: Tell me a little bit about the trip up to, well, actually down to, to the Jacksonville area.

LEROY CLIFTON GRAYSON: Down to the (STAMMERS) we went to Jacksonville area. This was, uh, interesting simply because it's my first time traveling by train. I'd never ridden a train before. So when I got into Richmond, Virginia, and I was finding my way around to what, uh, train I was supposed to catch and so forth and so on, I met a, another young fellow, James Carter, who was also going to Camp Lejeune so I met him. And going down, getting on the train and going down we stopped someplace, I can't remember where it was, but it was before getting to Montford Point Camp, uh, and went to get something to eat. So, uh, being from where I was, I, I wasn't thinking.

LEROY CLIFTON GRAYSON: (CONTINUED) I sort of got in line so when I got to the window the gentleman said, uh, whatever sandwich I was asking for I paid him and they say we have to go around there to pick it up. And I kind of hesitated a little bit, you know. Now, don't forget, don't me wrong, Virginia was doing the same thing too, Fredericksburg. You ride the bus in Fredericksburg at that time you stop for a restaurant, you had to go to a different place to pick it up. That was a little, uh, you know, that was a little different, because all of my traveling then, before then had been by car, although I knew the places that were segregated, uh, that I couldn't, uh, go in and get these things.

LEROY CLIFTON GRAYSON: (CONTINUED) If I can add this, even driving the people for those three years to, uh, South Carolina, I mean, to, uh, Florida, whenever we stopped to eat, the lady always brought the food back to me at the car. I mean, that was all right, but, uh, I could've gone to the back door there too, but I don't know what her reason was for saying, uh, Roy, I'll bring it to you. It was all good experience though. I mean, uh, uh, I would do it over again if I had to. (LAUGH)

INTERVIEWER: Okay. When you, when you got, uh, to the front gate of Montford Point, to the gate, what, what was your feeling as you looked around? What were your impressions? What did you see?

LEROY CLIFTON GRAYSON: Well, I was always expecting the worst. I was always expecting things to be worse than what they were, but then when I got to the gates at that time, I didn't see anything that was, uh, pleasing to my eyes or mind, and but I was gung-ho. I was ready to do whatever it took to be a Marine. So there was nothing there that, uh, I didn't challenge, uh, that I felt that I couldn't conquer it. That was really, but I'm just, I was just uptight. Uh, I don't know what they was, but, uh, nothing that I felt there that, uh, would stop me, and I just also felt and in my, uh, mind thinking at that time, before I would give up on doing whatever I had to do, I would pass out first.

LEROY CLIFTON GRAYSON: (CONTINUED) And, uh, although nothing like that happened, they had this big, uh, sawdust pile that when the, uh, platoons would, uh, say mess up our bed or whatever the case may be with the drill instructor and he didn't like it, that's where you went. It was hard to climb those great big (LAUGH) those deep sawdust piles, uh, almost pass out on that one time but didn't make it, but that was my thought. That was my feelings. I was, all of this, although I wasn't being treated as I should have been treated in this country, but, uh, was trying to help out what little bit I could.

INTERVIEWER: Okay. Uh, while you were at Montford Point, did you, did you experience any kind of racism at the camp, at, at Montford Point?

LEROY CLIFTON GRAYSON: Uh, not personally. The only thing is what was already there, usually what was already there. Uh, going through boot camp we couldn't do this, we couldn't have ice cream, we couldn't have a lot of things. Uh, the confinement of, uh, staying, uh, in your area, uh, even when you could go to another part of the camp there, you couldn't do that. That didn't bother me. Uh, I just wanted to be that Marine. I would wake up in the mornings, uh, I forget now what time, maybe, maybe it was supposed to be (WORD?) might have been at 6:00.

LEROY CLIFTON GRAYSON: (CONTINUED) But I was so anxious, I'd wake up I'll say 5:00. I would put my clothes on and lay back down on the cot. The rest of the guys was laying there. When the man blew the whistle, I was outside when they blew the whistle, and these guys fussing and all the other things about crawling out of the sack, but I was just in for it. I mean, uh, that was my thing.

INTERVIEWER: Sure, yeah. What, what was the spirit of the, of the, of the other men at camp, uh, while you were going through?

