[Congressional Record Volume 140, Number 76 (Thursday, June 16, 1994)]
[Extensions of Remarks]
[Page E]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]


[Congressional Record: June 16, 1994]
From the Congressional Record Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]

 
             FURTHER REMEMBRANCE OF THE VETERANS OF SOMALIA

                                 ______


                         HON. ROBERT K. DORNAN

                             of california

                    in the house of representatives

                        Wednesday, June 15, 1994

  Mr. DORNAN. Mr. Speaker, I would like to include in the Record six 
more stories on the brave United States fighting men who sacrificed 
their lives in combat in Somalia.

                  [From the Army Times, May 30, 1994]

                When the Bass Ran, It Was Time for Leave

       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.
                                  ____


               He Had ``That Smile'' and a Drive To Help

       ``That smile'' is something people are apt to bring up when 
     they talk about Sgt. Cornell L. Houston.
       It was his smile that his wife, Carmen, remembers about 
     their first encounter. She was walking down the street in her 
     hometown of Mobile, Ala., when a car stopped to give her a 
     ride. Inside was a girlfriend and a guy she didn't know. He 
     had a big smile on his face. It was Cornell Houston.
       The Rev. Clate Borders of Thomas Memorial AME Zion Church 
     in Watertown, N.Y., remembers that smile, too.
       ``I'll never forget it. He had a gold tooth up front,'' 
     Borders said.
       Carmen Houston, 29, recalls her late husband's laugh. ``He 
     would tell a lot of jokes. He just had a way of making even 
     your worst day . . . better.''
       In many ways, Cornell Houston, 31, was a typical soldier. 
     He missed his family; being away from them was hard, Carmen 
     Houston said. But in other ways, Cornell Houston stood out. 
     ``He wanted to help everybody,'' Borders said. ``He liked to 
     help those who could not help themselves.''
       He also had ``willingness to take hold of anything and get 
     it done,'' Borders recalled. The minister remembers 
     mentioning to Houston on one occasion that the outside of the 
     church needed to be cleaned. A short time later, Borders 
     said, the grounds had been cleaned. Houston had rounded up a 
     crew and took charge of getting the job done. ``He didn't 
     wait for things to get done,'' Borders said.
       Borders also remembers Houston coming to him to talk about 
     joining the choir. ``I don't know how to sing, but I've 
     always wanted to do it, and I want to give it a try,'' 
     Houston said.
       Houston was so open and wanted so badly to learn that 
     Borders sent him to the choir director. ``I thought he did 
     OK,'' Borders said.
       After arriving at Fort Drum, N.Y., Houston became a Mason 
     and was a board member of the Watertown church.
       Houston was assigned to C Company, 41st Engineering 
     Battalion, at Fort Drum. He had arrived in Somalia in August 
     1993 on his second tour. He was wounded October 3, sustaining 
     chest injuries, and died October 6 in the Landstuhl Army 
     Regional Medical Center in Germany. Houston has been honored 
     posthumously with the Purple Heart medal and the Bronze Star 
     Medal with ``V'' device for valor.
       Borders believes the best way to remember Cornell Houston 
     is for everyone to ``pick up his banner and go forward with 
     it into the community.''
       Carmen Houston also wants people to remember Cornell 
     Houston for his caring side. ``It's like . . . ,'' her voice 
     trails off. ``I miss him so much.''
                                  ____


                The Memories Include His Medal of Honor

       MSgt. Gary I. Gordon was a smart kid, his teachers used to 
     say, but he spent entirely too much time doodling.
       Tanks, battleships, helicopters, ``anything and everything 
     military-related,'' his mother, Betty Gordon, says from her 
     home in Lincoln, Maine. But even though his imagination often 
     drifted to things combative, his mother was surprised the day 
     her son, then 17, announced he had joined the Army.
       Gary Gordon, 33, was one of 18 soldiers killed during the 
     Oct. 3, 1993, clash with Somali gunmen in Mogadishu, Somalia. 
     He is credited with saving the life of an injured pilot and 
     was to be awarded the Medal of Honor posthumously May 23.
       His family remembers a quiet man with an artistic flair and 
     a desire to write books about children.
       ``He didn't talk much about his job, but I know he loved it 
     a lot. It was like the ultimate job to him, being in that 
     unit,'' his wife, Carmen, says of her husband's affiliation 
     with soldiers attached to U.S. Army Special Forces Command, 
     Fort Bragg, N.C.
       ``He didn't bring the military home though,'' she says.
       ``The Gary I saw was all about family . . . and his 
     children. He had these special times with Brittany and Ian,'' 
     like on Sunday mornings when he would spread the Sunday 
     newspaper out on the kitchen table, she says.
       Brittany, 3, ``always had to be a part of the newspaper 
     thing,'' say Carmen Gordon, 29. ``Gary would give her a sheet 
     of newspaper and pour a little bit of coffee into her sip 
     cup, and she'd sit there and mimic his every move, right down 
     to the elbows on the table.''
       And there were the woodworking sessions with Ian, 6.
       ``When Gary made furniture, Ian was always out there right 
     by his side. Gary would give him some wood scraps, a hammer 
     and a big thing of Elmer's glue, and there they were, the 
     both of them covered in saw dust,'' Carmen Gordon says.
       After his death, Carmen Gordon went through his personal 
     items and came across a letter her husband had written nearly 
     five years before while in a hangar in Panama during 
     Operation Just Cause.
       ``It was filled with dreams of Ian growing up strong and of 
     having grandchildren on his knee, but his last words were: 
     `In case something should happen to me, be strong, never give 
     up, and always look inside yourself for strength.'
       ``Knowing that he felt I was strong makes me want to carry 
     on.''
                                  ____


