PFC Humberto Acosta-Rosario
Only Puerto Rican MIA whose body has never been recovered
|Born||January 15, 1947|
|Died||August 22, 1968(aged 21)|
|Place of birth||Mayagüez, Puerto Rico|
|Place of death||Tay Ninh City, Vietnam|
|Buried at||Puerto Rico National Cemetery in Bayamon, Puerto Rico|
|Allegiance||United States of America|
|Service/branch||United States Army|
|Years of service||1967-1968|
Private First Class
|Unit||Company B, 1st Battalion, 5th Infantry (Mechanized); 25th Infantry Division|
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.
Acosta-Rosario 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.
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.
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.
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. In March 1978, Acosta-Rosario was declared dead/body not recovered based on a presumptive finding of death.
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.
Military decorations awarded
Acosta-Rosario was awarded the following decorations:
|Purple Heart||Valorous Unit Award|
|National Defense Service Medal||Vietnam Service Medal||Vietnam Campaign Medal|