Army Staff Sgt. David H. Gutierrez
35, of San Francisco; assigned to 2nd Battalion, 1st Infantry Regiment, 5th Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division, Fort Lewis, Wash.; died Dec. 25 at Kandahar Air Field, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered when insurgents attacked his dismounted patrol with an improvised explosive device in Howz-e Madad.
(The following is taken from www.gilroydispatch.com of Dec. 28, 2009) Army Staff Sgt. David H. Gutierrez, 35, a father of three with family ties to Gilroy, died in Afghanistan on Christmas Day, killed by a hidden roadside bomb.
He will be buried in Gilroy alongside his daughter who died silently at birth from a rare disease in 2008. The funeral is scheduled for Thursday, Jan. 7 at 10 a.m. at St. Mary's Catholic Church, followed by the burial and his military ceremony.
"David had so many wonderful qualities, I don't want to leave a single one out," his wife, Patty, said Monday night - the date of their 13th anniversary - from Fort Lewis in Washington state.
"He was a very good man, very comforting. All he had to do was open up his arms, so I could fall in and I knew things would be alright. He was my go-to guy, and it was the same way in his career. Everyone could rely on him."
Gutierrez's parents, Olga and Hector, were raised in Gilroy and married at St. Mary's Church, Patty Gutierrez said. Most of the family has moved away from Gilroy, and his parents have remarried after divorce. His father is a Vietnam veteran who lives in southern California.
David played football at Gavilan College for one year, then transferred to San Jose City College, his wife said. He went to high school at Santa Teresa in San Jose.
Insurgents bombed Sgt. Gutierrez's patrol with an improvised explosive device, the Department of Defense announced Sunday.
David visited with his family via a web camera and instant messaging near midnight West Coast time the night of Dec. 23. "The kids were up, so they got to talk to him, too," said Patty. "It was Christmas Eve there ... just before he went out on patrol I'm guessing."
Sgt. Gutierrez was deployed from Alpha Company 2-1 5th Brigade Stryker Unit out of Fort Lewis. He was on dismounted patrol in Howz-e Madad when he was killed, according to the Department of Defense. He was assigned to 2nd Battalion, 1st Infantry Regiment of the 5th Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division.
Gutierrez enlisted Oct. 22, 1998, in San Francisco. He previously deployed to Camp Casey in Korea from September 2000 to August 2001 and Schofield Barracks in Hawaii from October 2001 through October 2006. While stationed in Hawaii he was deployed to Iraq from January 2004 to February 2005. He came to Ft. Lewis in October of 2006.
"On behalf of the entire Fort Lewis military and civilian community, we extend our sincere condolences to the family and friends of Staff Sgt. Gutierrez," said Joe Kubistek, representative for Fort Lewis Public Affairs.
The Gutierrez's met, Patty said with a laugh, at a sports bar called San Jose Live. "He was the bouncer, and he kept me waiting out in the cold while he checked my I.D. - to flirt with me."
Gutierrez and Patty Smith were married Dec. 28, 1996, "off the strip" in Las Vegas, Nev. "We didn't want to be married at a cheesy place or a drive-through, so my aunt who lived in Las Vegas recommended this nice little chapel."
Their first of three sons, Andrew Daniel Gutierrez, was born Nov. 3, 1997. Jeremiah joined the family in 2003 and Gabriel in 2005.
In 2008, Patty was pregnant with their fourth child, a girl. Later on in the pregnancy, it was discovered she had a chromosome disorder called Trisomy 18, more commonly referred to as Edward's Disease. Reyna Patricia Gutierrez was born silently Oct. 2, 2008, at Madigan Army Medical Center in Fort Lewis and was laid to rest in Gilroy.
In Washington, Gutierrez continued to enjoy his passion - football. He played fullback for an amateur football team, the South Sound Shockers near Ft. Lewis, starting in the spring of 2007.
His wife became the team photographer to ensure they could spend the day together.
South Sound Shockers Coach Steve Matychowiak said this morning that Gutierrez inspired him.
"David was aces," he said. "When people die, I know they are often put up on a pedestal, but he really was a wonderful guy - he inspired me.
"He was married 12 years or so, and he told me this year that he was just as head over heels for his wife as when he first knew she was the one.
That's how he inspired me, I wanted my marriage to be more like that. At practice, he was always smiling and you could tell he loved to be on the field."
Gutierrez was slated to receive the coveted Black Lion football award - an award given for commitment and selflessness - this January.
Coach Matychowiak said that "Gutie's" award will certainly be presented to his family. Gutierrez's wife served as the team's photographer and the three Gutierrez sons could be seen roaming the sidelines of Shocker football games, according to the team's Web site.
Gutierrez was assigned to Fort Lewis May 8, 2008, and deployed to Afghanistan in July. This was his second deployment.
His awards and decorations include the Army Commendation Medal (twice), Army Achievement Medal (four) Army Good Conduct Medal (three awards), National Defense Service Medal, Korean Defense Service Medal, Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, NCO Professional Development Ribbon, Army Service Ribbon, Overseas Ribbon, Combat Infantry Badge, Expert Infantry Badge and Air Assault Badge.