Gordon Paige was born in 1944 in California. He enlisted in the U.S. Navy on July 14, 1961, and entered Naval Aviation Cadet training on November 27, 1963, earning his commission as an Ensign and designation as a Naval Aviator in July 1965. His first assignment was as an instructor pilot with VT-25 at NAS Chase Field, Texas, from August 1965 to October 1966, followed by F-8 Crusader Replacement Air Group training with VF-124 at NAS Miramar, California, from October 1966 to January 1967. LT Paige served as an RF-8 pilot with VFP-63 from January 1967 to September 1969, and during this time he deployed with his unit to Southeast Asia from August 1967 to January 1968. He next served with the 5th Special Operations Squadron from September 1969 to August 1971, followed by service as an RF-8 pilot back with VFP-63 from August 1971 until he was forced to eject over North Vietnam and was taken as a Prisoner of War on July 22, 1972. After spending 251 days in captivity, LCDR Paige was released during Operation Homecoming on March 29, 1973. He was briefly hospitalized to recover from his injuries, and then attended the Naval Postgraduate School at Monterey, California, from August 1973 to July 1976. CDR Paige returned to VFP-63 as an RF-8 pilot from July 1976 to June 1979, followed by service with Commander Air Forces Pacific from June 1979 to July 1982. His final assignment was with Naval Air Systems Command at the Pentagon from July 1982 until his retirement from the Navy on September 1, 1985.
His 2nd Bronze Star w/Valor Citation reads:
For meritorious service as a Prisoner of War in North Vietnam from July 1972 to March 1973. By his diligent efforts, exceptional leadership, devotion and loyalty to the United States, and under the most adverse of conditions, he resisted all attempts by the North Vietnamese to use him in causes detrimental to the United States. While in daily contact with the North Vietnamese guards and officers, he performed duties in staff positions, maintaining good order and discipline among the prisoners. Under constant harassment from their captors, and due to the frustrations of the prisoners during their long internment, many difficult situations arose, requiring perseverance, endurance and ingenuity. Using his extraordinary courage, resourcefulness, and sound judgement, he reflected great credit upon himself and upheld the highest traditions of the Naval Service and the United States Armed Forces.
The Combat Distinguishing Device is authorized.