Unit: 716th Military Police Company
Home Town: Grand Rapids, MI
Died On: 08/08/1993
Every May, Spec. Mark E. Gutting, 25, would try to schedule his leave around the opening of bass season. "To say he liked to fish is an understatement," says his father, Eugene Gutting. Fishing is a Gutting family enterprise, and Mark was an enthusiast. The family would take off for Lake Mitchell in Cadillac, Mich., when Mark was home on leave, says his mother, Barbara Gutting, herself an avid fisherman.
The youngest of six children, Mark Gutting grew up in Michigan with a love of the outdoors. "He enjoyed just going out and sitting in the woods," his mother recalls. "Supposedly he liked hunting, although he never got anything. I think he enjoyed the solitude as much as anything."
"He had a funnier side that we often saw," she says, remembering, too, that Mark had a knack for lifting spirits and making people laugh.
"He had a good sense of humor and a lot of feeling for people," Eugene Gutting says. "He was especially concerned with helping new recruits."
Mark Gutting studied economics and international business at Central Michigan University before enlisting in the Army. "He decided to go into law enforcement, and he thought going into the Army would be good training and a stepping stone to that," Eugene Gutting says.
As a military policeman, Mark Gutting served in Operation Desert Storm and spent two years in Panama before being assigned to Fort Riley, Kan., in June 1993. At Riley, he was hoping the stateside assignment would mean regular hours and time to go back to school. Instead, two months after going to Riley, he went to Somalia with the 977th Military Police Company.
There, on Aug. 9, he and three other soldiers died patrolling Mogadishu when a remotely detonated bomb ripped through their Humvee.
Mark Gutting was awarded the Purple Heart and a Bronze Star, his father says. "I thought the Army did a fine job [handling his death]," Eugene Gutting says. "There is a great deal of compassion there." Calls and letters from Mark Gutting's friends who served with him in Panama and Somalia have given the family a glimpse of their son they might not otherwise have had.