Walter Gordon was born in Jackson, Mississippi on 15 April 1920, and he attended Millsaps College from 1940 to 1942. He was rejected from the US Marine Corps and US Navy for being colorblind, so he faked his way through the US Army eye test to enlist in the US 506th Infantry Regiment. He served in Easy Company, 2nd Battalion as a machine-gunner, and he was wounded in the arm and shoulder at the Battle of Carentan. He later fought in Operation Market Garden and the Battle of the Bulge, and he was paralyzed by a German sniper on 27 December 1945. He later regained his body movements but suffered back pain for the rest of his life, and he became an oil and gas lease broker in Lafayette, Louisiana. He died from a stroke in Pass Christian, Mississippi in 1997 at the age of 77.