|By Thomas Patton Crawford (Gr8fulson) (220.127.116.11) on Wednesday, March 13, 2002 - 08:49 pm:|
Walter S. 'Smokey' Gordon
|By Donna Lumsden (Ladymadonna) (18.104.22.168) on Tuesday, March 26, 2002 - 04:10 am:|
I was wondering if anyone knew what the extent of Walter Gordon's injuries were when he was shot in Bastogne? In Band of Brothers Doc Roe said he was paralysed, was this permanent?
|By Chris Langlois (Chrisdfw) (22.214.171.124) on Tuesday, March 26, 2002 - 09:40 pm:|
This is from one of the Gordon daughters...
As for Dad's injuries, he was shot in the left shoulder, and the bullet traveled across his body and came out his right shoulder. Apparently it nicked his spinal column which left him paralyzed from the neck down. After weeks of being in the hospital he started to get feelings in his lower body, and after many months of slow recovery, he eventually came back around but never the way he was before.
For the rest of his life, Dad constantly suffered with back and shoulder pain. As a matter of fact, when Ford came out with the Continental car line, he was the first one in line to lease one because that was the first car to have the multi adjustable driver seat. Dad had to travel extensively in his line of work (oil lease broker), and spent hours on the road driving, so any relief of the pain was worth the money to him.
The worst part about that near fatal injury was the fact that we never could give Dad a big hug around his neck, because we all knew the pain he would have felt, and whenever someone (unaware, of course, of his injury) would greet him and give him a hug around his neck or shoulders, you could see in his face the pain he felt, yet he would never say a word about it. Anyway, that's the long and short of it.
|By Donna Lumsden (Ladymadonna) (126.96.36.199) on Wednesday, March 27, 2002 - 03:30 am:|
Thanks for that. It's something that I've wondered about since watching the series. How sad that his family were never able to give him a big hug. It's just another thing that I take for granted. And yet, as I suppose is true of so many of these men, he never said a word about the pain he felt.
My thanks to Mr Gordon's daughter for sharing this information.
|By Chris Langlois (Chrisdfw) (188.8.131.52) on Sunday, April 07, 2002 - 02:27 pm:|
Oil man fought with real Band of Brothers
Jim Bradshaw / Staff Writer
Posted on September 9, 2001
LAFAYETTE - On Christmas Eve 1944, Cpl. Walter S. "Smokey" Gordon Jr., was one of a ragged band of frozen, half-starved, ill-supplied and too-proud-to-quit GIs rushed in a blinding snowstorm to defend the Belgian crossroads town of Bastogne. Elite German units had overrun American positions in a last-gasp attempt to keep the Allies from crossing into the Fatherland, and Allied commanders were using everything and everyone they could to stop the enemy advance.
Gordon was a machine gunner for E Company, 506th Regiment, 101st Airborne, a company called at the time by some military experts as the best infantry unit on either side to fight in World War II.
They were the Band of Brothers that will be immortalized in the HBO series beginning tonight. After the war, Gordon came to Lafayette and worked as an independent oil and gas lease broker.
When the call to rescue Bastogne came, he and the rest of Easy Company were recuperating in France from months on the line in Holland. They grumbled, but they went once again into battle. Characteristic of the Easy Company spirit was the remark made by a medic as they began to set up a defense.
"What's the situation?" he was asked.
"Haven't you heard?" the medic replied. "(The Germans have) got us surrounded, the poor bastards."
It was bitter cold that Christmas Eve morning of 1944. Snow covered the ground. He sat on the edge of his foxhole behind his light machine gun. In an attempt to keep warm, he'd wrapped his head in a towel and set his helmet atop the towel.
He kept coffee grounds in his hand grenade canister and, as he recounted later, "I'd melted the snow with my little gas stove, and I'd brewed a lovely cup of coffee." As he started to sip, word came that a German force was attempting to get through the lines defended by Easy Company.
When his squad leader, Sgt. Buck Taylor, told him to "get on that machine gun," Gordon began to brush snow from his weapon and ammo box and prepare to go into action. Just as he did, a shot from a German rifleman hit Gordon in the left shoulder, passed through his body and exited from the right shoulder. It brushed his spinal column, paralyzing him from the neck down.
The war ended that day for him, but he had seen plenty of it.
The Jackson, Miss., native enlisted in summer 1942 and volunteered for the paratroopers. His elite unit was one of the first to go into action on D-Day, June 6, 1944, when it parachuted behind enemy lines and landed at Sainte-M¸re-Eglise, the first town in France to be liberated after the German occupation. Gordon was wounded in the leg and shoulder June 13, but returned to Easy Company eight weeks later, just in time to jump into Holland.
