Gorman was sought out by Weyland-Yutani representative Carter Burke to lead an operation to investigate the terraforming colony Hadley's Hope, with which contact had been lost; unbeknownst to Gorman, Burke had specifically arranged for the inexperienced Lieutenant (Gorman had only a single combat operation to his name at the time) to be placed in command of the mission.
One of Gorman's first duties was to assist Burke in the recruitment of Ellen Ripley, the sole survivor of the USCSS Nostromo's encounter with a Xenomorph lifeform on LV-426 57 years previously. She reluctantly agreed after a while.
After enlisting Ripley, Gorman and the men posted under his command set out for the colony on board the USS Sulaco. Because of his inexperience he couldn´t handle the Xenomorphs as he should have and became traumatized.
He recovered and blew himself up together with Vazquez to prevent both of them from being caught by the Aliens.