|Rank/Branch:||Staff Sergeant/US Army|
5th Infantry (Mechanized)
25th Infantry Division
|Date of Birth:||15 January 1947|
|Home of Record:||Mayaguez, Puerto Rico|
|Date of Loss:||22 August 1968|
|Country of Loss:||South Vietnam|
Click coordinates to view maps
|Status in 1973:||Missing In Action|
|Other Personnel in Incident:||Philip T. DeLorenzo, Jr. (killed, body recovered)|
SYNOPSIS: On 22 August 1968, then PFC Humberto Acosta-Rosario was assigned as a machine gunner on a reconnaissance in force mission near Highway 4 in the vicinity of the Ben Cui Rubber Plantation when his unit came under heavy attack by North Vietnamese Army (NVA) regulars. This plantation was located on the west edge of a long narrow, northwest/southeast running valley surrounded by dense and reasonably flat jungle approximately 30 miles east of the South Vietnamese/Cambodian border, 11 miles east of the city of Tay Ninh and 4 miles south of Dua Tieng, Tay Ninh Province, South Vietnam.
Company B was in a blocking position when it was forced to withdraw from the battlefield under heavy enemy attack. After regrouping, other patrol members discovered that PFC Acosta-Rosario and another machine gunner, PFC Philip T. DeLorenzo, Jr., were missing. The last time Humberto Acosta-Rosario was seen, he was wearing a T-shirt, jungle fatigue pants, a steel helmet and a gold Seiko watch.
Artillery fire and helicopter gunships were called in to lay down suppressive fire in the area once held by Company B and now was under NVA control. When the communists were driven back, Company B returned to its original position. In the hours that followed, an extensive ground search was conducted by members of Company B for the two missing soldiers.
During that time, they recovered PFC DeLorenzo's body along with the two M-60 machine guns. Fresh graves in the area were also found and investigated, but they only held Asian remains. Over the next several days, two other battalions were brought in to sweep the area for any ongoing enemy activity while searching for PFC Acosta-Rosario, but they found no trace of him in or around the battle site. At the time the formal search effort was terminated, Humberto Acosta-Rosario was listed Missing in Action.
Over the next months, two intelligence reports were received and analyzed by US intelligence agencies that pertain to the missing machine gunner. These reports documented that Humberto Acosta-Rosario was in fact captured by NVA forces during the battle near the Ben Cui Rubber Plantation. In spite of this overwhelming and conclusive evidence, the US military chose not to upgrade his status to Prisoner of War.
In April 1991 the US government released a list of Prisoners of War and Missing in Action who were known to be alive in enemy hands and for whom there is no evidence that he or she died in captivity. This list, commonly referred to today as the USG's "Last Known Alive" list, included Humberto Acosta-Rosario.
Since the end of the Vietnam War well over 21,000 reports of American prisoners, missing and otherwise unaccounted for have been received by our government. Many of these reports document LIVE American POWs remaining captive throughout Southeast Asia TODAY.
Military men in Vietnam were called upon to fight in many dangerous circumstances, and they were prepared to be wounded, killed or captured. It probably never occurred to them that they could be abandoned by the country they so proudly served.