Reception: 5:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m. | Event: 6:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.
This event is free and open to the public. Register today to join us in person or to view the event online.
Join The National WWII Museum to kick off National Hispanic Heritage Month and commemorate the 80th anniversary of the Allied landings at Salerno, Italy, as the Jenny Craig Institute for the Study of War and Democracy presents a conversation with Dave Gutierrez, author of Patriots from the Barrio: The Story of Company E, 141st Infantry: The Only All Mexican American Army Unit in World War II, which explores a seldom-discussed segregated unit of the US Army.
As a child, Dave Gutierrez hung on his father’s every word as he recalled his cousin Ramon “El Sancudo” ("Mosquito") Gutierrez and his service in World War II, where he earned a Silver Star and three Purple Hearts, and twice escaped from the Germans. Later, when Dave decided to find out more about his father’s cousin, he discovered that Ramon was a member of Company E, 141st Infantry, a part of the 36th “Texas Army” Division that was made up entirely of Mexican Americans—the only such unit in the entire US Army.
The division landed at Salerno, Italy, in 1943, among the first American soldiers to set foot in Europe. In the ensuing months, Company E and the rest of the 36th would battle their way up the mountainous Italian Peninsula against some of Nazi Germany’s best troops. The unit endured merciless rain, mud, and jagged peaks, and swift, cold rivers crisscrossed the region, including the Rapido (Gari), where Company E would face its greatest challenge. In January 1944, the 36th Division was ordered to cross the river despite reports that the opposite bank was heavily defended. The division was ripped apart during the disastrous crossing, and Company E sustained appalling casualties; the battle became one of the bloodiest in the Italian Campaign. The company rebounded, participating in the storied landings at Anzio and the invasion of southern France before a final push into Germany. The men of Company E distinguished themselves as rugged fighters capable of warring amid the rubble of destroyed villages and the devastated countryside.
Based on extensive archival research and veteran and family accounts, Patriots from the Barrio brings to life the stories of soldiers whose service went unrecognized for far too long. With its memorable personalities, stories of hope and immigration, and riveting battle scenes, this book is a testament to the shared beliefs of all who have fought for the ideals represented by the American flag.
Dave Gutierrez is a speaker, writer, and author of Patriots from the Barrio—the true story of the men who served in the US Army's all-Mexican American combat unit during World War II. Gutierrez’s articles have been published in numerous newsletters, magazines, newspapers, and online publications. In 2019, he was named President of Nuevo Mundo Historical and Genealogical Society of Silicon Valley.
A reception from 5:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. will precede the event, and Gutierrez will sign copies of his book following the presentation. Purchase a copy of Gutierrez’s book in advance here.
If you’re unable to make it to the Museum for this free event, it will be available to stream on Vimeo.
For additional information, please email Connie Gentry, Conference and Programs Specialist, at email@example.com.