Kelly, K’huna, and Gordy at his home in Eagle Mountain, Utah
I met Gordy for the first time at Brandon’s Ride in 2007. A presenter at the pre-ride introduced him and gave a lengthy description of his distinguished military career. I was impressed to say the very least! I knew then I had to meet him, shake his hand, and thank him for his service. The crowd and start of the ride shot down my opportunity to get to him that morning.
During the ride, I wondered if I may not get another opportunity since I knew he didn’t participate in the ride itself. I had no idea whether he lived in the area or if our paths would ever cross again.
At the end of the ride was a planned lunch at Golden Corral Restaurant where the large group of bikers managed to fill to close to capacity. After I overloaded a plate of food and sat down, I was glad to see MSGT Ewell and his family just a few tables away from ours. I didn’t want to interrupt his meal with his family but I didn’t want to miss the chance once again to shake this fine soldiers hand. I have to say, I don’t get intimidated easy but after hearing his list of accomplishments and missions, I definitely felt intimidated then.
I got up, walked over to his table and apologized for the interruption but I wanted to introduce myself and thank him for his service. He stood up and I shook his hand and said “MSGT Ewell, I’m K’huna, the Utah State Captain of the Patriot Guard Riders and it’s a real honor to meet you, thank you for your service.” OK, truth is he never let me get that far. As soon as I got out my initial introduction, he turned it around on me and started telling me how honored he was to meet me. I thought maybe he misheard what I said. I felt embarrassed that I must have mistakenly led him to believe I was someone else. Surely, he should have known it was my honor to be meeting him but this great soldier was acting as if he was meeting the President. He immediately introduced me to his family and he asked me if he could please get a picture with me, then another with his family, and another with everyone from my table.
I was more than a bit stunned when he introduced me to his family correctly as the State Captain of the PGR. There was no mistake, that’s just the man Gordy is. He shows great respect for others, in my case, much more than I deserved but it left a lasting impression on me. Our paths have crossed many times since then and I am truly honored to call him a friend.
His story is much more than I can recall in full details and anything less would be an injustice to this respected soldier so the following came from Gordy’s Dung in My Foxhole Website bio page. Like I said, his accomplishments are many so this is long but please read it all. Anything less would be a disservice to this fine hero:
Master Sergeant (MSG) Gordon L. Ewellwas born on June 8th, 1967 and graduated from Emery County High School in May 1985. He joined the Utah Army National Guard on August 28, 1985 with initial assignment to the 1457th Engineer Battalion as a radio telegraph operator. In August 1991, he
transitioned to the Active Guard Reserve program, with Delta Company, of the 1457th Engineer Battalion and changed course to become a Combat Engineer and demolition specialist.
His 24 year career has been marked with distinction through notable accomplishments that render him an excellent example for other Soldiers to follow.
Throughout his outstanding military career he has served in key positions as Training and Administration Specialist, Supply Sergeant, Combat Engineer Squad Leader and Personnel Section Sergeant.
From Master Sergeant (MSG) Gordon L Ewell’s initial entry into Military Service, his superiors recognized his outstanding initiative and a deep care for his fellow Soldiers. He has been recognized as one who would do whatever it takes to accomplish the mission, or help a fellow Soldier in need.
MSG Ewell has graduated from over 30 Army Resident Schools; graduating as the Honor Graduate, or in the top 10% of his class, from nearly every one of them.
He completed, with a “Superior” rating, over 1,000 hours of Army Correspondence Training. Additionally, he earned an Associate of Science degree in April of 1999.
Ewell was mobilized as part of the 115th Engineering Group as one of 40 individuals chosen to become part of the first Explosive Hazard Coordination Cell in Iraq. As a Combat Engineer, Ewell served in the route clearance section of the team, and was sent to units around Iraq to teach them how to hunt for, find, and–in many cases– detonate IED’s (Improvised Explosive Devices) before they could hurt others. In December 2005, Ewell received his marching orders. The outgoing commander of the Multi-National Corps told Ewell to “take care of” his soldiers. Ewell said he took that directive to heart and it kept him going — in his words, “maybe longer than I should have.”
