News Column

Funeral Service Held for First Hispanic Soldier Killed in Iraq

April 8, 2003

The friends and family of 22-year-old Jose Gutierrez, the first US Marine of Hispanic origin killed in the US war with Iraq, gathered Monday for his funeral service.

Los Angeles Cardinal Roger Mahony officiated at the service for the Guatemalan born Gutierrez, describing him as a person of "strong faith."

Gutierrez crossed to the United States illegally via Mexico as a teenager, having lived on the streets in his early years in his native Esquitla, Guatemala, following the death of his parents.

Gutierrez was awarded U.S. citizenship post-humously along with Jose Angel Angel Garibay and Francisco Abraham Martinez Flores, both 21, two other soldiers of Hispanic origin killed in the fighting in Iraq.

Gutierrez's sister Engracia, as his closest surviving relative, received the citizenship.

Source: COPYRIGHT 2003 Agence France-Presse. All rights reserved.

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