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.