Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Gabriel Guzman, Army, Sergeant -- Rest In Peace

Gabriel Guzman, 25

Army, Sergeant
Based: Ft. Bragg, N.C.
2nd Battalion, 508th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division
Supporting: Operation Enduring Freedom
Died: March 8, 2008
Orgun, Afghanistan
Single, 1 child
Gender: Male
Hometown: Hornbrook
High School: Concord High (Concord)

"He was someone everyone looked up to," [His former girlfriend, Amy] Molloy said. "He didn't follow the crowd. He led the crowd. He knew how to talk to people."

When Guzman was 17 and she was 16, they had a baby, Angela Haley Guzman. They knew she would be born with Down syndrome but wanted to keep her and raise her. It was time for the wise-cracking, fun-loving warrior to do some growing up.

Five years ago, the native of Concord, Calif., joined the Army, becoming a member of the 82nd Airborne Division in 2004. He went to Iraq and then Afghanistan.

"I know when he first went to Iraq, he was kind of excited. He didn't know what to expect, but he was ready to do it. He wanted to fight for his country," Molloy said. "Going to Afghanistan is something he really didn't want to do. He was scared to go to Afghanistan."

Sgt. Gabriel Guzman died March 8 in Orgun, Afghanistan, of injuries suffered when his Humvee struck a roadside bomb near Gholam Haydar Kala, near the Pakistani border. He was assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 508th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division at Ft. Bragg, N.C.

At his funeral, one of his commanders spoke glowingly of his skill and character.

"Gabe was a warrior and a fierce one," said his sister, Anni Watson, 28. "I was proud of him. I looked up to him and wanted him to be proud of me."

Perhaps bucking the military stereotype, Guzman studied Daoism and Buddhism.

"He said, 'I think I would be a Daoist if I didn't have to be so selfless,' " Watson recalled. "He knew that he wouldn't be able to give up everything."

His mother, Shelley Tucker, said her son had a "natural good humor and smile. He made friends everywhere."

She said he "was counting the days until he could go home. I think it's time we find peaceful ways to live on this planet together. But I am so proud of my son, who always gave his best."
Read the entire LA Times article about Army Sergeant Gabriel Guzman here, find more here and at Freedom Remembered and visit Sergeant Guzman's Guest Book.

Shelley Tucker, far right, holds a flag during her son's funeral at Ouimet Brothers Concord Chapel in Concord Calif., Monday, March 17, 2008. Army Sgt. Gabriel Guzman was killed in Afghanistan on March 8. Guzman's sisters Anni Watson, 2nd from right and Heidi Guzman, 3rd from right and Reynaldo Guzman, Gabriels Dad. (Bob Larson/Staff/ContraCostaTimes)

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