LEROY CLIFTON GRAYSON: Well, there were a lot of fellows who I would say and would think, I think that had never been away from home, that had never been anyplace that they were on their own. Uh, a lot of them was, a lot of them were pitiful, I thought, but, uh, it didn't bother me. And I think the reason for that it's, uh, I guess I hadn't been any place that, uh, I felt I was lost or, or I would, or something would happen to me or something like that, never happened, but I feel sorry for a lot of those guys.

INTERVIEWER: What would you say most of them were that way, or were there others who were spirited and gung-ho and into the training and all of that?

LEROY CLIFTON GRAYSON: I would say, I would say maybe, I'd say maybe, uh, 45 percent would be gung-ho. The rest of, as far as I can see, uh, they weren't, they weren't. It was almost like, uh, I don't have to do this, you know, and the spirit that I seen and the spirit that I had that I had no idea was the right spirit. That's what you just said, gung-ho, ready to get it, whatever, yes.

INTERVIEWER: Now, when you got a chance to go off, off base, off camp, uh, down into Jacksonville, did you experience any racism first of all, and if you did can you remember any, uh, specific examples?

LEROY CLIFTON GRAYSON: Well, the truth is I never went off base. I really didn't. We, uh, when we came back from the furlough, uh, in August we left to go overseas, but I didn't get a chance to have any, uh, experience with...

INTERVIEWER: So, so during your whole training period you never, you never went home, you never went back home?

LEROY CLIFTON GRAYSON: Only after getting out of boot camp. That's the only time.

INTERVIEWER: Okay.

LEROY CLIFTON GRAYSON: And that's...

INTERVIEWER: Well, when you, uh, when you went, when you went back home after boot camp, what was that like, I mean?

LEROY CLIFTON GRAYSON: Well, that was...

INTERVIEWER: Uh, going back as a Marine now.

LEROY CLIFTON GRAYSON: Yes, that was great. I mean, a lot people that I saw, you know, were surprised and glad to see me and then for the racists to be as they were at that time, the White people that knew were around all the time at that time respected me. They came up with big smiles, how are you, uh, you know, you look nice in your uniform or how they doing with you, how you doing down there with all those rough boys, you know. Um, it just seemed to change. It seemed like it changed them more than it did me.

INTERVIEWER: So you did, you did gain acceptance as a, as a, a Black Marine, well...

LEROY CLIFTON GRAYSON: Right. Well...

INTERVIEWER: ...as a Black man...

LEROY CLIFTON GRAYSON: Yes.

INTERVIEWER: ...in the Marine Corps. I mean, it wasn't...

LEROY CLIFTON GRAYSON: True.

INTERVIEWER: ...nobody degraded you or nobody...

LEROY CLIFTON GRAYSON: No, none of that, none of that. And, uh, I, I've often thought a lot of times, uh, even overseas, uh, those fellows hadn't seen any Black Marines and this was on the, on the island of, uh, New Caledonia. We were walking out in this little town there, New (STAMMERS) uh, I forget the name of the, the town there, and as we were walking, uh, three of us were together. And we were walking, looking and these, uh, five Marines, and they were walking towards us, and they were looking like, what are we looking at, and I heard one of the White Marines said, what them guys doing in our uniforms, and then the, they sort of talked to themselves a little bit and then one came up and said, uh, oh, are you all Marines, are you from the States.

LEROY CLIFTON GRAYSON: (CONTINUED)Yes. And the guy stood and looked and all of a sudden, he was a tall dude (LAUGH) I guess he was like, I wanna say about 6'2" or something like that, good size. And he say, where you from? I gave him the, uh, the answers, and he looked and all of a sudden out of a clear blue sky that guy picked me up so fast, he just took me with his arms like that and said, good old Black boy. That was all right. I mean (LAUGH) but this was his way of, uh, receiving us, but even at that, he didn't mean anything about saying good old Black boy. I mean, he wasn't trying to, uh, degrade me or anything like that, but then they show us around town there a little bit, that sort of thing. Everything was fine.

LEROY CLIFTON GRAYSON: (CONTINUED) The only thing that I can remember, uh, was that one of the, uh, Marines had met another White Marine there. He was taking him around, uh, showing the, the town there, and they went into, uh, this person's home. And, uh, the lady went berserk. I don't like Black Americans. Take, take him out. Uh, this is one of the things I've been told on that, uh, with the guys, but other than that that was it.

INTERVIEWER: (WORD?) Um, what were your experiences in the Marine Corps, uh, after leaving Montford Point? Where did you serve after, after your furlough and so forth and what did you do?

