On today, his birthday, Behind the Gun is going to tell you about Gerard Gutierrez as we celebrate his service, and also his birthday. Gutierrez, or “Gute” (like GOOT), fought in Mogadishu on Oct.3rd and 4th as a SAW gunner with 3rd Platoon C CO. 1-87 IN, and was wounded during the Battle of Mogadishu.
Gute joined the Army in 1990 at the outbreak of the 1st Gulf War, a theme you’ll see repeated amongst many of the soldiers mentioned in this book. Like the rest of us in 1-87, Gute deployed to the NTC as well as the Hurricane Andrew Relief prior to going to Somalia. After spending time as an M60 gunner in 3rd platoon, LT Brian Puckett made Gute his RTO some time prior to deploying to Somalia.
In August as 3rd platoon prepared to deploy to replace a group of MP’s, they learned the details of their role; they would serve as mounted infantry in a QRF (Quick Reaction Force) capacity in Mogadishu, while attached to 2-14 IN. Since Gute was the LT’s RTO and he didn’t have a driver’s license (he had never bought a car, so he never bothered getting one), he was sent back to a squad in the platoon as a SAW gunner with Allen, Lagana and Houston with Sgt. Nanny as their squad leader.
When 3rd platoon arrived in Mogadishu in August of 1993, they were given several HMMWV’s (Humvees) that had “MP” (Military Police) marked on the back. After SSG Gibbs got pretty vocal sharing his dismay he had for having to ride in HMMWV’s marked with MP, Gute suggested they could make stencils and paint the vehicles to signify they were infantry. Since none of them wanted to be confused with being POG’s, they implemented Gute’s idea and painted each vehicle with new markings; “C CO. 1/87 INFANTRY”.
In one of Gute’s earlier missions in the Mog, he had narrowly escaped having his head removed by an RPG after observing several 2-14 soldiers maneuvering in front of him. He opened fire with the M60 on his vehicle in response as a SSG from 2-14 directed his fire until the rest of the 2-14 elements were out of harm’s way. After this firefight, his first, he remembers the unreal amount of adrenaline and the sense of complete invincibility that almost every combat infantryman feels when they survive a firefight unscathed, especially their first. His short lived sense of invulnerability was about to be shattered.
After Rossman’s squad fought in the September 25th battle and took two casualties, Gute was ironically tasked with cleaning the blood from the vehicles as well as cleaning the blood from our brother Poncho’s gear while Poncho was in surgery and ultimately evacuated. As he cleaned the back of the vehicle, he picked up a loose 7.62 round and pressed it against his skin, trying to imagine what Poncho and Archibald had felt when they were hit. He kept that bullet with him.
On October 3rd, C CO fought alongside of 2-14 as they pushed toward the trapped elements of TF Ranger. After finally securing their section of an evacuation route, Gute recalls the fighting slowing down slightly as they listened to the little birds making their runs. At around midnight, Gute recalls linking up with several of the trapped Rangers and word was given to move out.
As Gute got up and rounded the back of the vehicle, he suddenly could see his own hands and feet fly up, as his SAW flew from his hands as he found himself flat on his back. After the initial blow, he felt no pain as he lay there wondering if he was dying, or if he would be paralyzed like our brother Poncho. As Doc Foley began working to stabilize Gute’s wounds, Gute called for his father who had passed away when Gute was just 10 years old. As Foley worked quickly and calmly to save Gute’s life, Arthur Huston stood over Gute as he laid down suppressive fire in the alleyway the shots were coming from. Like Poncho, Gute also had a neck wound.
Gute choked on his blood as he tried in vain to tell Huston that the brass was burning his chest. SGT Nanny , Doc Foley and Huston flagged down a medic vehicle and Gute was taken to an evac point where he was flown to the field hospital. He recalls lying there naked after they had cut his BDU’s off, as the Pakistani soldier’s walked past him carrying pitchers of water. The last thing he recalls is being taken into the field hospital and the doctor saying Gute required surgery immediately. He woke up not knowing what day it was with a tube protruding from his neck.
Shortly after being evacuated to Germany, he wasn’t sure how much time had passed, Gute was infuriated at the scenes on CNN; our dead being dragged through the streets of Mogadishu. By now, the US had reversed it’s earlier decision to not send armor to Somalia to provide cover for the infantry and Gut’s brother, also in the military, had volunteered to go with the first shipment of armor in hopes of seeing Gute in the field hospital. However, they had crossed paths and by the time Gut’s brother made it to Germany, Gute was in Washington D.C.. Gute’s brother then tried to catch up with him in D.C. and their planes literally crossed each other’s paths on the runway. Another miss.
Eventually Gute made it to his home state of Texas, where he was able to finally meet up with his brother and family. Before too long, he even met up with Poncho as the two recovered, each with a wound to the neck. However, Gute was lucky that he had no paralysis and both were lucky to be alive.
Gutierrez is now a police detective in Texas and has a beautiful, happy and caring family. As a policemen, he is still giving to his country and his community and in an age where the actions of the police are constantly scrutinized, all I need do is think of him and my other Brothers who now serve as policemen and I know everything is ok.
Come read about Gute and scores of amazing soldiers and learn our untold story firsthand in “Behind the Gun”.
Happy birthday from your brothers, Gerard and thank you.
“TO THE TOP!”
Copyright© Bravo Charles/Steve Slane & Behind the Gun 1993-2016