Master sergeant Gary Ivan Gordon (August 30, 1960 – October 3, 1993) is a posthumous recipient of the Medal of Honor. At the time of his death, he was a non-commissioned officer in the United States Army's special operations unit, the 1st Special Forces Operational Detachment-Delta (1SFOD-D), or "Delta Force." Together with Sgt. First Class Randy Shughart, he earned the Medal of Honor for actions he performed during the Battle of Mogadishu in October 1993.
Gary Gordon was born in Lincoln, Maine in 1960. He graduated from Mattanawcook Academy in 1978. Gordon joined the U.S. Army at age 18. Gordon earned the Combat Infantryman Badge, Master Parachutist Badge, Ranger tab and the Special Forces tab. He served with the 2nd Battalion of the 10th Special Forces Group before being chosen to join the 1st Special Forces Operational Detachment-Delta (1SFOD-D), or "Delta Force" as a sniper.
Combat and death in Somalia
Gordon was deployed to Mogadishu, Somalia with other Delta members in the summer of 1993 as part of Task Force Ranger. On October 3, 1993 Gordon was Sniper Team Leader during Operation Gothic Serpent, a joint-force assault mission to apprehend key advisers to Somali warlord Mohamed Farrah Aidid. During the assault, Super Six One, one of the Army's Black Hawk helicopters providing insertion and air support to the assault team, was shot down and had crashed in the city. A Combat Search and Rescue (CSAR) team was dispatched to the first crash site to secure it. Shortly thereafter, Super Six Four was shot down as well. Ranger forces on the ground were not able to assist the downed helicopter crew of the second crash site as they were already engaged in heavy combat with Aidid's militia and making their way to the first crash site.
Medal of Honor citation
On May 23, 1994, both Gordon and Shughart were posthumously decorated the Medal of Honor in recognition for the actions they took and the sacrifices they made to help protect the life of Durant and the crew of Super Six Four. They were the only soldiers participating in Operation Gothic Serpent to receive the military's highest honor, and the first Medal of Honor recipients since the Vietnam War.
Many things have been named after Gordon. Gordon Elementary School in Linden Oaks, Harnett County, North Carolina, which opened in January 2009, was named in his honor. The school is near Fort Bragg, where Gordon was stationed before being deployed to Somalia.