Gary Price joined the Marine Corps in 1971. By 1975, he had completed flight training and had become a pilot. He supported the evacuation of U.S. personnel from South Vietnam in 1975. Following this assignment, Price returned to the United States, where he became involved in developing Marine aviation tactics in the 1980s. In August of 1990, Lieutenant Colonel Price led his unit, HMM-161, into Saudi Arabia in support of Operation Desert Shield. In early 1991, Price's unit was involved in Operation Desert Storm and the liberation of Kuwait.