Defenders of the Philippines

picture of captivity and picture of release from captivity

Major Richard M. Gordon


Picture of Richard M. Gordon

Major Richard M. Gordon, a retiree from the U.S. Army, was born Albert Richard Gordon on November 10, 1921in Manhattan, New York, to Albert and Helen (born Helen Gray) Gordon. Following the fall of Bataan on April 9, 1942, Gordon was one of 11,000 American and Filipino troops who were forced to endure the Bataan Death March. Along with his fellow soldiers, Gordon spent 3 1/2 years as a prisoner of the Japanese at multiple prison camps, including Camp O'Donnell and Cabanatuan. He was also transported to Japan as a slave laborer on the hellship Nagato Maru. Nevertheless, despite his harrowing experiences, Major Gordon remained an active member of the Army as a commissioned officer until 1960, serving in both Europe and Okinawa. Afterward, he earned a degree in criminal justice from the University of Maryland and joined the Long Island, New York police force. Upon his retirement, he worked with other Bataan veterans to form the Battling Bastards of Bataan, an organization committed to continuing the legacy of those who served in the Philippines and to educating future generations as well as veterans' families. Through the efforts of Gordon and others, three monuments have been erected in the Philippines, one of which is a memorial wall at Camp O'Donnell. Richard Gordon passed away on July 26, 2003 and was interred with full military honors at Arlington National Cemetery. 

Read an interview with Major Richard Gordon on HistoryNet

Read "Bataan, Corregidor, and the Death March: In Retrospect" by Richard Gordon