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Wednesday, February 21, 2024

Honoring an Artesia veteran: Navy vet, local businessman Guthrie recalls time with Riverines 

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Artesia resident and business owner Jamie Guthrie joined the United States Navy in 2005, serving in that branch for six years before continuing his service in New Mexico’s branch of the National Guard for three years.   

Guthrie entered the Delayed Entry Program just after graduating from Artesia High School in the midst of the Iraq War. Following basic training, he pursued excellence and achieved the title of Riverine, a combat unit that patrolled the water ways of Iraq. Guthrie deployed twice, for seven-and-a-half months in 2007 and another seven months in 2009. During his time in Iraq, Guthrie was deployed to Haditha Dam along the Euphrates River in Northern Iraq and Basrah which is in Southern Iraq.  

“The Riverines were a forgotten unit that didn’t make the budget cuts after the Vietnam War,” he said. “During Vietnam, the Riverines patrolled the waterways and provided other units a means of transportation and fire support. Back in Vietnam, they worked with Navy SEALs, Army Special operations and other combat units to support their ground operations.  

“I think in ‘Apocalypse Now,’ those guys on those boats are Riverines […] In 2006, the Navy wanted to get more involved in Iraq so they recommissioned Riverine Squadron One, Two and Three.” 

When reflecting on his time in service, Guthrie said, “I’m proud of it. I got to meet a lot of cool people, be around a lot of people I never would have been able to meet.”  

For Guthrie, earning certifications and building skills beyond those of an average infantryman was the highlight of his military career. He spoke in detail about having the privilege to receive elite level training  pertaining to operating vehicles, boats, weapons systems and emergency combat medicine.  

“We were fortunate enough to be trained by some of the best in the business,” he said. “Our boats were fully armored and would travel in 13 inches of water. We had access to weapons system like the MK-44 mini gun that shoots 3,000 rounds a minute […] We were so lucky […] We had UAV pilots […] We had guys that could call for close air support from helos and fixed wing aircraft […] We operated in small units so we had to be ready for anything.”  

Guthrie’s unit often patrolled in groups of eight to 10 rather than a platoon size, so every member of the squad had to learn everything they could to be maximally effective and as safe as possible. Guthrie boiled it down to the phrase “shoot, move and communicate.” He expressed how fortunate he felt to have been trained in such a broad range of skills at an elite level.   

Guthrie humbly explained these trainings allowed his team to do “some good things. We found a bunch of weapons caches […] they would hide their munitions in these little caves […] we had boats so we could get to them and we found a bunch of munitions and caught a few bad guys.”  

After leaving the Navy in 2012, Guthrie continued to serve as a member of the New Mexico National Guard, which allowed him to attend sniper school and travel to compete with the New Mexico National Guard Shooting Team. Guthrie attended approximately eight events around the country as part of this competitive team.   

To celebrate veterans on Veterans’ Day this year, Guthrie will be hosting a flag walk and providing free car washes for those who have served in the armed forces. On Friday, veterans can receive a free car wash between 4 and 6 p.m., when an attendant will be on site, at Superior Car Wash at 20th Street and Quay Avenue. On Saturday at 10 a.m., Guthrie will host his annual flag walk and would like to invite the community to bring their flags to the Limitless Fitness parking lot at 10 a.m. for display.  

Guthrie is a licensed real estate agent with Southern New Mexico Real Estate alongside his wife, Anna; owner of Superior Car Wash; and co-owner of Limitless Fitness and the Racquetball Club. Artesia residents can support these businesses by following them on Facebook and Instagram at: @SuperiorCarwashNM, @SouthernNMRealEstate, @ArtesiaRacquetandhealthclub, @LimitlessFitnessArtesia and @InspirationHomesNM.  

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