During his year in Iraq, MSG Ewell performed 59 challenging and dangerous missions; which involved both the coordination of Convoy Route Clearance and Route Clearance Observation missions, based upon his knowledge and expertise in these areas. He calls this stint his “year of living in the limelight,” a play on words evoking the green-tinged view through a soldier’s night vision goggles. He led dozens of night missions, driving five miles an hour down the most dangerous roadways in Iraq, looking for disguised IEDs. It was not unusual to find many IEDs every night or to be engaged by the enemy four or five times each night. At the time there were over 3,100 bomb incidents every month!
MSG Ewell was vital in the creation of the very first Route Clearance Handbook and was further recognized by the Corps staff as the Multi-National Corps “Subject Matter Expert,” in Route Clearance. His lessons learned in Iraq have been published in many Army periodicals.
MSG Ewell led over 33% of the missions he was on in Iraq. He was recognized by his superiors to be unparalleled in his physical stamina and toughness complemented with superior technical and tactical capabilities. This was clearly demonstrated on the battlefield when his efforts under heavy enemy fire were unrivaled, which earned him the Bronze Star Medal, the Purple Heart Medal, and the Combat Action Badge. Part of his Bronze Star Citation reads “His observations and attention to detail while on Route Clearance Missions… ultimately led to the preservation of Soldiers’ lives. He demonstrated personal courage and conviction on multiple occasions by continually performing his duties while under enemy attack.”
During his Combat Missions, on six separate occasions, a vehicle he was in was blown-up by Improvised Explosive Devices (IED’s). One of the explosions was so powerful that it blew impacted wisdom teeth out the side of his jaw. In addition to major jaw damage, he suffers from broken vertebrae in his neck, damage to his lower spine and permanent loss of hearing (leaving him legally deaf). He further suffered the anatomical loss of his right eye and peripheral/bi-lateral vision loss in his left eye, leaving him legally blind; as well as suffering from the results of a severe Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI), Flaccid Neurologic Bladder, loss of balance, an abnormal gait, and is fighting to overcome Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).
MSG Ewell returned from combat duty in December 2006, and was assigned to the 640th Regiment (Regional Training Institute). Because of the severity of the combat injuries he sustained while at war in Iraq, he was Medically Retired from the U.S. Army, on February 02nd, 2010.
His “Medical Journey” to date includes six major surgeries, treatment at eight different hospitals, in three different states, by over 47 different Doctors, Surgeons, Specialists and other health care professionals; not counting the more than a dozen different Dentists, Endodontists, Oral Surgeons, and other Dental Specialists.
Though permanently disabled he continues to fight. In what he refers to, for those severely wounded in combat, as “The War after the War.” Ewell is once again using his expertise and drawing upon his personal experiences from his own “Recovery Road,” to help other severely wounded Soldiers get through some extremely tough and difficult phases of recovery and healing as he visits with them in hospitals across the country. He still fights his own personal battles and demons from war every day, day after day.
As a Guest Speaker Ewell is very motivating, inspirational and down to earth. He covers a wide variety of topics like Perseverance, Faith and Hope, Courage, Patriotism, Flag Edicate, and Volunteerism.
He reminds us that there is price for freedom being paid every day, by the severely wounded, long after the wars they so bravely fought in have ended.
He reminds us not to forget these thousands of courageous heroes as they continue their fight; their “War After the War!”
He reminds us that there are still thousands of American servicemen and women in harm’s way every day, still fighting the War on Terrorism, who need our prayers and support.
Today, though he is 100% disabled, he continues to serve with distinction, as a Board Member of Hand in Hand Outdoors, as a Volunteer at the George E. Wahlen V.A. Hospital in Salt Lake City, with the Veterans of Foreign Wars, the Disabled American Veterans, the American Legion, the Military Order of the Purple Heart, the American Legion, and as a Kentucky Colonel.
