We are saddened by the passing of Mike Gorman, crew chief in Air Cavalry Troop during Vietnam. The eulogy below was given by Doc Bahnsen at the request of Mike’s daughter, Kimberly.
In Memory of Mike Gorman by Doc Bahnsen
The first time I met Mike he was smiling and the last time I saw him he had the same smile. Mike was my crew chief when I reported to the Air Cavalry Troop, 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment in Sep 1968. He flew with me every day until he was seriously wounded on 23 Jan 1969 sitting behind me in our UH-1. I believe that the enemy soldiers that shot at us that day were aiming at me and hit Mike. Mike survived being shot but was paralyzed from the waist down for the rest of his life.
Every time I talked to him after that he always told me that he would do what he did all over again. I am certain he had regrets as to his condition, but he never uttered a discouraging comment about his lot in life. He accepted his condition and lived fully with his disability. He worked in the VA helping other veterans with their disabilities and was a source of inspiration to everyone who knew him.
I visited Mike one time in his home town in Vermont. He lived by himself in a cabin in the woods and was totally independent. He could get in and out of his truck and into his wheel chair without help. The restaurant we dined at that evening was like a family to him; everyone knew him and talked to him with obvious affection. Mike made friends wherever he traveled.
Mike was also a great friend to several of his fellow soldiers paying their way to reunions and helping them when they needed help.
During our time in combat I am certain that Mike questioned some of the decisions I made in flying and commanding Air Cavalry Troop, but he loyally did his duty, kept our helicopter flying, and rode into the storm with me and the rest of our crew. We took a lot of rounds in our helicopter and we saw the enemy up close and personal. Mike never wavered in his performance of his duty.
Mike’s pride and joy was his daughter Kimberly and her children. He always updated me about them when we wrote or talked.
Mike and I had our last conversation on the telephone when I called him to inform him of Mike Bates death in early Feb this year. He told me his body was failing and that he would not be far behind Mr Bates. I asked him to hang on until I could see him in May. It was not to be. He told me that he was at peace with himself and that his Catholic faith was reassuring to him. He told me he had beat all the odds for over 41 years and that it had been a good life.
He was able to see his daughter grow up, get married and have children and those things were important. He loved his service in the 11th ACR and counted his friends from that unit as his closest.
Mike was a superb soldier, a caring, loyal friend, a loving Father, and a true American Patriot. He was proud of his service in the Army and everyone who knew him felt that pride. Mike made a lot of the 11th ACR’s reunions and was an outgoing, warm friend to all who got to know him.
I will miss his smile and his positive approach to life. He was a loyal soldier in combat and in peacetime and was my friend.