‘Patriots from the Barrio’

WWII historian holds Gilroy book signing

HISTORIAS Bay Area author of WWII book headed to Hollywood appearing at Barnes and Noble in Gilroy, May 19.

San Jose writer Dave Gutierrez who wrote the true story of an all-Mexican American World War II will make an appearance from 2-4pm May 19 at the Gilroy Barnes and Noble Store.

A new edition of his book, titled “Patriots from the Barrio,” from Westholme Publishing is now available at bookstores.

Company E in the 141st Regiment was an original Texas National Guard Unit and composed entirely of Mexican Americans from the barrios of Texas. The film rights to the book were recently obtained in Hollywood by actor/producer Wilmer Valderrama.

The author’s relative, and one-time Bay Area resident, Ramon G. Gutierrez, served in Company E and would become one of only a few Americans to be decorated for valor on the battlefield by the Soviet Union during WWII.

“They were part of one of the more unique and historical US. Army units and I wanted to make sure that their sacrifice and honor to their country was not forgotten,” David Gutierrez said.

Company E was part of the famed 36th Division. Young Mexican Americans from Del Rio, Uvalde, Kingsville, Laredo and San Antonio would join the unit in early 1941. The 36th Division was deployed to North Africa in early 1943 and, 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 2,000 men in a span of 48 hours during the attempts to establish positions across the Rapido River.

Author David Gutierrez will be on hand at the Gilroy Barnes and Noble Store, located at 6825 Camino Arroyo, on May 19. Meet  of the true WWII story that now has Hollywood’s attention.