Maine lawmakers asked the Navy to name a ship after Master Sgt. Gary Gordon of Lincoln, Maine. The lawmakers said they want the ship to be an Arleigh Burke-class destroyer, like the USS Daniel Inouye, shown here. Photo courtesy of Bath Iron Works

U.S. Sens. Susan Collins and Angus King; Reps. Chellie Pingree and Jared Golden; and Gov. Janet Mills sent a letter to Navy Secretary Carlos Del Toro urging him to name a destroyer after Master Sgt. Gary Gordon of Lincoln, Maine.

The lawmakers specified they want the ship to be an Arleigh Burke-class destroyer. Often referred to as the “workhorse of the Navy” by King, Arleigh Burkes are built only by Bath Iron Works and Mississippi-based Huntington Ingalls.

“The warfighting capability of an Arleigh Burke-class destroyer exemplifies (Master Sgt.) Gordon’s fighting spirit and would be an inspiration to all the crew who would have the privilege to serve aboard the USS Gary Gordon,” the lawmakers wrote. “With such a namesake, there is no doubt the crew of the ship would serve with the same pride, perseverance, and bravery as (Master Sgt.) Gordon.”

Gordon was a member of the U.S. Army’s Delta Force special operations unit. He died on Oct. 3, 1993, while rescuing a wounded helicopter crew during the Battle of Mogadishu, also known as the Black Hawk Down Incident.

Gordon requested his helicopter mission commander deposit him on the ground to defend a wounded 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 the extreme danger, but relented after Gordon’s third request.

Gordon and a fellow sniper, Sgt. 1st Class Randy Shughart, fought their way to the injured crew, retrieved all four injured soldiers, and fought until they were out of ammunition, according to the release. Their act of heroism was made famous as the subject of the book and movie “Black Hawk Down.”


Both Gordon and Shughart posthumously received the Medal of Honor, the nation’s highest military award, in May 1994.

The Navy already named a roll-on roll-off vehicle cargo ship after him in 1996. Collins, King, Pingree, Golden and Mills argue, however, a destroyer would better represent Gordon’s “courage, integrity and devotion to duty under fire,” 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. His is a story of American heroism and courage, and it is a story that should honored and remembered by naming a warship USS Gary Gordon.”

According to BIW’s website, Arleigh Burke-class destroyers are 510 feet long, have a displacement of 9,217 tons, can hold a 380-person crew, and can reach speeds in excess of 30 knots.

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