                    Once Committed, He Didn't Waiver

       Sgt. James Casey Joyce was a man who could be counted on 
     once he had committed himself to a project.
       Speaking of her son's leadership qualities, his mother, 
     Gail Joyce, remembers ``his ability to focus on something and 
     to be completely committed to a cause or an idea; and once he 
     made that commitment, he never wavered.''
       Nowhere was this trait more apparent than in his military 
     career. After spending three years in two different colleges, 
     changing his major a couple of times in the process, Casey 
     Joyce enlisted in the Army in November 1990.
       ``He wanted to go into the Army to get some focus and some 
     maturity,'' says his father, retired Lt. Col. Larry Joyce.
       His father's military background ``absolutely'' influenced 
     Casey Joyce's decision to enlist, says Larry Joyce. ``He 
     wanted to prove something to himself and to me.''
       Determined to excel, Casey Joyce ``chose probably the most 
     difficult and challenging assignment he could,'' says Larry 
     Joyce. He volunteered for service in the 75th Ranger 
     Regiment, Fort Benning, Ga. ``I don't think I could have done 
     what he did,'' the father said during his eulogy at the 
     October 9 memorial service in Casey Joyce's native Plano, 
     Texas.
       The extent to which Casey Joyce steeped himself in the 
     values of the Ranger creed can be measured by the awards and 
     decorations he earned in less than three years of service. 
     These included his airborne wings, the Ranger tab, the 
     Pathfinder badge and the Meritorious Service Medal. They are 
     capped by the Bronze Star for valor he was awarded 
     posthumously for his actions on the night of October 3, when 
     he died fighting Somalia guerrillas in the back streets of 
     Mogadishu.
       On at least two occasions, Casey Joyce also displayed an 
     uncanny ability to predict the future. An avid Dallas Cowboys 
     fan since boyhood, he had stood by his team during the lean 
     years of the late 1980s. Then, while on leave in the summer 
     of 1992, he went to the team's summer camp in Austin. ``He 
     predicted they were going to win the Super Bowl long before 
     anyone else did,'' says Gail Joyce.
       He had made a similarly accurate prediction four years 
     earlier while he was walking through a mall in Plano and saw 
     DeAnna Gray, then a high school senior, standing behind a 
     counter. ``He said to his friend, `I'm going to marry that 
     girl,''' says DeAnna Joyce. Roughly 2\1/2\ years later, he 
     did exactly that, in the same Plano church in which his 
     memorial service was held.
       Seven months after Casey Joyce's death, his widow's voice 
     still chokes with emotion as she remembers talking to him by 
     telephone the night before his death. ``We were planning a 
     trip--he asked me if New Orleans was OK,'' she said.
       Hours later, a Somali sniper's bullet killed Casey Joyce 
     and cost his family its most dynamic member. ``He was the 
     spice in our life,'' says his mother.
                                  ____


