Rank and organization:   Lieutenant, U.S. Navy, commander of Catalina
Place and date:   Bismarck Sea, 15 February 1944.
Entered Service at:
Birth:   4 September 1916, Morrilton, Ark.
Citation:   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. j.g.) 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 3 separate landings in full
view of the Japanese and pick up 9 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
life raft 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 6 more survivors, coolly 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.
This data was extracted from the Committee on Veterans' Affairs, U.S. Senate, Medal of Honor Recipients: 1863-1973 (Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1973)