Milwaukee, Wisconsin: 1976. 8 ½” x 5¼”. Stapled self wrappers. pp. . Near fine with light edge wear and a hint of toning at extremities.
This is a program for an event honoring Grant Gordon, an African American educator with a significant military record. Gordon grew up in Beloit, Illinois and graduated from Milwaukee State Teachers College in 1940. In addition to being the first-ever African American school principal in Milwaukee, he was a 1st Lieutenant platoon leader of the 320th Barrage Balloon Bn. (VLA)(Colored). Not only was the 320th the first barrage balloon unit it France, it was the only African American unit to come ashore on D-Day. Battery A of the unit was assigned to the 1st Division at Omaha, while Battery C was assigned to the 4th Division on Utah—making them one of very few units assigned to both beaches. According to Grant's Separation Qualification Record he was “responsible for morale, discipline, training, administration, and tactical employment of the 66 enlisted personnel of his platoon. In combat, was responsible for obtaining supplies for his platoon.” Gordon's captain recommended him for a Bronze Star, which he did not receive, commenting:
“Lieutenant Gordon landed with his platoon on Omaha Beach, France 7 June 1944 under heavy enemy artillery fire, and proceeded at once to organize his platoon along per-determined plans. Since the platoon landed from 15 different crafts, as enemy fire permitted, he had to contact each group as it arrived and escort it to the rendezvous area . . . it was necessary for him to expose himself constantly to enemy fire during the landing operation in order to contact the various squads . . . his platoon took over the defense of the first airstrip to be located in France by Allied forces, which was used principally to fly in ammunition during the critical early hours, and to fly out wounded.”
The program lists Gordon's accomplishments as well as the order of events for the dinner and its menu. Item #3996