Grumman (グラマン, Guraman) is the Commanding Officer of the East City headquarters. A very influential military officer, Grumman is considered to be one of the most powerful men in Amestris, along with his fellow Generals from the Amestrian Military Top Brass. For reasons unknown in the early story, he was relegated to a position in the Eastern Area of Amestris for years, never assuming a leadership position in Central Command.
He was Colonel Roy Mustang's commanding officer prior to the latter's transfer to Central.
He is an old skinny man with a distinguishable mustache and gray hair. He normally wears his military uniform, though he can disguise himself well too.
Kind and with a wry abundant sense of humor, he is one of Colonel Mustang's closest allies and acts as a mentor and friend to him. He is a jovial kind easygoing mind on the outset which belies his vast intelligence and cunning. He tends to joke around often with his subordinates and allies, along with enjoying teasing them. This includes teasing Roy to marry his granddaughter who turns out to be Riza.He is very perceptive and is described by Roy as the type of person who can't sit still when something is happening. He even proclaims that the Homunculi and government conspiracy has refueled his ambition.
He does possess a serious side and has shown his ambition overshadows his kindness. He is very intelligent, helping Mustang gather information about the government conspiracy. In addition, he is also a man of strong morals, disgusted at the actions of the corrupted government and scoffing at the idea of immortality, stating it is something humans should not try to accomplish. It was for this very reason, when he rejected Raven's offer of immortality, that he was demoted. He is a resourceful man, able to Help Mustang deliver information to General Armstrong's troops in the Eastern army. Though he wishes to work against the Homunculi, he prefers to do so in the shadows as he hopes not to ruin his image and chances of becoming Fuhrer. This implies his ambition matches that of Roy Mustang, though both wish to become Fuhrer to better the country. This includes blowing up the train Bradley was on and having Roy and Olivier take the blame, stating it would be hard to be Fuhrer if they thought of him as a traitor. This shows that he can be treacherous to an extent. He also warns Mrs. Bradley that should Selim turn evil again, he will not hesitate to kill him. However, he is intrigued about the possibilities of a human and homunculi getting along, and the implications it has for the future. He is mildly perverted, having cross-dressed as a woman (albeit to disguise himself and meet up with Roy) and on another occasion rubs Rebecca's butt while she isn't paying attention.
In the manga and 2009 anime
He is first introduced playing chess with Roy Mustang when the transfer to Central has come for Roy. Mustang then bests the Lieutenant General in the game of chess (for the first time), and the General gives him the board as a farewell gift. When Roy Mustang transfers from East City HQ to Central, Grumman authorizes the transfer of Mustang's subordinates, including his own granddaughter, Riza Hawkeye .
Later on, Mustang recalls Grumman's instructions as he tries to find allies in the Top Brass of the Military, relying on Grumman's contacts in Central, especially to General Raven. Grumman was said to have saved Raven's life in the past and, in telling so to Mustang, makes him believe Raven might be a good starting point in his plot. However, it is revealed Raven was actually conspiring along with the Homunculi, which results in Mustang being blackmailed by the military. After the Homunculi strip Mustang of his subordinates, he secretly contacts Grumman through Madame Christmas for aid, using a small paper placed by Grumman inside the King's piece in the chessboard he gave Roy. Grumman comes to Central under disguise (as an old woman) and meets with Mustang at Maes Hughes' grave to exchange intelligence and form a plot against the military.Grumman reveals that Raven has actually tried to lure him to conspire with the top brass, by asking if Grumman was interested in building an immortal army, and that, after he refused the offer, he was put aside in a "dead end" position at the Eastern Headquarters.
But, though a willing and powerful ally, Grumman is reluctant to openly work against the military, as he is afraid to jeopardize his image and ruin his chances of ascending and, as such, only helps Mustang in a secluded, secret way, leaving the spotlight for "the young people".
He plays an important role there on, being the contact point of Mustang's and General Armstrong's troops with the Eastern Army. During the preparations for the final story arc, he receives a call from Falman, in Briggs, informing him of the "Promised Day". He proceeds in sending his subordinate, Lt. Rebecca Catalina to Central and pass on the message to her friend, Riza Hawkeye.
During the coup, Grumman aids behind curtains, exploding the Führer’s train but deciding to leave the upfront to Colonel Mustang and General Armstrong. He does so because it would make it easier for him to take control of Amestris and become the next Führer once the struggle is over as being branded a traitor would make it difficult to become the next leader of Amestris.
Grumman falls victim to the Nationwide Transmutation Circle, but is later revived thanks to Van Hohenheim's counter plan. As the struggle finishes, Mustang asks Grumman to assume control of Amestris due to his blindness, much to Grumman’s contentment. It’s left implied Grumman would later pass on the position to either General Armstrong or Mustang once he decides to retire. In the last chapter, two years later, Grumman is still Führer and is shown having a conversation with Mrs. Bradley. He has allowed her to keep Selim despite harsh opposition and wonders if humans and Homunculi can truly coexist. This makes him marvel at the fact that life can teach people so many things.
2003 adaptationGrumman's introduction is identical to the manga, but he plays no further importance to the plot after Roy's transfer to Central City, other than being present in meetings with the Führer and commenting a few times.
He does make a brief cameo in the series epilogue and is seen addressing the soldiers when the Assembly, who are the new leaders of Amestris, are introduced at Central Command in Conqueror of Shamballa.
- The kinship between Grumman and Lt. Hawkeye (Riza) is not declared at any point during the course of the manga, but it is stated in the Perfect Guidebook 2. The book reveals that he's her maternal grandfather (and therefore, they don't bear the same surname). And, although Riza states she doesn't know about any relatives (to Mustang, in Chapter 60 of the manga) by the time of her father's death, that guidebook states that the kinship is very evident through various mementos in Grumman's office, which means Riza and those close to her in the military are aware of the connection.
- Like nearly all military personnel in the Fullmetal Alchemist series, Grumman is named after a military vehicle, vessel or weapon, in his case, the Grumman E-2 Hawkeye, a carrier-based tactical Airborne Early Warning (AEW) aircraft used in the US Navy. Interestingly enough, his granddaughter's name was also taken from the same aircraft, perhaps as a hint to their connection. As Grumman is a aeronautical company his name could refer to any of the planes produced or just the company itself.
- Grumman's record for playing chess with Mustang is 97 wins, 1 loss and 15 draws.
- When Grumman loses a game of chess to Mustang in chapter 25 of the manga, however, he hadn't actually lost. His Rook was able to take Mustang's Knight that dealt the checkmate. This is probably a mistake.
- Due to working under him, Mustang parallels Grumman in many ways. Both are thought to be womanizers and are often scolded for flirting with women at work (though the 'women' are usually undercover agents). Both are also regarded as laid back and procrastinating officers, when they are in fact extremely intelligent, calculating, and wily.
- This may also indicate that Grumman has actually instructed Mustang in the ways of climbing the military hierarchy unnoticed and without giving away his true intentions.
- Although the series shows no signs of who might succeed Grumman in the position of Führer, the author has stated in interviews that Mustang will eventually make it to the position and that, if she were ever to make an extra chapter of FMA, it would be about that particular event.
- Grumman's design in the 2003 anime is a bit different from the manga and the 2009 anime. His hair is much darker, and his glasses have a dark golden trim, where they are just a plain gray color in the manga and other animes.