Marine Silver Star Recipient Honored by Military History Institute

Today marks the 20th anniversary of the combat death of Major Richard Gannon, who received the Silver Star for Gallantry for the actions resulting in his death. Marine Hero will be honored in Escondido with the dedication of a statue at Escondido City Hall.

Marine Silver Star Recipient Honored by Military History Institute
Escondido, CA, April 17, 2024 --( Today the city of Escondido will unveil a bronze bust of former resident and hometown hero Richard J. Gannon. Born and raised in Escondido, Gannon was killed in combat in Iraq in 2004 while giving aid to a wounded Marine. He was posthumously awarded the Purple Heart and the Silver Star for his bravery and gallantry in action. The date marks the 20th anniversary of his death.

Gannon who was married to his high school sweetheart Sally, also an Escondido native, was a company commander in the 3rd Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division out of Twentynine Palms. Gannon attended Cornell University on a Navy scholarship and received his commission as a Marine officer in 1995.

Military service is a tradition in the Gannon family. His father Richard, another Escondido local, is a Marine who survived the Tet Offensive in North Vietnam in 1968. A recipient of the Bronze Star for gallantry in combat himself, Rich lives in Escondido with his wife Theresa.

After the invasion of Iraq in 2003, Gannon told his family that the fighting he saw was not as intense as what his father encountered in Vietnam, but, he said, “I have learned to face my own fear of dying.”

“He was a very goal-oriented person, but he matured beyond achievement,” his father said. “He was an exemplary leader ... When he was with you, he was present, which is a very rare quality with young people.”

The bust will be gifted to the city by the Military History Institute, an organization that promotes US military heroism. The bust has special meaning for the director of the institute, former Marine Major and local North County resident, Craig Gottlieb.

“Rick was my roommate at Cornell and at The Basic School. He was a salt-of-the-earth Marine and a good friend,” Gottlieb said. Other Marines call Gannon “tougher than a two-dollar steak.”

Gannon is buried at Ft. Rosecrans National Cemetery in Point Loma, California. In addition to his parents, he is survived by his wife Sally, and their three children.

The bust was created from photographs of Gannon by renowned sculpture Dave Venell of Phoenix, Arizona. Venell, who specializes in art depicting military history, jumped at the chance to honor Gannon.

In addition to his mother and father, Gannon was survived by his wife, Sally, and four children - Connor, Patrick (now deceased), Richard III and Maria.

Two duplicate busts will be created by the artist and donated to Cornell University and the Marine Corps Museum in Quantico, VA. To donate, click here.
Military History Institute
Craig Gottlieb