COLLAZO, RAPHAEL LORENZO

Name: Raphael Lorenzo Collazo
Rank/Branch: E3/US Army
Unit: Aero Rifle Platoon, Troop C, 3rd Squadron, 17th Cavalry (Air Cav),
12th Aviation Group
Date of Birth: 24 August 1947 (New York NY)
Home City of Record: Gardena CA
Loss Date: 17 March 1968
Country of Loss: South Vietnam
Loss Coordinates: 102643N 1060954E (XS275548)
Status (in 1973): Killed/Body Not Recovered
Category: 2
Acft/Vehicle/Ground: Ground
Refno: 1092
Other Personnel In Incident: Jlynn Ross Jr. (missing)

Source: Compiled from one or more of the following: raw data from U.S.
Government agency sources, correspondence with POW/MIA families,
published sources, interviews. Updated by the P.O.W. NETWORK in 1998.

REMARKS:

SYNOPSIS: Riflemen PFC Raphael Collazo and PFC Jlynn Ross were serving as
pointmen for their respective units on a search mission in South Vietnam.
PFC Collazo's unit, Aero Rifle Platoon of Troop C, 3rd Squadron, 17th
Cavalry, was inserted to investigate enemy activity seen in the vicinity.
Collazo's unit began a sweep of the area and encountered light resistance.
At approximately 1500 hours, PFC Ross's unit, an element of Company C, 3rd
Battalion, 47th Infantry, was brought into the area to reinforce the sweep
operation.

After helicopters had made several attack runs on a treeline, both units
started to cross a 75 meter wide rice paddy to search that treeline.  PFC
Ross was 2-4 meters from a camoflaged bunker when personnel inside opened
fire. He was reportedly hit in the chest by 50 calibre rounds and tumbled
backwards into a ditch. Due to the location of enemy fire, no one was able
to reach PFC Ross.

PFC Collazo had been pointman on the left flank when the enemy opened fire.
He had destroyed one enemy bunker and was moving down a canal to attack the
next bunker position when he was hit by a burst of automatic weapons fire.
PFC Collazo was last seen falling into the canal. An attempt to reach him
was repulsed by heavy enemy fire.

Both U.S. units were then withdrawn from the area. This position was
suspected as holding a major VC headquarters or supply dump, and was taken
under fire by artillery and air strikes that night and the next day. Troop
Charlie went back into the area on March 19 and conducted a sweep search for
both men. The only information gathered on subsequent inquiries was a report
that the VC had intercepted 2 farmers who were bringing American remains to
the District Headquarters at Dai Lay in August 1974. The report could not be
identified and the 2 farmers have not been heard of since their reported
arrest. Several refugees reported the burial of American remains in Dinh
Joung Province. These reports potentially correlate to Ross and Collazo.

Another source reported ferrying 15 VC and a black American POW across a
river, taking only the VC back across the river and returning to the scene
later to find fresh blood on the ground and a freshly dug grave. This report
potentially relates to Ross.

Nearly 2500 Americans did not return from the war in Vietnam. Thousands of
reports have been received indicating that some hundreds remain alive in
captivity. At the time of the signing of the Paris Peace Agreements, U.S.
Government intelligence knew that hundreds had been left behind. Young men
like Ross and Collazo went to Vietnam not because they wanted to go, but
because they believed it was right to go when their country asked it of
them. We cannot afford the willing abandonment of these, our best men.