TERAN, REFUGIO THOMAS Remains Identified 03/2002
Name: Refugio Thomas "Tom" Teran Rank/Branch: E3/US Army Unit: 2nd Battalion, 501st Infantry, 101st Airborne Division Date of Birth: 08 May 1949 (Detroit MI) Home City of Record: Westland MI Date of Loss: 06 May 1970 Country of Loss: South Vietnam Loss Coordinates: 163840N 1065600E (YD081411) Status (in 1973): Missing In Action Category: 2 Acft/Vehicle/Ground: Ground Refno: 1613
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 2014.
Other Personnel In Incident: Larry G. Kier (missing)
SYNOPSIS: Every week while he was in Vietnam, Refugio Teran got a package from his mother containing 30 pounds of oatmeal, canned fruit and sugar, which Teran gave to a Vietnamese family near the base where he was stationed.
On May 4, "in the world", National Guardsmen had been called in to control rioting at Kent State and then Governor Ronald Reagan ordered California universities closed for the rest of the week.
During the night of May 5, 1970 (12 hours in time behind Vietnam time), Mrs. Anna Teran woke up screaming, knowing she would lose her son.
On May 6, 1970, PFC Larry G. Kier and PFC Refugio T. Teran were assigned to separate companies of the 101st Airborne Division as riflemen defending an artillery fire support base in South Vietnam.
At about 0500 hours on May 6, 1970, Viet Cong forces overran a guard station at an ammunition dump near Henderson Hill in Quang Tri Province, South Vietnam, killing 33 Americans. Kier and Teran were last seen running toward a barricade, and when not seen again, were presumed dead. Kier's position was reportedly hit by a rocket-propelled grenade (RPG), and then napalm ignited in his location which was leaking from a nearby position. PFC Teran had been located in another firing position along the camp perimeter.
The next day, a graves registration detail collecting bodies was unable to find any trace of Kier and Teran. Five others in the unit who had been believed dead were found alive, but injured.
When 591 Americans were released from Vietnam in 1973, Kier and Teran were not among them. There has been no word surface about them since they disappeared.
Since 1973, nearly 10,000 reports have been given to the U.S. Government regarding Americans still in Southeast Asia. Some have withstood the "closest scrutiny" possible, and cannot be disputed. There is very strong reason to believe that Americans are still held captive in Southeast Asia today.
Unlike "MIAs" from other wars, most of the nearly 2500 Americans who did not come home from Vietnam can easily be accounted for, dead or alive. We, as a nation, must turn our immediate attention to those who are alive and do everything possible to secure their freedom.
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SMITH 324 COMPELLING CASES
South Vietnam Larry G. Kier Refugio T. Terran (1613)
On May 6, 1970, Private First Class Kier and Private First Class Terran were at a fire support base in Quang Tri Province. Their position came under an enemy attack and a nearby ammunition dump 20 meters from their bunker was hit by a rocket propelled grenade. Napalm from the ammunition dump leaked into their position which caught fire and burned. After the attack Terran could not be located, and Kier, at a separate location, could not be located either. Both individuals were declared killed in action, body not recovered in the late 1970s.
In August 1991, a Vietnam resident turned over the partially melted identity card belonging to Kier together with two bone fragments. The bones were reportedly recovered during 1987 and were turned over to a U.S. representative in Hanoi. The fragments are currently undergoing analysis.
LEAGUE UPDATE: March 7, 2002
AMERICANS ACCOUNTED FOR: According to the Department of Defense, there are now 1,936 Americans still missing and unaccounted for from the Vietnam War. Most recently, remains jointly recovered in June, 1994, were identified as Air Force Colonels Peter M. Cleary of CT and Leonardo C. Leonor of NY, both listed as MIA October 10, 1972 in North Vietnam. Also recently identified were Army SSGs Larry G. Kier of NB and Rufugio T. Teran of MI, missing in a South Vietnam ground incident since May 6, 1970. Local villagers initially provided remains in August 1992; joint operations resulted in further information and remains. Others recently accounted for include Air Force Col William C. Coltman of PA and LtCol Robert A. Brett, Jr., of OR, missing in Laos since September 29, 1972, with remains jointly recovered August 28, 2000.
Refugio Teran, left, sits on a couch as his wife, Anna Bertha Teran, looks at a photo of their son, Staff Sgt. Refugio Thomas Teran, whose remains were recently discovered in Vietnam and returned to the United States.
MIA's body returned home after 32 years Westland soldier to be buried at Arlington
By Jennifer Brooks / The Detroit News March 26, 2002
WESTLAND -- Thirty-two years after he vanished in the jungles of Vietnam, Refugio Thomas Teran is coming home.....
The Detroit News Friday, December 27, 2002
Anna Teran, searched tirelessly for missing soldier son Jennifer Brooks
WESTLAND -- For 32 years, Anna Bertha Teran moved heaven and earth to find her lost son after he was declared missing in action in the Vietnam War.
They found him this year on the battle-scarred hillside where he died on Mother's Day 1970 and brought him home for a hero's burial in Arlington National Cemetery.....