KIA February 7, 2007
Operation Iraqi Freedom
Assigned to Marine Aircraft Group 14, 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing, Cherry Point, North Carolina
Died February 7, 2007 when the helicopter he was traveling in was shot down by enemy fire while supporting combat operations in Anbar province, Iraq. Also killed were Capt Jennifer J. Harris, 1st Lt. Jared Landaker, Sgt. Travis Pfister, Cpl Thomas Saba, Sgt. James Tijerina, and Navy Hospital Corpsman 3rd Class Manuel Ruiz.
Gilbert Played fullback and quarterback at Hanks High School in El Paso, Texas and joined the Navy about a month after graduating in 1994. He was always happy-go-lucky, loved his family and his home, and he had no doubts about his service or heading to Iraq. His brother said, “He said he’d rather go fight over there than have to fight terrorism over here. He was a brave, brave man and always wanted to give to others before he gave to himself. His dream was to save Marines.” Gilbert served as a Navy Hospital Corpsman, which is the Marines’ equivalent of an Army Medic.
Before Gilbert deployed, he told his brother that if he died in Iraq, he wanted his two children to know he served so they could grow up free and without fear.
Navy HM1 Gilbert Minjares 31 years old from El Paso, Texas.
Original portrait was presented October 23, 2009 to Gilbert’s mother, two sisters and other family and friends during a special memorial event and concert held in Plano, Texas.