Pfc. Analaura E. Esparza-Gutierrez

Company A 4th FSB

4th Infantry Division (Mechanized)

Killed in Action October 1, 2003



PFC Esparza-Gutierrez was a member of Company A 4th Forward Support Battalion attached to 1-22 Infantry.

She was 21 years old and her home town was listed as Houston, Texas.

She was killed while riding in a convoy in Tikrit that was attacked
by an Improvised Explosive Device and rocket propelled greandes.


PFC Analaura E. Esparza-Gutierrez' decorations




After her engagement to a fellow soldier, an excited Analaura Esparza-Gutierrez wrote to a childhood friend.

"I was about to cry when he proposed," Esparza wrote to Sharon Garcia. "He was so nervous.
He could barely get the words out."

Esparza planned to get married next year after she returned from Iraq. "She never thought something bad
was going to happen to her," Garcia said.

Esparza, 21, of Houston was killed in a roadside bombing Oct. 1 near the U.S. base in Saddam Hussein's hometown
of Tikrit. She was the second female soldier killed in combat in Iraq.

Esparza joined the Army in 2002 so she could eventually attend college.
She arrived at Fort Hood nearly a year ago and was sent to Iraq in April for a one-year tour.

"I want people to remember my daughter for what she was -- a hero," said her father, Agustin Velazco Esparza.
"I feel sad because she was killed but I feel proud also because she gave her life for this country. She was very brave."


Analaura Esparza-Gutierrez


Soldier from Houston mourned in Iraq
Oct. 3, 2003, 7:30PM

TIKRIT, Iraq - Hundreds of U.S. troops held a memorial service today at their base in one of Saddam Hussein's former palaces in Iraq
to mourn a female soldier killed by a roadside bomb.

Private Analaura Esparza-Gutierrez, 21, was killed Wednesday when the blast hit the Humvee vehicle she was driving
outside the base in Tikrit, Saddam's home town. Three other soldiers were wounded.

A U.S. Army spokeswoman said Esparza-Gutierrez was the fourth female U.S. soldier to die in combat operations since the start of the war
and the first killed in action since President Bush declared major combat over on May 1.

Esparza-Gutierrez, from Houston, Texas, had arrived in Iraq on April 5 for a one-year tour.

Colleagues said she joined the army in 2002 and was engaged to a fellow soldier who had left Iraq on leave just a month ago.

The pair had planned to finish their one-year tour and then marry on their return to the United States
where Esparza-Gutierrez hoped to study to become a doctor.

"You were a friend to all," Sgt. Kendrick Morgan said in a poem he read at the service. "I know you made your parents proud."

Reuters News Service



Plans for a wedding gone in grenade attack

October 29, 2003|By Rachel Osterman, Tribune staff reporter.
Tribune staff reporter Grace Aduroja contributed to this report.

When Analaura Esparza Gutierrez wanted something, she went after it.

That was true of her college education. She knew she needed a degree to become a psychologist.
So she waived off parental support and signed up for the Army.

And it was true when she met a fellow soldier who later asked her to marry him.

"When we met I had some Skittles, and I offered her some. But she just took the whole bag," recalled her fiance, Jose Gomez,
who also served in the 4th Infantry Division. "So I went after her so she would give me some Skittles back. That's how it started."

On Oct. 1, Pfc. Esparza Gutierrez, 21, died in Tikrit, Iraq, when her convoy, the 4th Forward Support Battalion, part of the 4th Infantry Division
based at Ft. Hood, Texas, was hit in a grenade attack.

Esparza Gutierrez was born in Mexico and moved to Houston when she was 7.

After a semester studying psychology at a community college, she found the tuition too expensive and joined the Army, a move that took her to Ft. Hood.

And from there, things were never quite the same.

Her first day, in May 2002, was when she first encountered Gomez. After the Skittles incident, they would stay up talking nearly every night.

Half a year later, Gomez and Esparza Gutierrez were dispatched to Iraq, based about 60 miles apart.

"It's really scary being there," Gomez said. But "I got letters from her. They're what kept me going."

Gomez visited Esparza Gutierrez at her base a year after the couple had met. "I said I've got something to tell you.
She was like `Tell me, tell me, tell me.' I was like `Will you marry me?'"

Her answer: "Yes, yes, yes."

Chicago Tribune


The grave of Analaura Esparza-Gutierrez


Houston National Cemetery
Harris County
Texas, USA
Plot: Sec S2 Site 8

photo of grave by Added by: Joseph T Vrecenar
from the Find A Grave website




Quilt made for the family of Analaura Esparza-Gutierrez

by Marine Comfort Quilts



Marine Comfort Quilts

Marine Comfort Quilt Group is a not for profit ministry whose objective is to provide a memorial quilt of comfort to the next of kin of our fallen military.
Our quilts are made from thirty quilt squares, each containing an inspirational message from it's donor or another serviceman.
Our quilts are stitches of love from those who want so badly to bring comfort, but don't know how to help.






The young Soldier to whom Analaura Esparza-Gutierrez was engaged to be married was
Sergeant Jose Gomez. SGT Gomez returned to Iraq on his second tour of duty there
when he was killed in action while serving with the 10th Cavalry of the 4th Infantry Division.

SGT Jose Gomez


Birth: Sep. 8, 1982, Dominican Republic
Death: Apr. 28, 2006
Baghdad, Iraq

Sgt. Jose Gomez of Corona, New York graduated from Newtown High School in Elmhurst, where he was on the track team.
Het met Analaura Esparza Gutierrez, an Army private who immigrated to the United States from Mexico as a child. They fell in love
on the dusty battlefields of Iraq, promised to marry and dreamed of growing old together back home in their adopted country. But they were
star-crossed lovers destined to die in eerily similar insurgent attacks nearly three years apart. Analaura died October 2003 just as Jose
was winding down his first tour of duty. Jose slowly put the pieces back together and even found love again with his new fiancée, Marie Canario.
The two met at a mall near Queensborough Community College and were planning to marry later this year. But Gomez got a letter in the mail
informing him he would return to Iraq for another tour. He left in August and was due to finish his hitch in a month. He tried convincing his family
he wasn't going to Iraq, rather that he was returning to Texas to train other soldiers. But it was a lie aimed at sparing his loved ones worry.
But he didn't come home. Jose earned the Bronze Star, Purple Heart, Army Commendation Medal, Army Achievement Medal,
Army Good Conduct Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Iraqi Campaign Medal and the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal
during his service. He died in Baghdad, Iraq, when an improvised explosive device detonated near his HMMWV during combat operations at age 23.

10th Cavalry
4th Brigade
4th Infantry Division
Fort Hood, Texas

Saint Michaels Cemetery
East Elmhurst
Queens County
New York, USA


From the Find A Grave website








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