The U.S. Navy will officially name roll-on/roll-off ship
USNS Gordon (T-AKR 296) in a ceremony at 10 a.m., Thursday, July
4, 1996, at Newport News, Va.
The ship will be named in honor of Master Sergeant Gary I.
Gordon, United States Army, who was posthumously awarded the
Medal of Honor in 1994 for his gallantry in action in Mogadishu,
Somalia. Gordon, born in Lincoln, Maine, August 30, 1960, was
assigned to the U.S. Army Special Operations Command at Fort
Bragg, N.C. He was on a military mission with Task Force Ranger
in Somalia, October 3, 1993, when he died assisting downed pilot
Chief Warrant Officer Michael Durant. After two helicopters were
hit, Gordon and another soldier, Sergeant First Class Randall
Shughart, were inserted into the crash site under heavy fire.
After pulling the injured crew from the aircraft, they
established a defensive perimeter and continued to engage the
enemy. Gordon was killed after his ammunition ran out.
Shughart, killed in the same battle, was also awarded the Medal
of Honor. The Navy's first conversion LMSR ship was named for
Shughart in a ceremony in San Diego, Calif., April 13, 1996.
The Honorable John P. Murtha, Congressman from Pa., will be
the ceremony's principal speaker. Serving as the ship's sponsor
will be Carmen Gordon, widow of the ship's namesake.
Distinguished guests attending the ceremony include the
Honorable John W. Douglass, Assistant Secretary of the Navy for
Research, Development and Acquisition; General Dennis J. Reimer,
Army Chief of Staff; General (Retired) Wayne A. Downing, former
Commander-in-Chief of the U.S. Special Operations Command; Vice
Admiral George R. Sterner, Commander, Naval Sea Systems Command;
Vice Admiral Philip M. Quast, Commander, Military Sealift
Command; General Henry Shelton, Commander-in-Chief of the U.S.
Command; General (Retired) Gordon Sullivan, former Army Chief of
Staff; Brigadier General (Retired) William G. Boykin, Master Sgt.
Gordon's Commanding Officer in Somalia and former Commander of
the Army's Combat Applications Group; and Mr. William P. Fricks,
President and Chief Executive Officer, Newport News Shipbuilding.
Gordon is the second ship to undergo conversion from a
commercial container vessel to
a Large Medium Speed Roll On/Roll Off (LMSR) sealift ship and
will be operated by the U.S. Navy's Military Sealift Command,
Washington, D.C. Gordon's roll on/roll off design makes it ideal
for transporting helicopters, tanks, trucks and other wheeled and
tracked military vehicles and will provide more than 330,000
square feet of cargo carrying space. The cargo ship is 956 feet
in length, has a beam of 105.9 feet and displaces approximately
55,422 tons when fully loaded. Three low speed diesels power the
ship to speeds up to 24 knots. Secretary of the Navy John H.
Dalton views this program as vital to improving America's
strategic sealift capability.
For information on the ceremony, please contact Mr. Mike
Hatfield, Director of Communication, Newport News Shipbuilding
and Drydock Company, at (804) 380-2932.