EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) – On Sept. 14, Dave Gutierrez who wrote the novel “Patriots from the Barrio” will be honored along with the famed Company E., which was a Texas National Guard unit from El Paso, Texas composed entirely of Mexican Americans.

They will be recognized by the National WWII Museum in Louisiana to kick off National Hispanic Heritage Month and commemorate the 80th anniversary of the Allied Landings at Salerno, Italy.

Gutierrez discovered the idea for the book after hearing stories from his father growing up about his cousin Ramon Gutierrez, who served in WWII. As he got older, he discovered his cousin Ramon was part of Company E.

From there, he began his journey to find more stories about the military unit and put them together as a reminder of a part of history that is not often told.

“Mexican Americans in general, have a little trouble finding our stories in mainstream media. I thought it was very important for us to be able to tell this story about Mexican American contributions in WWII,” said Gutierrez.

In order to find more stories about Company E., Gutierrez used his background in genealogy for his research. He was able to connect with over 60 families of the men who served in WWII along with his cousin.

“To be able to connect with those family members and to hear their own stories was very important, so I have the historical background of it, did research on the unit and combined with all the personal stories from these men,” Gutierrez said.

The stories of the Tuskegee Airmen, all African American pilots, and the 442nd Infantry made up entirely of Japanese Americans are constantly taught in U.S. history. However, those involving Mexican Americans are often left forgotten.

Gutierrez is grateful for the honor from the National WWII Museum but hopes that more stories will get to be told.

“There are many stories out there of Mexican American contributions to this nation and I hope that we get better at sharing recording and documenting our own history,” said Gutierrez.

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