LEROY CLIFTON GRAYSON: Uh, we went to Camp Pendleton on our way out and, of course, we had this nice, fine, uh, Pullman cars going out to the East Coast, uh, West Coast. It took us to Camp Pendleton and, of course, there I understood this, but I think it was false, that they hadn't seen any Black Marines. And while we were there waiting for the ship, uh, I remember I was in the, uh, theater and got this word that all Marines report back to the areas. And when I came out, everything was in sort of an uproar, and I wondered what in the world is going on, and then as I raced to my tent, the guys were fixing bayonets and all this sort of stuff and fall in line.

LEROY CLIFTON GRAYSON: (CONTINUED) And where were they headed to with the, uh, the, the, the, uh, prison that, that they had. You know, there, where they had the guys, uh, locked up. So as we formed a circle around the prisoners at the, at the gate there, the prisoners were cheering us, and I heard later on that they just wanted to see the Black Marines. That was all. So they got a little rowdy and, of course, uh, that's, that's what I heard. But then the thing that bothered me on that was some of our Black Marines was wishing for one of the sailors to break out so he could find out how it feels to bayonet a person, and I was very upset on that, because I couldn't understand. Now, why you want to do this. You're crazy, but that was his way of thinking.

INTERVIEWER: Okay. Oh, and you mentioned you, you went out to California in a train with Pullman cars. Did you, on the way out, did you notice or experience anything that you can remember that you might wanna tell us about that trip out, what you saw? Um, had you ever and, you know, whether you'd ever been out West before and, and how, what was your feeling?

LEROY CLIFTON GRAYSON: My feeling was great, because of seeing the, uh, seeing movies of the west, you know, it, uh, or anxious to see all that sort of thing, but I noticed that when it got dark and we were going through some of the small towns or the big town, the city or whatever, we had to pull down the shades. And we were wondering why are they doing that. And of course, we all figured out well, this must be the reason. The only place we had a, if I can remember, is Salt Lake City where the train stopped there for about, I guess about 45 minutes. And of course, the guys, we couldn't get off. They would put the guards out there. We wouldn't get off the train.

LEROY CLIFTON GRAYSON: (CONTINUED) But there was little kids, like little kids usually do, they come out to see this train with all these, uh, Black Marines on it. They didn't experience Black people before we had been loaded. So one of the guys asked one of the kids, uh, 14-, 15-year-old guys like that and gave them some money, uh, go get me some cigars or whatever. And they would go get it and bring it back. And, uh, the (LAUGH) last, the last guy, the train pulled off after he gave the kid the money (STAMMERS) whatever he wanted. I forgot what that was, but that was sort of, you know, common for, you know, but it was just like, uh, it was just like we were animals out, out, out of, uh, Africa some place.

INTERVIEWER: Um, did you ever, did, were you ever in combat and if not, did you have an opportunity to observe the, the horrors of combat, and where were you?

LEROY CLIFTON GRAYSON: I wanted, I felt that if I didn't get into position where I was to fight the enemy, uh, they fought, if I didn't get into position where I had to protect myself with my rifle, I didn't feel like I was doing anything, but I felt like but that's useless. That's the way I felt. I wanted to get into the fight. I wanted that more than anything else, but maybe I was crazy in the head for thinking like that, but this was the way I was feeling. That's what I wanted. So every opportunity that I got to go forward to where the fight was going to be, I always got picked over. Why, I don't know, but I'm thankful today that I didn't. And what really, uh, changed my mind about going into battle was when we got into the areas where the, uh, the, uh, casualties came back.

LEROY CLIFTON GRAYSON: (CONTINUED) We didn't see the casualties, but the weapons that they used, uh, their rifles and, uh, whatever they had left was all shot up and tore up, and I picked up this, uh, cartridge belt, and that cartridge belt had those bullet holes all the way around it. And I looked at that cartridge belt, and I said to myself, Leroy, you're crazy. You wanna, you wanna get into this. And that was the only time that I felt that my thoughts of wanting to help my country was the wrong way to think. And even so, a lot of times, uh, well, several times, uh, I would tell the guy I wanna, you know, go up, and they would tell me, you're crazy boy, especially the guys out of, uh, the northern cities, Philadelphia, New York, Detroit.

