Jay G. Gruwell joined the Army in 1949 and became an Ordnance soldier in 1952. Subsequently, he served as a wheeled vehicle mechanic, Ordnance supply clerk, motor sergeant, and vehicle inspector.
In 1961, he received a direct appointment as a warrant officer. Following his initial assignment as a maintenance technician for the 39th Transportation Company in Germany, he was assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 2nd Infantry, at Fort Devens Massachusetts where he established a program for field maintenance support, to include Operations in Arctic conditions. During exercise "Great Bear" in Alaska, his maintenance team achieved a 90 percent vehicle availability rate despite bitter sub-zero temperatures.
Afterwards, he was assigned to Taiwan where he served as Ordnance Supply Advisor to the Republic of China Army. In this capacity, he developed a maintenance and rebuild program to extend the life of Taiwan's aging World War II vehicles and 90mm guns.
Following a brief stateside tour as battalion maintenance officer in the 4th Infantry Division at Fort Lewis, he was assigned as shop officer first for the 538th Engineer Battalion (Construction) in Thailand, then for C Company, 51st Maintenance Battalion in Germany. Much to his credit, he established a maintenance program for the 538th that improved the battalion's operational rate to 85 percent despite heavy equipment use and tropical conditions. Likewise, in less than three months, he provided the technical leadership critical to helping the 51st eliminate a backlog of over 300 deadlined 5-ton trucks.
After a tour in South Vietnam as maintenance officer for 2nd Battalion, 77th Artillery, 25th Infantry Division, he returned to Germany where he made a number of contributions while assigned first to the 1st Support Brigade, and then to Miesau Army Depot. In the 1st Support Brigade, he developed and supervised repair allocations and training programs for maintenance of over 650 newly introduced International Harvester "Fleetstar" tractors, and established a maintenance plan for rehabilitation of POMCUS (prepositioned) stocks. As Chief of Inventory at Miesau, he planned, staffed, and organized the inventory management functions for more than 240,000 short tons of ammunition, the largest ammunition inventory outside of the United States; under his leadership, the depot consistently maintained oversight of this inventory with at least 95 percent accuracy.
He culminated his military career as a Training Battalion Maintenance Officer at Fort Knox, and retired in 1976 after 27 years in uniform. Then, he joined the Chrysler Corporation as a quality-control engineer at its Detroit Arsenal Tank Plant and began a 17-year career in the civilian sector which kept him closely involved in the production of the M60 tank, the M1 Tank, and the follow-on series of Abrams Tanks until 1993.
In April 1993, CW4 Gruwell moved to Sarasota, Florida to reside near members of his immediate family. He died in September 2001.