On Saturday, February 8th of this year, two American soldiers, Sgt. 1st Class Javier “Jaguar” Gutierrez and Sgt. 1st Class Antonio “Rod” Rodriguez, were killed in Nangarhar Province, Afghanistan. Both were assigned to the 7th Special Forces Group, based at Eglin Air Force Base, Florida. Both were 28 years old. Both enlisted in 1991, at eighteen years of age. By the time of their deaths, both were seasoned veterans.
Sgt. Gutierrez had previously deployed to Iraq with the 504th Parachute Infantry Regiment. This was his first deployment to Afghanistan (Army Times) There’s a unit webpage for the 504th Infantry here where the account was told from the moment of first notice. The 504th remembers and honors their own. His deployment with the 7th Special Forces Group was his first to Afghanistan.
After jump school and Ranger Assessment and Selection Program, Sgt. Rodriguez was assigned to the 3rd Battalion of the 75th Ranger Regiment, based out of Fort Benning. He deployed eight times as a Ranger before deploying twice with the 7th Special Forces Group as a cryptologic linguist, with Spanish as his chosen language.
If like me, you didn’t know what a “cryptologic linguist” is, here is from the Army itself.
“Overview: A cryptologic linguist is primarily responsible for identifying foreign communications using signals equipment. Their role is crucial as the nation’s defense depends largely on information that comes from foreign languages.
Identifying and analyzing foreign communications
Recognize changes in transmission modes and tip the appropriate authority
Provide translation expertise to analysts
Provide transcriptions and translations from foreign communications”
Javier Gutierrez, whose middle name, appropriately, was “Jaguar”, was married with four children. According to an article in heavy dot com, a GoFundMe campaign has been set up by a fellow military spouse to help the family. Although it has already passed its modest goal by about 40%, the page is worth visiting just to know Javier Gutierrez a little better as a man and as a soldier. The organizer’s statement is very brief, only one paragraph, but I saw Sgt. Gutierrez more clearly after reading it. There’s a photo of Mr. and Mrs. Gutierrez and their four children there. The lady looks so proud and happy! It tears my heart to think of the pain and loss she is suffering, and the kids too, obviously.
This is the cost of freedom, Americans.
I searched for the 7th Special Forces Group page, and found it, but it seems to be more security-conscious than the 504th Parachute Infantry‘s page. It wouldn’t talk to me. That’s actually good, IMO. On heavy dot com‘s page for Antonio “Rod” Rodriguez is the link to a gofundme page for his family also. He also was married, and leaves behind his wife, parents, two brothers and a sister. It would be very difficult to come up with a better life summary than you will read there. This is part of it: “Rod was the guy in the teams that always put his men before himself. Rod was a familiar face, both in and out of the US, whose personality radiated on those around him. No matter where you went on the globe, Rod always had a friend there.” There’s an informal photo of Rod there with a smile that looks like your best friend welcoming you. America suffered a greater loss than most will ever know when Sgt. Rodriguez left this life.
This is the cost of freedom, Americans.
Did anyone see in the three-letter news media that President Donald Trump “cut short a raucous New Hampshire campaign rally on Monday to make a last-minute flight to Dover“ to honor these two fallen warriors? I remember a heartless, cold-blooded phony Commander in Chief who did the exact opposite. I’m glad we have an American President this time around. Also at that link is a brief description of the transfer and a photo of President Trump and Vice President Pence (he was there also) saluting as the soldiers’ transfer cases are carried past. I’m not doing press releases for Trump. I just happen to respect his action in this case.
Heavenly Father, we humbly but fervently request that You bring our warriors home safe, avenge those who have fallen, and help us to comfort and aid those they leave behind. In Jesus’ holy name, amen.