LATIMER, CLARENCE ALBERT

Name: Clarence Albert Latimer
Rank/Branch: E4/US Army
Unit: Company A, 3rd Battalion, 12th Infantry, 4th Infantry Division
Date of Birth: 27 August 1947 (Charlotte NC)
Home City of Record: Due West SC
Date of Loss: 30 March 1969
Country of Loss: South Vietnam
Loss Coordinates: 141725N 1073715E (YA826811)
Status (in 1973): Missing In Action
Category: 2
Aircraft/Vehicle/Ground: Ground
Refno: 1419

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.

Other Personnel In Incident: Raymond G. Czerwiec; Gail M. Kerns (released
POW)

REMARKS:

SYNOPSIS: On March 27, 1969, Raymond Czerwiec and Gail Mason were riflemen
with A Company, 3rd Battalion, 12th Infantry and on a reconnaissance mission
in Kontum Province, South Vietnam when their platoon came under hostile
weapons fire and were forced to withdraw with a number of people missing.

An attempt to re-enter the area that afternoon was unsuccessful. Another
attempt was made on the 28th but it was also unsuccessful. Air strikes and
artillery fire were placed into the enemy area for two days.

On March 30, Company A attacked the enemy again, and was again forced to
withdraw, leaving people behind, including SP4 Clarence A. Latimer, who was
a rifleman with the company and had been severely wounded during the
attempt.

Two long range reconnaissance patrols (LRRP) were sent back into the area a
week later to recover the bodies of the missing. Sweeps were made of the
area for two days, but no remains were found. Clarence A. Latimer was
declared Missing In Action.

On March 3, 1973, Gail Kerns was released by the North Vietnamese. He had
been held in South Vietnam, and moved to Hanoi prior to his release. No word
had ever gotten out to the U.S. that Gail had been captured. Kerns was not
conscious when he was captured, and did not know the fate of Ray Czerwiec,
nor did he have information regarding Clarence Latimer.

Evidence of secondary prison systems has surfaced since the latter years of
the war. It is suspected, as reports mount that hundreds of Americans were
withheld from release and are still alive today, that prisoners within a
second system were kept completely separate from the others. This would
allow a large number of POWs to be held without knowledge of other
prisoners.

Nearly 10,000 reports have been received relating to Americans in Southeast
Asia. Whether Czerwiec and Latimer are among those thought to be still alive
is not certain. What is certain, however, is none of them deserve
abandonment by the country they proudly served.