El Paso - Author Dave Gutierrez, who wrote the true WWII story of El Paso’s famed Company E was in El Paso today for a lecture at UTEP's Centennial Museum and also appeared on ABC-7 at Four. A new edition of his book "Patriots from the Barrio" was released last May by Westholme Publishing. Company E was an original Texas National Guard Unit composed entirely of Mexican Americans from the barrios of El Paso. The film rights to the book were obtained in Hollywood by actor/producer Wilmer Valderrama's production company.
Company E in the 141st Regiment of the 36th Division deployed to North Africa in April of 1943. In September of 1943 they spearheaded the Allied Landing at Salerno Italy. Company E would go on to fight up the Italian peninsula towards Rome at Mount Rotondo, San Pietro, and the disastrous Rapido River crossing. In January of 1944 the 36th Division would lose over two thousand men in a span of forty-eight hours during the attempts to establish positions across the Rapido River. Company E was led by Captain John L. Chapin who was killed in action at the Rapido River. The high school that honors his name and the men of Company E was opened in 2000.
Gutierrez’s relative Ramon Gutierrez who served in Company E from Del Rio and was assigned to the all Mexican American Company from El Paso, would become one of a few Americans to be decorated for valor on the battlefield by the Soviet Union during WWII. Gutierrez stated, “They were part of one of the most unique and historical US. Army units and I wanted to make sure that their sacrifice and honor to their country was not forgotten”.
Gutierrez's book is available on Amazon.com, at Barnes & Noble, and through his website, https://authordavegutierrez.com.