PUENTES, MANUEL RAMERIZ

Name: Manuel Rameriz Puentes
Rank/Branch: E3/US Army
Unit: Troop B, 1st Squad, 1st Cavalry, 23rd Infantry Division (Americal)
Date of Birth: 28 August 1950
Home City of Record: El Paso TX
Date of Loss: 25 March 1971
Country of Loss: South Vietnam
Loss Coordinates: 164252N 1064203E (XD813486)
Status (in 1973): Killed/Body Not Recovered
Category: 2
Aircraft/Vehicle/Ground: Ground
Refno: 1736

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: R.D. McDonell; Richard J. Rossano (missing)

REMARKS: KIA BY GRENADE/AMBUSH - J

SYNOPSIS: On March 25, 1971, PFC Manuel R. Puentes, PFC Richard J. Rossano,
and SSgt. R.D. McDonell were rifleman and members of a 12 man combat patrol
operating in northwest Quang Tri Province, South Vietnam, a few miles south
of the demilitarized zone (DMZ). Their patrol leader was Jimmy C. Johnson.

During the patrol, the team was ambushed by enemy forces. It was reported
that PFC Rossano was the first man to be hit, apparently by a blast from a
grenade. Puentes was seen wounded, but moving under his own power seeking
cover. The patrol was forced to withdraw. Johnson, Puentes, Rossano and
McDonell were left behind.

Attempts by reaction forces to reenter the area were unsuccessful. Johnson
was later recovered with bad wounds in the lower body. He reported that Sgt.
McDonell had picked up a grenade to throw it back at the enemy, but the
device had exploded in his hand, killing him immediately.

McDonell was listed as killed, body not recovered. Rossano was also
considered to be dead, but his body was not recovered. Puentes was declared
Missing in Action, since he was last seen alive. There is a distinct
possibility that he was captured. The Vietnamese undoubtedly know the fates
of all three men.

Since the war ended in Southeast Asia, thousands of refugee reports have
been received indicating that many Americans are still alive in captivity.
Men like McDonell and Rossano gave all they had for the cause of freedom.
Puentes may yet be serving his country. Can we afford to turn our backs on
these men?