Ever since Marine Capt. Lyle Gordon was a kid growing up in the small North Texas town of Midlothian, he had dreams of flying high and fast.
As a thrill-seeking youngster, he must have watched the 1980s fighter pilot movie 'Top Gun' hundreds of times, his mother, Mary Gordon, recalls.
"I'm gonna fly, I'm gonna fly," she said. "That's all he ever wanted."
Most recently, Gordon had visions of one day blending his loves of flying and animals by owning a horse ranch. There, his piloting skills would come in handy, as he could fly high above his sprawling dream ranch while getting a bird's-eye view of his herd.
The Texas A&M University graduate was killed in a helicopter crash in Iraq on January 26, 2005. Gordon was one of 31 service members who died when a CH-53E Super Stallion went down in a sandstorm in Ar Rutbah.
Gordon's family said Friday they take comfort in knowing he was fulfilling his dream of serving as a pilot in the military. Finding the good in any situation is a lesson they learned from him.
"He was always happy no matter what," Mary Gordon said. "He could find something to laugh about in almost any situation."
Gordon graduated from Midlothian High School in 1993 and earned a bachelor's degree in animal science from Texas A&M in December 1999.
He has always wanted to attend the university and proud to be a member of Corps of Cadets Company E-2, the outfit in charge of caring for A&M's canine mascot, Reveille.
"He said, 'If I'm not in E-2, then I'm not in the Corps," his mother said. "That's the kind of person he was. He had a direction. He knew exactly what he wanted. He didn't care if anyone followed him. He was going to do it."
Before going to Officer Candidates School, Gordon made one last trip to the Bryan-College Station area to say goodbye to old college buddies. It was then that he net his wife-to-be, Kaci Yates, Class of 2000. The two corresponded through letters before getting married in 2002.
While in Iraq at Christmastime, Gordon helped deliver more than 100 packages to soldiers. People in his hometown had gathered to make care packages, which then were sent to Gordon. He, in return, dispersed them to soldiers who lacked much correspondence from home.
"He was always getting some package from us, but he also knew there were a lot of boys over there that never heard from anyone," Mary Gordon said. "He just wanted to bring some joy to them."
Gordon's time overseras was nearing an end. He was due to return home in March, his mother said.
"But instead, he went to his final home," she said. "We are blessed that he wasn't sent home an invalid with a body he couldn't use and an angry young man. We feel that God blessed us by that."
We Have Every Right To Dream Heroic Dreams.
Thosse Who Say That We're In A Time When There Are No Heroes,
They Just Don't Know Where To Look.
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