JAMES T GORDON

JAMES T GORDON - CPL

  • HOMETOWN:
  • englewood
  • COUNTY:
  • Bergen
  • DATE OF BIRTH:
  • February 05, 1947
  • DATE OF CASUALTY:
  • February 17, 1968
  • BRANCH OF SERVICE:
  • Marines
  • RANK:
  • CPL
  • STATUS:
  • KIA
  • COUNTRY:
  • South Vietnam

Biography


James T. Gordon was born on February 5, 1947, the third of nine children to Lawrence and Elizabeth Gordon.  His home of record is Englewood, NJ, where he lived all his life.  He attended St. Cecilia's Grammar School and High School graduating in 1965.  He was a member of the wrestling team.

In March 1966, Gordon enlisted in the US Marine Corps and attained the rank of Corporal (CPL).  He trained at Parris Island and was then assigned as a security guard at Annapolis, MD.  During this time, he married his high school sweetheart, Elizabeth Sapione, who lived on the same street as he did. 

Gordon was sent to Vietnam with Charlie Company, 1st Battalion, 5th Marines in October 1967. 

Gordon was killed in action on February 17, 1968, by a gunshot wound to his head while on an operation in the vicinity of Thua Thien, Vietnam.

Gordon was survived by his two-month-old daughter, Christina Ann, who he never saw.  He carried a picture of her around in his helmet.  He also left behind his wife, Elizabeth, parents, five sisters and two brothers.

Poem written by James Gordon in Vietnam:

Last night I had a dream
Different in a way,

I saw a little boy of five;
Quite content at play.

Next I saw a grade school boy,
Coming home at three,

Out of school for another day
And delighted to be free.

Then a boy of seventeen
And a little boy of six,

One was throwing tennis balls
The other was hitting them with sticks.

Next a teenage couple,
Coming home a little late.

Laughing and teasing each other
About their recent date.

Then a scene of horror
As a young man lie dead,

Shrapnel had torn his body
Bullets ripped his head.

This shocked me to my senses
And I stay up in my rack,

I looked around the squad bay
But everything was black.

Then I lay back on my pillow
Puzzled by my dream,

Then all at once it hit me
What it might well mean.

For I have lived every scene
That passed by in review,

All except the last one
Which was something new.

The freedom that I loved so long
Didn't come for free,

But for you, my God and country
I will gladly give my life,

To protect you and all my loved ones
For this vicious strife.

Among CPL James T. Gordon's effects was an undated, unmailed letter written TO THE PUBLIC that he planned on sending to the Bergen Record.  This is that letter:

TO THE PUBLIC...

I don't know why students, certain Senators and others are trying to undermine the war in Vietnam.  Many American fighting men are suffering and dying for what they believe in, as they have in the past.  Education is a wonderful thing.  The United States would really be hurting without it.  Yet, it is a known fact that some young men use college as a legal draft dodge.  They coast along with just passing grades and scream and holler when Uncle Sam says they will be eligible for the draft.  There is a small minority of college students who hold anti Vietnam sit-ins and demonstrations and listen to self-acclaimed socialists cut our Vietnam Policy to pieces.

It turns my stomach to read that the wives and families of slain servicemen are being threatened and harassed by cowardly scum.  The only comfort the relatives of the valiant men have, is the knowledge that they made the supreme sacrifice to protect their loved ones and this country.  Even this knowledge doesn't seem to ease the pain much, but to be subjected to the ridicule and insults along with it is inexcusable.

I'm one of those crazy types who tingles all over when the National Anthem or Stars and Stripes Forever is played.  I thank God I was born in a country where I have the freedom to live life as I choose.  I have a wonderful wife, many fine friends and I belong to a large happy family.  I don't want to be halfway around the world to be shot at and possibly killed, but I will because my conscience won't let me take my blessings for granted.  I can't sit idly by while such a big menace threatens to destroy everything I love.

Give it some serious thought people, this war is a fact.  The mutilating of innocent people is real, and it's closer to our homes than you think.  You read about American forces suffering light causalities ---Hell! There is no such animal as light American causalities, one American death is one too many.  The attitude of the American public is a very influential one.  Back up our policy in Vietnam and get behind our fighting men.  A pressure has to be put on the disbelievers and the unpatriotic in order to end this war as soon as possible.

Cpl. James T. Gordon
United States Marine Corps

Sources: Jean Meehan (sister) and NJVVMF.

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