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Congressional Medal of Honor Society

Stories of Sacrifice

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World War II - U.S. Navy

Nathan Green Gordon

  • Rank: Lieutenant (Highest Rank: Lieutenant Commander)
  • Conflict/Era: World War II
  • Unit/Command:
    Patrol Squadron 34 (VPB-34), Naval Air Base, Samari Island,
    New Guinea
  • Military Service Branch: U.S. Navy
  • Medal of Honor Action Date: February 15, 1944
  • Medal of Honor Action Place: Kavieng Harbor, Bismarck Sea, New Ireland, Southwestern Pacific

For extraordinary heroism above and beyond the call of duty as commander of a Catalina patrol plane in rescuing personnel of the U.S. Army 5th Air Force shot down in combat over Kavieng Harbor in the Bismarck Sea, 15 February 1944. On air alert in the vicinity of Vitu Islands, Lt. (then Lt. jg) Gordon unhesitatingly responded to a report of the crash and flew boldly into the harbor, defying close-range fire from enemy shore guns to make three separate landings in full view of the Japanese and pick up nine men, several of them injured. With his cumbersome flying boat dangerously overloaded, he made a brilliant takeoff despite heavy swells and almost total absence of wind and set a course for base, only to receive the report of another group stranded in a rubber liferaft 600 yards from the enemy shore. Promptly turning back, he again risked his life to set his plane down under direct fire of the heaviest defenses of Kavieng and take aboard six more survivors, cooly making his fourth dexterous takeoff with 15 rescued officers and men. By his exceptional daring, personal valor, and incomparable airmanship under most perilous conditions, Lt. Gordon prevented certain death or capture of our airmen by the Japanese.

Additional Details
  • Accredited to: Morrilton, Conway County, Arkansas
  • Awarded Posthumously: No
  • Presentation Date & Details: July 13, 1944

    Brisbane, Australia, presented by Vice Adm. Thomas C. Kincaid

  • Born: September 4, 1916, Morrilton, Conway County, AR, United States
  • Died: September 9, 2008, Morrilton, AR, United States
  • Buried: Elmwood Cemetery, Morrilton, AR, United States
  • Location of Medal: MacArthur Museum of Arkansas Military History, Little Rock, AR

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