LEROY CLIFTON GRAYSON: (CONTINUED) Those guys were the guys that really gave the White, uh, instructors, they were the ones that gave the battles. They were the guys that the, the White instructors couldn't push around. It seemed like the Southern guys like myself and on back, you know, you obey authority, you do that, authority, you do that, but these guys, they didn't. They were knocking those, uh (LAUGH) Marines, knocking those instructors around like pinballs, although they would get, uh, punished for it. And of course, uh, that thing we have in the Marine Corps, um, if you can't settle it, go to the boondocks. I've seen a couple of those, but I didn't see them enough to see if the guys really fought each other or something took place like, uh, go on about your business or whatever. I don't know.

INTERVIEWER: Okay. Um, did you develop any White friends while you were in the Marine Corps?

LEROY CLIFTON GRAYSON: Well, I'll put it this way, not really, but knowing the mood of a lot of White, especially men, I could see a lot of that, and I could tell though that we're a little more, uh, let me see, what word I wanna use on this, that, uh, felt that we were (STAMMERS) equal even though we were of a different race. I can, I can say that. There was a, a sergeant there. Can I call his name? Uh, no, I can't call his name. I can't remember his name. But he was a, uh, small man, very small, short, very small. And I really admired him, because he was great with, uh, judo, and I (STAMMERS) admired the guy, and he was all right.

LEROY CLIFTON GRAYSON: (CONTINUED) But he did one thing that I would never do, and I was sorry when I heard that he did it, and that was taking advantage of women. I couldn't stand that and, of course, that made, uh, me feel kind of bad on that, because he was a man I was idolizing him because of his, uh, ability to fight and here he had this in his mind and was doing it. Yeah, really.

INTERVIEWER: Uh, you, you were among, actually, sir, you're part of history.

LEROY CLIFTON GRAYSON: Is that right?

INTERVIEWER: You are, having come into the Marine Corps when you did the first, uh, you know, one of the first African-Americans to serve...

LEROY CLIFTON GRAYSON: I think.

INTERVIEWER: ...in an organization that had been traditionally all White.

LEROY CLIFTON GRAYSON: Sure.

INTERVIEWER: Uh, you, you made history. Uh, what do you think about that? What, what do you think about that historical significance?

LEROY CLIFTON GRAYSON: Well, I hope what you said, and I, I don't doubt you...

INTERVIEWER: That's all right.

LEROY CLIFTON GRAYSON: ...but I'm hoping that's true. But, uh, I could go through that again, that part we're talking about now, and if that was making history, I'm glad to be in that part too. But, uh, for myself I just want the world to get along as it should. Hope we can drop it, but we'll talk about it back there and, uh, I really can't find anything else more to say on that subject.

INTERVIEWER: Well, let me ask you this then, uh, do you think your service in the Marine Corps had an effect on the rest of your life and if so, how?

LEROY CLIFTON GRAYSON: Oh, it did, it did. Um, and I didn't keep up with it. That is to be prompt. (LAUGH) And that is also to, uh, observe and do what you're supposed to do. Uh, me, I cut a lot of corners. Uh, my wife, now, as sweet as she is, um, she's one of these people that that's a cup. That cup is not supposed to be there. That cup is supposed to be up there. She's gonna put it up there. Me, I'm gonna say the cup had no business being there but why my brother, not me! (TECHNICAL)

INTERVIEWER: Uh, so, so you, you believe that your service in the Marine Corps made you a little bit more disciplined and (STAMMERS) you saw life, you know, through a different set of glasses maybe?

LEROY CLIFTON GRAYSON: I really did. I really did.

INTERVIEWER: Good.

LEROY CLIFTON GRAYSON: Uh, running into the good people, I'm speaking about the White people there on the other side. Uh, there was a, uh, an officer, his wife and a couple other people in, uh, San Diego, uh, out in the city that night, and they treated us like, they treated us as though we weren't Black. And that was really, uh, surprising, although I'd been around White people all my life, but then I can understand them as they were to just read them, you know, and, uh, it was just, just really, really lovely.

INTERVIEWER: Okay. And I, I wanna ask you one last question, sir. I told you earlier that you, you were, you know, you are among a very precious few...

LEROY CLIFTON GRAYSON: I see.

INTERVIEWER: ...having been one of the first African-Americans to...

LEROY CLIFTON GRAYSON: I see.

INTERVIEWER: ...come into the Marine Corps...

LEROY CLIFTON GRAYSON: Sure.

INTERVIEWER: ...paved the way for guys like me. You know, I, you know, I made it to the rank of Lieutenant Coronal before...

LEROY CLIFTON GRAYSON: Good. Great. Great.

