US senses Susan Collins and Angus King; Reps. Chellie Pingree and Jared Golden; and Governor Janet Mills sent a letter to Secretary of the Navy Carlos Del Toro urging him to name a destroyer after the master sergeant. Gary Gordon of Lincoln, Maine.
Lawmakers made clear they wanted the ship to be an Arleigh Burke-class destroyer. Often referred to as the “workhorse of the navy” by King, Arleigh Burkes are built solely by Mississippi-based Bath Iron Works and Huntington Ingalls.
“The combat capability of an Arleigh Burke-class destroyer exemplifies the fighting spirit of (Master Sgt.) Gordon and would be an inspiration to any crew privileged to serve aboard USS Gary Gordon,” the lawmakers wrote. “With such a namesake, there is no doubt that the ship’s crew would serve with the same pride, perseverance and bravery as (Master Sgt.) Gordon.”
Gordon was a member of the US Army’s Delta Force Special Operations Unit. He died on October 3, 1993, while rescuing an injured helicopter crew during the Battle of Mogadishu, also known as the Black Hawk Down incident.
Gordon asked his helicopter mission commander to drop him to the ground to defend an injured crew after their Black Hawk helicopter was shot down and enemy forces closed in on the crash site, according to a news release. . Gordon’s mission commander initially refused, due to extreme danger, but relented after Gordon’s third request.
Gordon and another sniper, Sgt. 1st Class Randy Shughart, fought his way to the injured crew, picked up the four wounded soldiers and fought until they ran out of ammunition, the statement said. Their act of heroism was made famous as the subject of the book and film “Black Hawk Down”.
Gordon and Shughart were posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor, the nation’s highest military honor, in May 1994.
The Navy once named a ro-ro cargo ship after him in 1996. Collins, King, Pingree, Golden and Mills argue, however, that a destroyer would better represent “courage, integrity and devotion to duty under fire “from Gordon,” according to the letter.
“(Master Sgt.) Gordon represents the best of Maine and the best of America’s service men and women,” the lawmakers wrote. “There could be no better namesake for a Bath-built destroyer than MSG Gordon. It’s a story of American heroism and courage, and it’s a story that should be honored and remembered in naming a warship USS Gary Gordon.
According to the BIW website, the Arleigh Burke-class destroyers are 510 feet long, have a displacement of 9,217 tons, can hold a crew of 380, and can reach speeds in excess of 30 knots.
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