This page is in memory of…
Master Sergeant Gary Gordon, U.S. Army Special Forces
August 30, 1960 – October 3, 1993
Gary Gordon was a native of Lincoln, ME. When he was 11 years old, he checked out the Medal of Honor Pamphlet from the Lincoln Memorial Library. He read General Douglas MacArthur’s words in this pamphlet, “your guidepost stands out like a 10-fold beacon in the night: Duty. Honor. Country.” Gordon built his way of life around this doctrine.
Gordon aspired to a life he couldn’t achieve in Lincoln, and in 1978, he enlisted in the Army. Within a year he had qualified for the Army’s Special Forces. In his phone calls home, he expressed his excitement about learning parachuting, mountaineering, and weaponry in his Green Beret classes. By the late 80s, he was a commando for Delta Force, a unit organized in 1977 to capture terrorists, rescue hostages, and execute pinpoint assaults.
Gordon was awarded the Medal of Honor for sacrificing his life while rescuing a downed helicopter crew in Mogadishu, Somalia on October 3, 1993. It was supposed to be a swift and clean mission. U.N. relief efforts to distribute food to the starving people of that country were being hampered by guerrilla ambushes and the US planned to aid the UN in its humanitarian mission. Army Rangers in 15 helicopters, including 6 Black Hawk troop-carrying helicopters, were to fly into southern Mogadishu in the hope of capturing the key lieutenants of Somali warlord Mohammed Farrah Aidid.
The first part of the mission went well. They caught the Somalis by surprise and captured 24 of Aidid’s men by 4pm. 20 minutes later, the lead Black Hawk helicopter was shot down by a rocket-propelled grenade three blocks to the north. Gordon, a sniper-team leader, and his comrades began firing from their helicopter to keep the advancing Somalis from swarming the crash site. Shortly after, word came that another helicopter piloted by Chief Officer Michael Durrant had been shot down 2 miles from the first crash site.
After 3 requests, Gordon and Sergeant First Class Randy Shughart were granted permission to rescue the crew of the downed helicopter, going down ropes from their helicopter into the midst of a gunfight. The two fought their way through a maze of shanties and shacks with only sniper rifles and pistols. When they reached the crash site, they pulled the three badly wounded crew members and pilot from the wreckage and established a perimeter. Gordon defended the site, killing an undetermined number of attackers until he depleted his ammunition. He then went back to the wreckage to recover some of the crew’s weapons and ammunition. He gave pilot Michael Durant, whose back and one leg were broken, a weapon and radioed for help. Gordon continued fighting until his team member was down and he had exhausted his ammunition. He went back to the wreckage for one last rifle, which he gave to Durant with the words “good luck.” Gordon fought until he was fatally wounded. The crash site was overrun by the angry and brutally violent mob. Durant, the only survivor, was beaten, taken prisoner for 11 days, and then released.
In May 1994, both Gordon and Shughart posthumously received the Medal of Honor, the nation’s highest military award, “for conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of life above and beyond the call of duty,” making them the first recipients of the medal since the Vietnam War.
At a memorial event in 1995, Durant said, “I was alive because Gary and Randy had removed me from that cockpit and had placed me where I could defend myself and the crash site. I was alive because they had volunteered to go into that dusty neighborhood alone and lightly armed to help fallen comrades in a desperate situation. They volunteered for an impossible mission in order to help fellow soldiers that they didn’t even know. I’ve heard it said that uncommon valor was common that day, but I can tell you that what Gary Gordon did was not common. His actions were the bravest that I’ve ever witnessed and truly define ‘above and beyond the call of duty.’”
Gordon’s grave stone is located on Park Avenue.
This dedication stone is located at 63 Main Street. The dedication took place Sunday, July 23, 1995, at 1 PM. Inscribed into the memorial are these words: “In Memory of Master Sergeant Gary Gordon, U.S. Army Special Forces, Aug. 30, 1960 – Oct. 3, 1993, Awarded the Medal of Honor for ‘extraordinary heroism’ with which he fought and died in effort to rescue comrades in Somalia. ‘In Delta’s ranks is a special breed… they belong to a tiny fraternity whose common bond is uncommon valor’ John Marsh, Secretary of the Army, 1989”.
The MSG Gary Gordon Memorial Flag Pole at Mattanawcook Academy was dedicated to him.
This picture is located in the Lincoln Town Council Chambers. The picture features the USNS Gordon, a 565-foot-long rapid deployment ship dedicated in Newport News Shipbuilding yard, VA in 1996.
The Academy Award winning movie Black Hawk Down (2001), directed by Ridley Scott was based on the events of Operation Gothic Serpent.
Master Sergeant Gary Gordon, was featured on American Valor on November 11, 2003 on PBS. The history of the Congressional Medal of Honor and the stories of the brave men and women recipients unfolded through newsreel footage, photographs, as well as interviews with the recipients, their comrades and the enemies they fought.
The 1st Annual MSG Gary Gordon Fishing Derby was held July 22, 2017. Participants fished on Cold Stream Pond, Little Narrows and Upper Cold Stream Pond, Egg Pond, Long Pond, Caribou Pond, Stump Pond, Mattanawcook Pond, Folsom Pond and the Penobscot River. There was a $300 cash prize for biggest fish in each category: Salmon, Bass and Trout/Togue. All proceeds support MSG Gary Gordon Veteran Center. For more information or to volunteer with this event next year, contact David Whalen at 794-6532 or John Nelson at 290-0387.
The Town of Lincoln held our first MSG Gary Gordon Day June 30, 2018. The day paid tribute to MSG Gary Gordon, 2018 was the 25th anniversary of his death. In 2019 we held a benefit spaghetti supper and had a town wide yard sale to help raise money for the statue.
The MSG Gary Gordon Memorial Bridge between Lincoln and Chester was dedicated in 2019.
This was the design for the MSG Gary Gordon Statue. The Statue was unveiled on Gary’s Birthday, August 30, 2021. You can watch the ceremony here. Thanks to the Gordon family, Special Forces Charitable Trust, the countless people who volunteered their time fundraising, and everyone who donated to make this statue possible. The statue is located at the Veterans Memorial beside Hannaford. The statue is facing Gary’s gravestone in the Lincoln Cemetery.
Other Veteran’s Memorials in Town
Lincoln Veterans Memorial (Located at 22 Goding Ave.)
Soldier Statue – Civil War (Located Military Rd. and Lee St)
Spirit of the American Doughboy – World War 1 (Located on W. Broadway) Our Doughboy statue is one of 14 left in the US. Our statue was made by Ernest Moore Viquesney.