SSgt Bordelon was a native of San Antonio, Texas. On 10 December 1941, he enlisted in the Marine Corps. He completed recruit training at Marine Corps Base, San Diego, and was assigned to Co. D, 2d Engineer Battalion, 2d Marine Division, then stationed at San Diego. He was promoted to sergeant on 10 July 1942 and was later assigned to Co. C, 18th Marines.
On 20 October 1942 Sergeant Bordelon embarked with his unit at San Diego and sailed into the Pacific. Arriving at Wellington, New Zealand, on 9 November the 2d Division remained there for about six weeks before "shoving off" again for Guadalcanal. He served in combat there from 4 January to 19 February 1943, and then returned to New Zealand via the USS President Adams.
The following months were spent in reorganizing, recuperation, and preparation of the next campaign. Sergeant Bordelon was promoted to staff sergeant on 13 May 1943. He was transferred to Co. A, 1st Battalion 18th Marines on 10 October and one week later, boarded the USS Zeilin. Following exercises, and a slow sea voyage, the Zeilen arrived off Tarawa on D-Day, 20 November 1943.
SSgt Bordelon's Medal of Honor citation follows:
For valorous and gallant conduct above and beyond the call of duty as a member of an assault engineer platoon of the 1st Battalion, 18th Marines, tactically attached to the 2d Marine Division, in action against the Japanese-held atoll of Tarawa in the Gilbert Islands on 20 November 1943. Landing in the assault waves under withering enemy fire which killed all but 4 of the men in his tractor, S/Sgt. Bordelon hurriedly made demolition charges and personally put 2 pillboxes out of action. Hit by enemy machinegun fire just as a charge exploded in his hand while assaulting a third position, he courageously remained in action and, although out of demolition, provided himself with a rifle and furnished fire coverage for a group of men scaling the seawall. Disregarding his own serious condition, he unhesitatingly went to the aid of one of his demolition men, wounded and calling for help in the water, rescuing this man and another who had been hit by enemy fire while attempting to make the rescue. Still refusing first aid for himself, he again made up demolition charges and single-handedly assaulted a fourth Japanese machinegun position but was instantly killed when caught in a final burst of fire from the enemy. S/Sgt. Bordelon's great personal valor during a critical phase of securing the limited beachhead was a contributing factor in the ultimate occupation of the island, and his heroic determination throughout 3 days of violent battle reflects the highest credit upon the U.S. Naval Service. He gallantly gave his life for his country.
SSgt Bordelon was 22 years old when he died on 20 November 1943. He is buried at the Fort Sam Houston National Cemetery in San Antonio, Texas.
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