             The Road Wasn't Easy, But He'd Make it Better

       Cpl. Richard W. Kowalewski Jr. didn't have an easy road, 
     but he had plans to make his life better.
       He bounced among several high schools as his parents moved, 
     then broke up. He lived with his mother in Texas, with his 
     father in Alabama, then with his grandparents in 
     Pennsylvania. But he kept his sights on his future. Despite 
     the school changes, he stayed enrolled in Junior ROTC. An 
     avid chess player, he knew to plan his next several moves: 
     After high school, he was going to join the Army, earn some 
     money for college, get a degree in electrical engineering, 
     and marry his girlfriend.
       ``He kind of knew we didn't have the finances to help him 
     through college,'' says Richard Kowalewski Sr. ``It was just 
     something he had all lined up, even before he graduated from 
     high school, that he was going to . . . go to the service, 
     and then he could get his schooling.''
       The younger Kowalewski completed basic training in June 
     1992. He was assigned to the 3d Battalion, 75th Ranger 
     Regiment, which deployed to Somalia in August 1993. Thoughts 
     of his future shifted to focusing on a very tense present. 
     ``War is very sad and kills everyone in some way,'' he wrote 
     to Donna Yarish, his fiancee, one week before his death at 
     age 20 in the October 3-4 firefight.
       He had been planning to come home Thanksgiving, pick up his 
     fiancee in Pennsylvania and introduce her to his family. By 
     the time Thanksgiving arrived, the elder Kowalewski had 
     attended his son's funeral at Arlington National Cemetery, 
     Va., and a memorial service for the slain Rangers at Fort 
     Benning, Ga.
       Richard Kowalewski Jr. was among the Rangers killed while 
     their convoy, under heavy fire, snaked through Mogadishu side 
     streets, trying to rescue U.S. soldiers in a downed 
     helicopter. He was awarded the Bronze Star Medal for valor.
       Richard Kowalewski Sr. doesn't feel that sacrifice was 
     repaid. He says for his son's funeral, the Army offered plane 
     tickets and hotel rooms--for him and for his ex-wife. The 
     senior Kowalewski was unable to use the plane ticket because 
     he wanted the entire family to go together. He, his second 
     wife, another son living with them and the grandparents who 
     saw that Richard Jr. completed high school, paid their own 
     way to Washington, then shared a single hotel room, the elder 
     Kowalewski says.
       ``They wanted to do for the immediate family--the mother 
     and the father--and that was it,'' he says.
       But Army officials say they are limited by law in paying 
     for travel expenses to funerals. The service can pay for 
     travel for a spouse and children, and for parents only if the 
     soldier was not married or childless.
       ``It wasn't that the Army didn't want to help [the 
     Kowalewskis]; it couldn't,'' says Harry Campbell, an Army 
     memorial affairs official.
       But when the family attended a memorial service at Fort 
     Benning, Ga., the Rangers provided forms for families to list 
     travel expenses for reimbursement.
       ``When they send us a check, we'll just cash it and send 
     another check back as a donation to the Rangers,'' Richard 
     Kowalewski Sr. says, ``. . . The government, I felt, should 
     have paid for it.''
                                  ____


            He Had Worried About the Futility of Dying There

       It had become a tradition in a family that had sent sons 
     off to war: After Sgt. Dominick M. Pilla, 21, deployed to 
     Somalia with his Ranger company in August 1993, the family 
     put together a package of pepperoni sticks and balls of 
     provolone cheese. Dominick's father, Benjamin Pilla, had 
     gotten such a package when he was serving in Vietnam. Frank 
     Pilla, Dominick's brother, had gotten one while off the coast 
     of Kuwait during the Persian Gulf War.
       Dominick Pilla's package was returned unopened to his 
     parents' home in Vineland N.J. He had been killed before it 
     reached him.
       Dominick Pilla had heard his father's war stories and had 
     seen the pictures he'd brought home from Vietnam.
       ``I told him how people get killed and get wounded, lose 
     arms or legs,'' says his father. ``It's not all glory. He 
     knew that.''
       Regardless, Dominick Pilla decided as an adolescent that he 
     wanted to join the Army and be a Ranger. He enlisted in the 
     Delayed Entry Program while in high school, then took up a 
     rigorous exercise and body-building program to prepare for 
     Ranger training.
       Benjamin Pilla and his wife, Diane, say Dominick Pilla had 
     the cockiness of a quick study who excelled at his interests. 
     For example, he liked riding Benjamin Pilla's 1,400cc Harley 
     Davidson motorcycle, among the biggest made. ``He took his 
     motorcycle test on it and passed,'' Benjamin Pilla says. 
     ``Most guys fail the first time on the big bike. He was a 
     natural.''
       The bike sat for months after October 3. ``I couldn't ride 
     that thing all winter,'' Benjamin Pilla says. ``I just let it 
     sit there because it reminded me of him too much. . . . The 
     last letter I got from him from Somalia, he said when he 
     comes back, he was going to buy one so we could go riding 
     together.''
       Dominick Pilla and his father had a long talk in June 1993, 
     during Dominick's last leave before deploying to Somalia. 
     ``He said, `I realize what we do, I could get killed or 
     wounded. I just hope it's not Somalia or Bosnia.' He knew the 
     futility of it,'' says Benjamin Pilla.
       Dominick Pilla was with a convoy taking an injured soldier 
     from the October 3 firefight to be treated. He was killed 
     when the U.S. Humvees were ambushed. Dominick Pilla was 
     posthumously awarded the Bronze Star Medal for valor.
       ``He was always a good, decent kid,'' says Benjamin Pilla. 
     ``Never in trouble, had good respect for law and for 
     authority. Never gave me any trouble at all.
       ``That's the kind that die, unfortunately.''

                          ____________________