About Nathan Green Gordon
Nathan Green Gordon was born on 4 September 1916 in Morrilton, Arkansas. He graduated from the University of Arkansas and practiced law before enlisting from that state in the U.S. Naval Reserve in May 1941. In February 1942, following flight training at the Naval Reserve Aviation Base at New Orleans, Louisiana, and at Naval Air Station, Jacksonville, Florida, he was designated a Naval Aviator.
Commissioned an Ensign the next month, he had additional training with the Atlantic Fleet's Transition Training Squadron then reported in the summer to help fit out Patrol Squadron Thirty Four. In March 1943, he was promoted to Lieutenant Junior Grade and became the squadron's patrol plane commander.
The President of the United States in the name of The Congress takes pleasure in presenting the
Medal of Honor
GORDON, NATHAN GREEN
Rank and organization: Lieutenant, U.S. Navy, commander of Catalina patrol plane. Place and date: Bismarck Sea, 15 February 1944. Entered service at: Arkansas. Born: 4 September 1916, Morrilton, Ark.
For extraordinary heroism above and beyond the call of duty as commander of a Catalina patrol plane in rescuing personnel of the U.S. Army 5th Air Force shot down in combat over Kavieng Harbor in the Bismarck Sea, 15 February 1944. On air alert in the vicinity of Vitu Islands, Lt. (then Lt. j.g.) Gordon unhesitatingly responded to a report of the crash and flew boldly into the harbor, defying close-range fire from enemy shore guns to make 3 separate landings in full view of the Japanese and pick up 9 men, several of them injured. With his cumbersome flying boat dangerously overloaded, he made a brilliant takeoff despite heavy swells and almost total absence of wind and set a course for base, only to receive the report of another group stranded in a rubber life raft 600 yards from the enemy shore.
Promptly turning back, he again risked his life to set his plane down under direct fire of the heaviest defenses of Kavieng and take aboard 6 more survivors, coolly making his fourth dexterous takeoff with 15 rescued officers and men. By his exceptional daring, personal valor, and incomparable airmanship under most perilous conditions, Lt. Gordon prevented certain death or capture of our airmen by the Japanese.
For his last duty station, Gordon reported to Naval Air Station, Anacostia, Washington, D.C. In August 1945, he was relieved from active duty but remained in the reserves, where he was promoted to Lieutenant Commander in June 1946. In the same year, Gordon was elected to Lieutenant Governor of Arkansas, where he served for nine consecutive terms. In October 1954, he was honorably discharged from the reserves. He retired from office in 1967 and returned to his hometown to practice law. Nathan G. Gordon died on 8 September 2008 and is buried at Elmwood Cemetery, Morrilton, Arkansas.
Lt. Nathan G. Gordon, Medal of Honor, Lt. Gov.'s Timeline
September 4, 1916
Morrilton, AR, USA
Conway County, Arkansas.
Little Rock Pulaski County Arkansas
Elmwood Cemetery Morrilton Conway County Arkansas