INTERVIEWER: ...I retired, but, uh, it was folks like you that paved the way. Um, and I, and I wanna ask you right now what are your feelings about having been a Montford Point Marine?

LEROY CLIFTON GRAYSON: You know, that's about the only thing I could (STAMMERS) only thing I can refer to that has really made me feel like a man, really. And the truth of it is, uh, I would like to have stayed there and gone on like you did, you know, but, uh, you can only do things one time in life, but yes, going in the Marine Corps was, was my, uh, major and only wish that came true.

INTERVIEWER: If you had it to do all over again, would you?

LEROY CLIFTON GRAYSON: I would. I really would. I'd like to say this one more thing. The church that I go to, this man found out that I was a Marine and since my health has started, uh, getting bad, he's a Marine. He's a young fellow, and he has his wife watch me like I'm a child or one of the family. I can go to church and if I make a move in church that isn't, she feels or he feels that isn't right, they're right there beside me. And I, I just can't get over that. As far as I'm concerned, uh, this young gentleman is just as good as anybody that, uh, I've come in contact with. And I showed him the, uh, some of the documents about the Marines. I got a couple of the books, uh, that talked about, uh, Guadalcanal and other places. So I was at Montford Point camp and I got something that I brought back. I forgot what that is that had, was talking about the Black Marines at Montford Point camp.

INTERVIEWER: I did wanna ask you one more questions, 'cause you, you told us downstairs that you had been on Guadalcanal.

LEROY CLIFTON GRAYSON: Mm hmm.

INTERVIEWER: Uh, and, and there are a lot of folks that we've interviewed who were in Iwo Jima and places where history doesn't record that there were ever any Black Marines serving.

LEROY CLIFTON GRAYSON: Yes.

INTERVIEWER: Can, can you just tell us a little bit, now, I know you said you came in after the war was over, after...

LEROY CLIFTON GRAYSON: True.

INTERVIEWER: ...that fighting was over...

LEROY CLIFTON GRAYSON: The fighting was over, right.

INTERVIEWER: ...but can you just tell us a little bit about, and, and say Guadalcanal so we'll just so we'll have that on camera, but, uh, that, that you were there and, and, and what you saw, just, just what (WORD?) picture.

LEROY CLIFTON GRAYSON: I hold this, uh, at the best memory that I enjoyed being on Guadalcanal and that was reading about this native who had been, uh, captured by the Japanese. They tried to make him talk, because they felt or that he was spying for the Americans and then left him half dead. The Americans found him and brought him, uh, saved his life. Before I went into the service I read about this man out there on the farm in the hills of Virginia, and I said to myself, I'd like to meet him and in 1944, I did. I met, I met him by the way of, uh, we were down at the beach doing something. I forget what it was, but this Jeep came up, and everybody was going to the Jeep, and I wondered who it was so when I got to where I could see who was in the Jeep and the way everybody was greeting this man, I felt could this be the man.

LEROY CLIFTON GRAYSON: (CONTINUED) The man got out of the Jeep and when he got out of the Jeep I remembered where they say he had been punctured in the throat, under his arms and in his stomach. I went up and spoke to him and talked to him. He was that man. Now, that to me is a real (STAMMERS) miracle to do that.

INTERVIEWER: Sure. That's great.

LEROY CLIFTON GRAYSON: It was really great. He had his own Jeep and his own driver and all (LAUGH) all that sort of thing.

INTERVIEWER: I understand.

LEROY CLIFTON GRAYSON: It was good.

INTERVIEWER: Is there anything else you'd like to say to us, sir?

LEROY CLIFTON GRAYSON: Well, I guess, uh, I'm very, very glad that this has happened. I really am. Uh, not because I'm here being interviewed, because you have many more that's probably much more important, but I'm very, very glad and thankful that I am part of the Marine Corps. Uh, that meant, meant more to me than anything else, being in the Marines. And why I didn't stay is beyond me, but I'm all right. Yes, sir.

INTERVIEWER: Thank you, sir.

LEROY CLIFTON GRAYSON: Well, thank you very much.

INTERVIEWER: Appreciate it.

LEROY CLIFTON GRAYSON: I really enjoyed this.

INTERVIEWER: Yes, sir. And I enjoyed talking to you.

LEROY CLIFTON GRAYSON: I hope you can use it.

MALE: Mr. Grayson, what year did you actually, uh, go into Montford Point?

LEROY CLIFTON GRAYSON: 1943.

MALE: 1943, okay.


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