Humberto Acosta-Rosario

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Humberto Acosta-Rosario
AcostaRosario.jpg
PFC Humberto Acosta-Rosario
Only Puerto Rican MIA whose body has never been recovered
Born (1947-01-15)January 15, 1947
Mayagüez, Puerto Rico
Died August 22, 1968(1968-08-22) (aged 21)
Tay Ninh City, Vietnam
Buried at Puerto Rico National Cemetery in Bayamon, Puerto Rico
Allegiance United States United States of America
Service/branch United States Department of the Army Seal.svg United States Army
Years of service 1967-1968
Rank Army-USA-OR-02.svg
Private First Class
Unit Company B, 1st Battalion, 5th Infantry (Mechanized); 25th Infantry Division
Battles/wars Vietnam War
Awards Purple Heart BAR.svg Purple Heart

PFC Humberto Acosta-Rosario[note 1] (January 15, 1947 – August 22, 1968) was a member of Company B, 1st Battalion, 5th Infantry (Mechanized); 25th Infantry Division, United States Army who is currently the only Puerto Rican MIA whose body has never been recovered.

Early years[edit]

Acosta-Rosairo was born and raised in the city of Mayagüez, Puerto Rico, which is located in the western coast of Puerto Rico. He joined the Army after graduating from high school.

Vietnam War[edit]

In 1968, Acosta-Rosario was ordered to South Vietnam and assigned to Company B, 1st Battalion, 5th Infantry (Mechanized); 25th Infantry Division. In his unit he served as a machine gunner.[1]

MIA[edit]

On August 22, 1968, Acosta-Rosario accompanied some members of his unit during a reconnaissance mission. His unit was attacked by North Vietnamese Army (NVA) regulars in the vicinity of Ben Cui Rubber Plantation, east of Tay Ninh City, Tay Ninh Province. His unit, Company B, was forced to withdraw from the battlefield under heavy enemy attack. The unit regrouped and discovered that PFC Acosta-Rosario and another machine gunner, PFC Philip T. DeLorenzo, Jr., were missing. Acosta-Rosario's platoon sergeant stated that he believed PFC Acosta-Rosario had been hit by enemy fire prior to the unit's withdrawal.[2]

The NVA forces were driven back after artillery fire and helicopter gunships were called in and Company B returned to its original position. An extensive ground search was conducted by members of Company B for the two missing soldiers. The only body recovered was that of PFC DeLorenzo's, along with the two M-60 machine guns. A search by two battalions who were brought in to sweep the area of only enemy activity did not produce Acosta-Rosario's body and he was officially listed as Missing in Action.[3]

Friendly forces captured documents from the Vietnam People's Army 7th Infantry Division dated August 23, 1968. The documents were analyzed by U.S. intelligence agencies. The reports documented that Humberto Acosta-Rosario was in fact captured by NVA forces during the battle near the Ben Cui Rubber Plantation. However, the U.S. military chose not to upgrade his status to Prisoner of War.

Acosta-Rosario's name was listed in the United States Government's "Last Known Alive" list. This list, which was released by the U.S. Government in April 1991, contains the names 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.[4] In March 1978, Acosta-Rosario was declared dead/body not recovered based on a presumptive finding of death.

Postscript[edit]

PFC Humberto Acosta-Rosario was posthumously promoted to the rank of Staff Sergeant. His name is on panel 47W, line 030 of the Vietnam Memorial Wall in Washington, D.C. and he is also list in El Monumento de la Recordación located in San Juan, Puerto Rico. There is a headstone with his name inscribed Plot: MB 0 6 of Puerto Rican National Cemetery in Bayamon, Puerto Rico.[5]

Military decorations awarded[edit]

El Monumento de la Recordación

Acosta-Rosario was awarded the following decorations:

 
Purple Heart Valorous Unit Award
National Defense Service Medal Vietnam Service Medal Vietnam Campaign Medal

Badges:

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^
    This name uses Spanish naming customs; the first or paternal family name is Acosta and the second or maternal family name is Rosario.

References[edit]