Wednesday, May 14, 1930, was a slow news day at the Cleveland Press. They even missed the birth of Gordon Lynch. Eighty-eight years ago, they also missed other notables born that year – like Neil Armstrong, Sean Connery, Warren Buffett, Steve McQueen, Ray Charles, Clint Eastwood and Sandra Day O’Connor.
When Gordon was three, his father was killed in an automobile accident and the family moved from Ohio to Rhode Island to live with his great-grandfather. During his childhood, he did the normal things a kid in a small town did – a paper route, a seller of stamps for war bonds, a soda jerk.
He was 15 when World War II ended. As soon as he turned 18, Gordon joined the U.S. Army with the goal of becoming a sports announcer for Armed Forces Radio Europe. It took a while of finagling assignments before his time came. But after eight months, he confessed he didn’t have it and became a recording engineer which led to fascinating assignments.
Shortly after being promoted to staff sergeant, he was encouraged to go to OCS (Officer Candidate School) and was commissioned a second lieutenant six months later, just in time to join the Korean Conflict. But to his dismay, the Army sent him to Ft. Dix, New Jersey instead.
Many assignments followed, in Korea, Japan, Okinawa, Thailand (four years in Special Ops), Vietnam (twice, finally as Colonel of the 1st Battalion, 20th Infantry Regiment) and Germany (Chief of War Plans). He also served in the Pentagon. In between, he took the Advanced Infantry Course at Ft. Benning and went to the Command and General Staff College at Ft. Leavenworth and the Army War College in Carlisle, Pennsylvania. He even went to the Army’s facility, Presidio of San Francisco, to learn French. And with these courses and experiences, he advanced up the Army chain of command, ultimately becoming a Full “Bird” Colonel.
His final assignment was as Director of ALSA (Air Land Sea Application Center) – a multi-service organization established to develop tactical-level solutions of multi-service interoperability issues consistent with Joint and Service doctrine. Huh? What? Well, that was his job.
The Legion of Merit is a military award of the United States Armed Forces that is given for exceptionally meritorious conduct in the performance of outstanding services and achievements. Gordon received FIVE Legions of Merit.
During his 30 years of Army service, he worked with Gen. William Westmoreland (commander of U.S. forces during Vietnam) and Gen. Alexander Haig (ultimately Secretary of State for President Ronald Reagan) and President Richard Nixon, to name a few of the notables.
Then he retired. Sort of.
Gordon was wooed by The Boeing Company and for the next 20 years, worked for them, first in Seattle and then in Brussels, Belgium, where he served as Vice President of Boeing International/Europe.
As he reflects on the things he has accomplished in his life, he says, “It came to me that in each case, someone was beside me, aiding, guiding, pushing me on. When I further thought about those persons and circumstances, it came to me that it was not me or them, but God at work in my life.”
Gordon and his wife Janice (of 47 years) are Rainbirds, living six months each in both Washington and Arizona. They are active members of the First Baptist Church of Sun Lakes. Gordon is also a member of the Sons of the American Revolution.