The retired Master Sergeant currently resides in Eagle Mountain, Utah. He enjoys public speaking, writing, and helping other veterans, volunteering and… LIFE!
Military Awards and Decorations:
Bronze Star Medal
Purple Heart Medal
Meritorious Service Medal
Army Commendation Medal (with Bronze Oak Leaf)
Army Achievement Medal
Army Good Conduct Medal (with 6 Bronze Knots)
Army Reserve Components Achievement Medal (with 3 Bronze Oak Leafs)
National Defense Service Medal (with Bronze Star)
Iraq Campaign Medal (with Campaign Star)
Global War on Terrorism Service Medal
Armed Forces Reserve Medal (with “M” Devise and Silver Hourglass)
NCO Professional Development Ribbon, (3rd Award)
Army Service Ribbon
Overseas Service Ribbon
Army Reserve Components Overseas Training Ribbon (3rd Award)
Combat Action Badge
Diver and Mechanic Badge (with wheeled vehicle clasp)
Sharpshooter Weapon Marksmanship Badge
Utah Commendation Medal (3rd award)
Utah 2002 Olympic Winter Games Service Ribbon
Utah Emergency Service Ribbon
Utah Achievement Ribbon
Utah Recruiting Ribbon
Utah Service Ribbon
Joint Meritorious Unit Award
Army Superior Unit Award
Noteworthy Civilian Achievements
His Book “A Lifetime at War” received a Prestigious “Eric Hoffer” award for Excellence in Literature for the the Year in 2015.
Was humbled to be presented with the prestigious Myers Evergreen Memorial Park’s, ANNUAL HUMANITARIAN AWARD, in recognition and appreciation of Outstanding Service to the community and the country, on Memorial Day, of 2014.
Honored as one of eleven veterans from four different wars (WWII, Korea, Vietnam & Iraq), by the University of Utah, for their contributions to freedom. Ewell was the lone veteran, of the eleven, representing the current “War on Terrorism” in Iraq or Afghanistan and the First “Post Vietnam” era veteran to be commemorated. The prestigious ceremony took place at the University on November 09th, 2012, with full military customs and honors.
Presented the key to the city of Leitchfield, Kentucky, by Honorable Mayor William H. Thomason on August the 12th, 2012.
Commissioned as a Kentucky Colonel by the Honorable Governor Steven L. Beshear, and the Honorable Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes, of the Commonwealth of Kentucky, on August the 10th, 2012 (the 221 year of the Commonwealth).
Made an Honorable Duke of the city of Paducha, Kentucky by Honorable Mayor Hardy Gentry on August the 10th, 2012.
Was honored to be made an Honorary Member of Rotary International, with membership in the Park City, Utah Sunrise Club on August 15th, 2011.
Elected as the Senior Vice Commander of his Disabled American Veterans Section, Wasatch One, Utah (August 03rd, 2011 and again in July of 2012).
Was one of six people from Utah selected to hand stitch the Utah section onto the National 9/11 Flag that now resides at the museum at Ground Zero as a National Memorial and Treasure (in July, 2011).
Selected as Vice President of the Blue Star Riders, Honoring and Helping our Nations Hospitalized Service members, Veterans and their Families and supporting causes that help all our Wounded and Fallen Heroes and support them (September 2010).
Presented The State of Utah Department of Public Safety Executive Award of Merit: In recognition and appreciation of extraordinary service and outstanding contributions on behalf of the citizens of Utah, on May 15th, 2008.
Awarded the City of Eagle Mountain’s, Outstanding Citizenship Award, on November 14th, 2007.
His most treasured Titles and Accomplishments are: Father, Son, Brother, Mason, Friend, Patriot, Veteran, Author, Volunteer and Kentucky Colonel.