Gordon described his experience in Holland in an interview with Stephen E. Ambrose, historian and author of the book upon which the Band of Brothers miniseries is based.
"We occupied various defense positions for over two months. Like animals, we lived in holes, barns, and as best we could. The weather was cold and wet. In spite of the adverse conditions, we held the ground we had fought so hard to capture," Gordon said.
His wound at Bastogne was more serious than the one he'd received in Holland, but after six weeks of hospitalization in England he began to again have feeling in his legs. By the spring of 1945 he was able to shuffle about on his feet and was shipped back to the States, where he recuperated in Lawson General Hospital in Alabama.
After the war, he acquired a law degree, but never practiced, going into the oil lease business instead. In 1951, he married Elizabeth Ball Ludeau of Ville Platte and they had five children. He died April 19, 1997.
|By Chris Langlois (Chrisdfw) (184.108.40.206) on Sunday, May 19, 2002 - 09:28 pm:|
Walter Gordon and Francis Mellett on D-Day. Both men earned the rank of corporal. Photo by Forrest Guth
|By Jane Lindholm (Jlindholm) (220.127.116.11) on Monday, May 20, 2002 - 07:50 pm:|
I recognize this pic. Must be the original that appear's in the BOB book, unless I miss my guess. Wow! Very generous of Mr. Guth. I'm pleased he made it home.
|By irene vrinte (Gijoe) (18.104.22.168) on Tuesday, May 21, 2002 - 12:02 pm:|
yes i recognize it too. it's in the book.
(i checked it)
|By Chris Langlois (Chrisdfw) (22.214.171.124) on Friday, September 06, 2002 - 01:37 pm:|
Following is a letter Walter Gordon wrote, in 1991, to the Mayor of Eindhoven who refused to meet with General H. Norman Schwartzkopf, claiming the general had "too much blood on his hands":
"On September 17, 1944, I participated in the large airborne operation which was conducted to liberate your country. As a member of Company E, 506th PIR, I landed near the small town of Son.
The following day, we moved south and liberated Eindhoven. While carrying out our assignment, we suffered casualties. That is war talk for bleeding. We occupied various defense positions for over two months. Like animals, we lived in holes, barns, and as best we could. The weather was cold and wet. In spite of the adverse conditions, we held the ground we had fought so hard to capture.
"The citizens of Holland at that time did not share your aversion to bloodshed, when the blood being shed was that of the German occupiers of your city. How soon we forget. History has proven more than once that Holland could be conquered if your neighbor, the Germans, are having a dull weekend and the golf links are crowded.
"Please don't allow your country to be swallowed up by Liechtenstein or the Vatican, as I don't plan to return. As of now, you are on your own".
|By Chris Langlois (Chrisdfw) (126.96.36.199) on Tuesday, September 10, 2002 - 08:19 pm:|
The Gordon sisters get a lesson in saluting.
Courtesy of Tracy Gordon Goff
|By George Luz Jr. (Luzjr) (188.8.131.52) on Monday, September 16, 2002 - 09:08 pm:|
Your Dad would have been very proud! When was that and where was Scottie?
|By Paul Sumner (Psumner) (184.108.40.206) on Tuesday, September 17, 2002 - 10:04 am:|
Astonishing, humorous, and very true letter you posted by Walter Gordon to the Mayor of Eindhoven. He really put the mayor in his place.
Excellent post, indicative of Mr. Gordon's directness, savvy, and political awareness. Good for him.
|By cias (Cias) (220.127.116.11) on Tuesday, September 17, 2002 - 11:36 am:|
The Mayor of Einhoven' s behavior is very curious. I wonder if the rest of the population suffered from his amnesia of the blood we, as well as the Germans, spilled there and that we were in Kuwait to free it as we were in Holland.
Was there a follow up or response to Walter' s letter? I know Bill and Babe have been to Einhoven.
|By Kyle Herring (Historybuff2008) (18.104.22.168) on Tuesday, November 25, 2003 - 09:57 pm:|
Can anyone tell me Gordon's contact information? I will recently be putting together a project on the men of Easy company for my school Social Studies fair. Since Gordon lives only about an hour from me, i was wanting to interview him.
|By John Nichols (Gordonfan24) (22.214.171.124) on Wednesday, November 26, 2003 - 12:21 pm:|
Mr. Gordon passed away in April of 1997. See Chris' post on April 7, 2002.
|By Kyle Herring (Historybuff2008) (126.96.36.199) on Monday, December 08, 2003 - 07:30 am:|
I didn't know that, obviously. Sorry to bother you, folks.
|By John Nichols (Gordonfan24) (188.8.131.52) on Tuesday, December 09, 2003 - 09:40 am:|
No need to be sorry. I've been on this website thousands of times, and still haven't read every post.
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