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USNS Gordon (T-AKR 296)

- formerly SS JUTLANDIA -
- Military Sealift Command -

no coat of arms

Photo by Stefan Karpinski, taken in Middle East waters in 2003. Click to enlarge.

Built as commercial container ship JUTLANDIA in Denmark in 1973, the ship was lengthened by Hyundai in 1984 and in the early 1990s, the Navy purchased the JUTLANDIA. The ship subsequently underwent conversion to a large, medium-speed, roll-on/roll-off ship (LMSR) at Newport News and was delivered to the Military Sealift Command on August 23, 1996 where the ship entered service as USNS GORDON becoming the first ship in the Navy named after US Army Master Sergeant Gordon.

General Characteristics:Delivered: June 1, 1973
Builder: Burmeister & Wain, Denmark
Purchased by the Navy: 1990s
Conversion yard: Newport News Shipbuilding and Dry Dock Company, Newport News, VA
Delivered: August 23, 1996
Propulsion system: 1 Burmeister & Wain 12K84EF diesel; 26,000 hp(m) (19.11 MW); 2 Burmeister & Wain 9K84EF diesels, 39,000 hp(m) (28.66 MW); 3 shafts (center cp prop) bow thruster
Propellers: three
Length: 954.7 feet (291 meters)
Beam: 106 feet (32.3 meters)
Draft: 35.75 feet (10.9 meters)
Displacement: approx. 55,450 tons full load
Speed: 24 knots
Aircraft: helicopter landing area only
Armament: none
Capacity: 284,064 sq. ft. plus 49,991 sq. ft. deck cargo
Crew: 26 civilian crew (up to 45); up to 50 active duty
Homeport: Atlantic

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Crew List:

This section contains the names of sailors who served aboard USNS GORDON. It is no official listing but contains the names of sailors who submitted their information.

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About the Ship's Name:

USNS GORDON is named in honor of US Army Master Sergeant Gordon of Lincoln, Maine, who was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor for his actions in Mogadishu, Somalia, on October 3, 1993.


Master Sergeant Gordon, United States Army, distinguished himself by actions above and beyond the call of duty on 3 October 1993, while serving as Sniper Team Leader, United States Army Special Operations Command with Task Force Ranger in Mogadishu, Somalia. Master Sergeant Gordon's sniper team provided precision fires from the lead helicopter during an assault and at two helicopter crash sites, while subjected to intense automatic weapons and rocket propelled grenade fires. When Master Sergeant Gordon learned that ground forces were not immediately available to secure the second crash site, he and another sniper unhesitatingly volunteered to be inserted to protect the four critically wounded personnel, despite being well aware of the growing number of enemy personnel closing in on the site. After his third request to be inserted, Master Sergeant Gordon received permission to perform his volunteer mission. When debris and enemy ground fires at the site caused them to abort the first attempt, Master Sergeant Gordon was inserted one hundred meters south of the crash site. Equipped with only his sniper rifle and a pistol, Master Sergeant Gordon and his fellow sniper, while under intense small arms fire from the enemy, fought their way through a dense maze of shanties and shacks to reach the critically injured crew members. Master Sergeant Gordon immediately pulled the pilot and the other crew members from the aircraft, establishing a perimeter which placed him and his fellow sniper in the most vulnerable position. Master Sergeant Gordon used his long range rifle and side arm to kill an undetermined number of attackers until he depleted his ammunition. Master Sergeant Gordon then went back to the wreckage, recovering some of the crew's weapons and ammunition. Despite the fact that he was critically low on ammunition, he provided some of it to the dazed pilot and then radioed for help. Master Sergeant Gordon continued to travel the perimeter, protecting the downed crew. After his team member was fatally wounded and his own rifle ammunition exhausted, Master Sergeant Gordon returned to the wreckage, recovering a rifle with the last five rounds of ammunition and gave it to the pilot with the words, "good luck." Then, armed only with his pistol, Master Sergeant Gordon continued to fight until he was fatally wounded. His actions saved the pilot's life. Master Sergeant Gordon's extraordinary heroism and devotion to duty were in keeping with the highest standards of military service and reflect great credit upon, his unit and the United States Army

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The photo below was taken by Stefan Karpinski and shows the GORDON being escorted through Bab El Mandeb by the German frigate MECKLENBURG-VORPOMMERN (F 218) during Operation Enduring Freedom in 2003.

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