Congressional Medal of Honor Society

Stories of Sacrifice

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Somalia (Operation Restore Hope) - U.S. Army

Gary Ivan Gordon

  • Rank: Master Sergeant
  • Conflict/Era: Somalia (Operation Restore Hope)
  • Unit/Command:
    Task Force Ranger,
    Special Operations Command
  • Military Service Branch: U.S. Army
  • Medal of Honor Action Date: October 3, 1993
  • Medal of Honor Action Place: Mogadishu, Somalia

M/Sgt. Gary I. Gordon, United States Army, distinguished himself by action above and beyond the call of duty on 3 October 1993, while serving as a Sniper Team Leader, United States Army Special Operations Command with Task Force Ranger in Mogadishu, Somalia. M/Sgt. Gordon's sniper team provided precision fires from the lead helicopter during an assault, and at two helicopter crash sites, while subjected to intense automatic weapons and rocket propelled grenade fires. When M/Sgt. Gordon learned that ground forces were not immediately available to secure the crash site, he and another sniper unhesitatingly volunteered to be inserted to protect the four critically wounded personnel, despite being well aware of the growing number of enemy personnel closing in on the site. After his third request to be inserted, M/Sgt. Gordon received permission to perform his volunteer mission. When debris and enemy ground fires at the site caused him to abort the first attempt, M/Sgt. Gordon was inserted one hundred meters south of the crash site. Equipped with only his sniper rifle and pistol, M/Sgt. Gordon and his fellow sniper, while under intense small arms fire from the enemy, fought their way through a dense maze of shanties and shacks to reach the critically injured crew members. M/Sgt. Gordon immediately pulled the pilot and other crew members from the aircraft, establishing a perimeter which placed him and his fellow sniper in the most vulnerable position. M/Sgt. Gordon used his long range rifle and side arm to kill an undetermined number of attackers until he depleted his ammunition. M/Sgt. Gordon then went back to the wreckage, recovering some of the crew's weapons and ammunition. Despite the fact that he was critically low on ammunition he provided some of it to the dazed pilot and then radioed for help. M/Sgt. Gordon continued to travel the perimeter, protecting the downed crew. After his team member was fatally wounded, and his own rifle ammunition exhausted, M/Sgt. Gordon returned to the wreckage, recovering a rifle with the last five rounds of ammunition and gave it to the pilot with the words "Good Luck." Then, armed only with his pistol, MSgt. Gordon continued to fight until he was fatally wounded. His actions saved the pilot's life. M/Sgt. Gordon's extraordinary heroism and devotion to duty were in keeping with the highest standards of military service and reflect great credit on him, his unit, and the United States Army.

Medal of Honor Recipient Gary I. Gordon
Medal of Honor Recipient Gary I. Gordon
Additional Details
  • Accredited to: Lincoln, Penobscot County, Maine
  • Awarded Posthumously: Yes
  • Presentation Date & Details: May 23, 1994

    The White House, presented by Pres. William J. Clinton to his Widow.

  • Born: August 30, 1960, Lincoln, Penobscot County, ME, United States
  • Died: October 3, 1993, Mogadishu, Somalia
  • Buried: Lincoln Cemetery, Lincoln, ME, United States

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