BAMF of the Week: “Gunny” Barreras
By RU Twisted
On May 13, 2014, the warrior community lost an icon. A man who went above and beyond simply serving his country; a consummate professional who understood more than most what the words “100% and then some” truly meant.
Martin R. “Gunny” Barreras, husband, father of three, and 22 year veteran of the 75th Ranger Regiment succumbed to the wounds he received in Afghanistan on May 6 and died on the 13th at the San Antonio Military Medical Center. He had been serving as the CSM for 2nd Battalion, 5th Infantry Regiment, which is part of the 3rd BCT, 1st Armored Division out of Ft. Bliss, Texas.
That’s all part of the official reports one can read in the Army Times or on CBS News. But everyone knows that we aren’t about namby-pamby bullshit here at the Rhino Den.
We’re honest because that’s what warriors deserve. And Gunny Barreras deserves more than just a blurb about his resume and how he’ll be missed.
When I started writing this, all I could find out about the man were details like the ones relayed above on traditional news sources. I kept hearing rumors about this guy or that guy serving with him and how everyone who knew him regarded him as the quintessential soldier; a consummate professional that would never let a comrade down and was always there doing his job.
I struggled to find anything extraordinary to write about in order to make this a unique tribute before finally realizing why there was so little information on him—because he embodied the term “quiet professional.” By all accounts, CSM Barreras wasn’t just good at his job; he did it so well that he also managed to keep out of unnecessary spotlights.
Consider the famous rescue of PVT Jessica Lynch. Barreras was not only on the mission, but helped in planning it, as well. Did you hear his name in any of the news stories? Did you see his face? Most likely not, because he seems to have been a man who shunned the spotlight in favor of staying in the shadows—taking care of his men and the mission without drawing attention to either or himself.
If one takes but a moment to look at the Facebook group page dedicated to his memory they will find numerous examples of those who served with him extolling his virtues while citing the man as a “text book example of professionalism.” The pictures posted and the words written that this was a man of great importance where it mattered most—to those he encountered personally.
The simple fact is that the true warrior cares not for medals or popular accolades. He shuns the spotlight in favor of those under his care and the responsibility he feels for them. He dedicates himself to his craft in order to better serve those he is fortunate enough to lead. He perfects and expands his skillset to set the example for others to follow.
CSM Barreras, you volunteered as a Ranger, fully knowing the hazards of your profession, and you endeavored to uphold the prestige, honor, and high esprit de corps of the Ranger Regiment.
You acknowledged the fact that as a Ranger, your country expected you to move further, faster, and fight harder than any other soldier.
By all accounts, you never failed your comrades. You kept yourself mentally alert , physically strong, and morally straight while you shouldered more than your share of the task, whatever it was.
Gallantly you showed the world that you were a specially selected and well trained soldier. Your courtesy to superior officers, neatness of dress, and care of equipment set the example for many, many others to follow.
You met the enemies of your country energetically and defeated them numerous times because you fought with all your might. You never surrendered, nor did you leave a fallen comrade or ever embarrass your country.
CSM Barreras, you were the picture of intestinal fortitude required to fight on to the Ranger objective and complete the mission.
You were a Ranger, a soldier, a husband, a father, and a brother in arms to many. You shall remain an example of dedication to many who follow.
Fair skies, to you, Gunny.