William M. Grey (born 1936) was a U.S. Marine Corps General who served as chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff under President Thomas Whitmore. He later served as the 43rd President of the United States from 2001 to 2005.
War of 1996
During the early hours of the War of 1996, General Grey was first notified of the aliens' arrival to Earth and relayed this news to the Secretary of Defense Albert Nimziki and Whitmore. He later chose to remain at Whitmore's side in Washington, D.C. rather than evacuating with the Vice President and the Joint Chiefs to NORAD. Grey escaped from the destruction of Washington on Air Force One.
From on board Air Force One, Grey coordinated with NORAD in launching a military counterattack against the aliens. However, the counterattack resulted in abysmal failure as American forces were unable to penetrate the alien vessels due to their energy shields and in turn were massacred in an extremely one-sided battle. Grey was later shocked to learn that the aliens retaliated by destroying nearly all American military installations, including NORAD, and leaving no survivors. When Nimziki informed the existence of Area 51 that he had withheld this information prior to the aliens' arrival, Grey was furious towards the Secretary of Defense for withholding crucial information that could have avoided the needless deaths of hundreds of U.S. servicemen from the failed counterattack.
After establishing command in Area 51, Grey later briefed Whitmore that the situation in the war against the invaders had grown worse with U.S. forces taking a tremendous hit and expecting that the aliens would systematically destroy every major city within 36 hours. After a captured alien was brought to Area 51 by Captain Steven Hiller, Grey solemnly informed Hiller about the destruction of El Toro.
Grey later joined with Whitmore in confronting the captured alien and helped with the President's security detail in killing the creature when it attacked Whitmore. He then presided over Whitmore's decision to launch a nuclear attack on an alien City Destroyer over Houston. When the strike failed to penetrate the Destroyer, Grey conceded with Whitmore to abort further nuclear strikes.
Grey later oversee America's renewed counteroffensive against the aliens from Area 51, reestablishing communications links to allied forces, and organizing every able fighter pilot to participate in the counteroffensive. He was surprised and reluctant to allow Whitmore to personally leading Area 51's forces in an upcoming attack on an approaching City Destroyer.
Following the destruction of the City Destroyer, Grey gives the go ahead to inform the other military forces from around the world, in his words, "Tell'em how to bring those sons of bitches down!" Following the victory, Grey congratulated Steven Hiller and David Levinson for their part in destroying the alien mothership and allowing humanity to win the war.
After the war, Grey was appointed by Whitmore as National Recovery Director as he directed the military in maintaining order and reconstruction to a devastated America. He was later convinced by Whitmore to run for president in 2000. He defeated his opponent, the former Secretary of Defense Albert Nimziki, in an overwhelming landslide.
Independence Day: Resurgence
- Independence Day/novel (First appearance)
- ID4: Independence Day
- Independence Day: Crucible
- Independence Day: Resurgence
Behind the scenes
- Robert Loggia got to decide which branch of the military General Grey was in, since it was never established in the script. Loggia ultimately decided that General Grey should be in the Marine Corps.
- Loggia modeled Grey after generals of World War II, particularly George S. Patton.
- In the film's script and novelization, General Grey was listed as being head of the United States Space Command. In reality, American space operations (at the time of the film's release) were coordinated by the US Air Force rather than the US Marines in which General Grey served. This error is corrected in The Complete Independence Day Omnibus in which Grey is depicted as General of the Air Force.
- During the production of Independence Day, Loggia was suggested by Dean Devlin to watch the 1980 film, Airplane!, to serve as inspiration for his role as General Grey. This was an mistake on Devlin's part, who meant to recommend the 1970 film, Airport, instead. Not being familiar with either film, Loggia rented the former film and was greatly upset as a result of watching it, even refusing to leave his trailer, under the belief that he was playing a role in a "spoof" film, due to Airplane! being a parody of the many disaster films of the 1970s.
- Grey's date of birth is disputed in the Independence Day franchise. The movie novelization and the War of 1996 website established his birth is in 1936 whereas Independence Day: Crucible established his birth date in 1931. The latter novel is likely an author's error.
- Independence Day: Resurgence is Robert Loggia's final film role before his death in December 2015.
- According the ribbons on his uniform, Grey served in the Vietnam War as well as the Persian Gulf War.