Sterling, Gordon Herbert, Jr., 2nd Lt

 Service Photo   Service Details
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Last Rank
Second Lieutenant
Last Primary AFSC/MOS
AAF MOS 1055-Pilot, Single-Engine Fighter
Last AFSC Group
Pilot (Officer)
Primary Unit
1941-1941, AAF MOS 1055, 15th Pursuit Group, Fighter
Service Years
1940 - 1941
USAAFOfficer Collar Insignia
Second Lieutenant

 Last Photo   Personal Details 

2372 kb

Home State
New York
New York
Year of Birth
This Military Service Page was created/owned by SSgt Robert Bruce McClelland, Jr. to remember Sterling, Gordon Herbert, Jr., 2nd Lt.

If you knew or served with this Airman and have additional information or photos to support this Page, please leave a message for the Page Administrator(s) HERE.
Casualty Info
Home Town
Ilion/Syracuse, New York
Last Address
Wheeler Field, Oahu, Territory of Hawaii

Casualty Date
Dec 07, 1941
Hostile, Died while Missing
Air Loss, Crash - Sea
World War II
Location of Interment
Courts of the Missing at the Honolulu Memorial - Honolulu, Hawaii
Wall/Plot Coordinates
Court 5

 Official Badges 

 Unofficial Badges 

Pearl Harbor Memorial Medallion

 Military Associations and Other Affiliations
World War II FallenPearl Harbor Fallen
  1941, World War II Fallen
  1941, Pearl Harbor Fallen

 Photo Album   (More...

 Ribbon Bar

Pilot Badge

 Unit Assignments/ Advancement Schools
Aviation Cadet Flight School46th Pursuit Squadron, Fighter15th Pursuit Group, Fighter
  1940-1941, AAF MOS 629, Aviation Cadet Flight School
  1941-1941, AAF MOS 1055, 46th Pursuit Squadron, Fighter
  1941-1941, AAF MOS 1055, 15th Pursuit Group, Fighter
 Combat and Non-Combat Operations
  1941-1941 Central Pacific Campaign (1941-43)/Attack on Pearl Harbor
 Colleges Attended 
Trinity College, Hartford Connecticut
  1937-1939, Trinity College, Hartford Connecticut
 My Aircraft/Missiles
P-36 Hawk  
  1941-1941, P-36 Hawk
 Additional Information
Last Known Activity

2nd Lt. Gordon Sterling was stationed at Wheeler AB with the 46th Pursuit Squadron, 15th Pursuit Group, and was the assistant flight engineer for the squadron, only recently passing his flight tests.
When he boarded the P-36, his words were, "Give this to my mother! I'm not coming back!" as he gave his watch to the crew chief. Shortly, he was on one Zero's tail when he was jumped by a Zero group leader, Fujita, who in turn was being fired upon by a P-36 flown by the squadron commander, 1st Lt. Lewis Sanders. 
When the attack on the Island began, he joined a small group of aircraft to confront the Japanese over Kaneohe. He was shot down off Kaneohe Bay in the midst of a dog-fight with a Japanese aircraft. His aircraft received multiple bullets, caught fire, and crashed into Kaneohe Bay. He was credited with shooting down the Zero he was pursuing.
Neither he nor his aircraft were ever found.
A memorial was placed in Arlington National Cemetery in his honor.
He had attended and graduated from the Advanced Flying School, Maxwell Field, Montgomery, Alabama in May 1941.

Book: Pearl Harbor, from Infamy to Greatness, by  Craig Nelson, Scribner, 2016, p310.

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