James Gordon -Homeless, Abandoned Marine Recruit Epitomizes USMC Motto

By Faye Higbee

Tampa, Florida: The Marine Corps Motto, “Improvise, Adapt, Overcome” is something James Gordon, 18, actually lived in his journey to become a US Marine.

Last December, he met with USMC recruiter Sgt Donald Rich at the Brandon Station near Tampa, Florida. There he enlisted in the Corps with a boot camp ship out date immediately after his graduation from Riverview High School. But suddenly, just a few weeks before graduation, something went terribly wrong.

James Gordon was adopted by a family from Jamaica at the age of 3. They came to the United States a few years ago. About a month before he was due to graduate, his father decided he could no longer live at the home and took all of James’ belongings and dumped them at the Brandon recruiting station.

” He’s not staying in my house, he can move to a hotel … He’s your guys’ problem now. You guys figure out what to do with him.” James’ adoptive father.

By all accounts, James Gordon is a fine student, holding a nearly 4.0 grade pt average. He was a student assistant in the school office and was well-liked by teachers and staff. Staff said he was always willing to help out.

One of the recruiters, GySgt. Cheops Dieujuste told the Marine Corps Times that he had a “lengthy conversation” with the father, to no avail. Now I don’t know about you, but having a GySgt hold a “lengthy conversation” with a parent would normally strike a little …uh…trepidation in the man’s heart. But he refused to budge.

The father paid for 3 nights in a hotel for James to stay. But with a month left before graduation and his ship out date, he had nowhere to go.

The Marine Corps Brotherhood

The Marine Corps Times reported,

The recruiters at the Brandon station started shelling money out of their own pockets to keep Gordon in the hotel and even drove him back and forth to school every day.

Dieujuste says his wife cooked food for Gordon and they helped him with groceries.

A local Tampa charity, dubbed Marine Families, also pitched in to ensure Gordon had food and shelter before heading to recruit training.

Cyd Deathe, the founder and executive director of the Marine charity, told Marine Corps Times that the organization helped negotiate an extended stay rate at the hotel for Gordon, and in less than 24 hours they raised more than $2,000 to help cover lodging and food costs.

James Gordon shipped out Monday, June 3, to his new life in the Corps at Parris Island. Will he remember the amazing brotherhood that helped him? Very likely. His job in the Corps falls under service management.

Being thrown out of your home, having all your belongings dumped on the ground, pales in comparison to the challenges ahead for James Gordon. But we wish him the very best, and the group that helped him make it to ship out day promises to keep in touch.

Semper Fi, James Gordon, we wish you the very best.