Collazo, Raphael Lorenzo, SGT

 Photo In Uniform   Service Details
View Time Line
Last Rank
Last Service Branch
Last Primary MOS
Last MOS Group
Infantry (Enlisted)
Primary Unit
1967-1968, 11B20, C Troop, 3rd Squadron, 17th Cavalry Regiment
Service Years
1965 - 1968


One Service Stripe

Two Overseas Service Bars

 Last Photo   Personal Details 

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Home State
Year of Birth
This Military Service Page was created/owned by Sgt. S. Kimbrow to remember Collazo, Raphael Lorenzo, SGT.

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Casualty Info
Home Town
Gardena, CA
Last Address
Gardena, CA

Casualty Date
Mar 17, 1968
Hostile, Died while Missing
Gun, Small Arms Fire
Dinh Tuong (Vietnam)
Vietnam War
Location of Interment
Los Angeles National Cemetery - Los Angeles, California
Wall/Plot Coordinates
04W 096/ 58, F-26

 Official Badges 

 Unofficial Badges 

 Military Associations and Other Affiliations
Vietnam Veterans MemorialThe National Gold Star Family Registry
  1968, Vietnam Veterans Memorial [Verified] - Assoc. Page
  2018, The National Gold Star Family Registry

 Photo Album   (More...

 Ribbon Bar

Combat Infantryman 1st Award

 Unit Assignments/ Advancement Schools
3rd Squadron, 17th Cavalry Regiment1st Aviation Brigade
  1967-1968, 11B20, C Troop, 3rd Squadron, 17th Cavalry Regiment
  1967-1968, 11B20, 1st Aviation Brigade
 Combat and Non-Combat Operations
  1968-1968 Vietnam War/Counteroffensive Phase III Campaign (1967-68)
  1968-1968 Vietnam War/Tet Counteroffensive Campaign (1968)
 Additional Information
Last Known Activity
Distinguished Service Cross

Awarded posthumously for actions during the Vietnam War The President of the United States of America, authorized by Act of Congress, July 9, 1918 (amended by act of July 25, 1963), takes pride in presenting the Distinguished Service Cross (Posthumously) to Private First Class Raphael Lorenzo Collazo, United States Army, for extraordinary heroism in action while serving as the point man of the lead squad of the Aero Rifle Platoon of Troop C, 3d Squadron, 17th Air Cavalry, in support of the United States 9th Infantry Division Operations in Dinh Tuong Province, Republic of Vietnam on 17 March 1968.

Private Collazo's platoon came under heavy enemy automatic weapons fire as it moved along a canal in search of enemy elements. Private Collazo immediately returned fire to cover his fellow platoon members as they maneuvered into the canal. Having located the source of the enemy fire, he moved around the left flank of his platoon and into another canal which ran directly beside the heavily defended enemy position. Private Collazo then, with utter disregard for his own personal safety, assaulted and single-handedly destroyed the enemy bunker with grenade and rifle fire. As he did, another enemy position on the other side of the canal began firing in the direction of his platoon. Realizing that this weapon too, was a threat to the lives of the men of his platoon, he again began moving toward a heavily defended hostile position.

Using a small sampan as cover, he was able to advance to within a few feet of the enemy before being seen. Then, while receiving fire from both sides of the canal, Private Collazo fought in two directions and was able to advance to within inches of his objective before being killed by the murderous crossfire. Through his resolute fearlessness, intense concern for his fellow soldier, and total disregard for his own personal safety, Private Collazo enabled the platoon to complete its mission and effect a successful extraction without further losses.

His extraordinary heroism, uncommon valor, and intrepidity at the cost of his own life, above and beyond the call of duty, are in the highest traditions of the United States Army and reflect great credit upon himself, his unit, and the Armed Forces of his country.

General Orders: Department of the Army, General Orders No. 57 (October 17, 1968)
Action Date: March 17, 1968
Service: Army
Rank: Private First Class
Company: Troop C, 3d Squadron
Regiment: 17th Air Cavalry Regiment, 1st Aviation Brigade

gt Collazo left a wife and daughter at his passing.



On 17 March 1968, PFC Collazo's unit was inserted to investigate enemy activity seen in the vicinity (roughly 1 mile northwest of Dong Tam and 2 miles west of Khiem Leh).

His unit began a sweep of the area and encountered light resistance. At approximately 1500 hours, PFC Jlynn "Jay" 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 19 March 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.

Listed as MIA, his body was returned 19 May 1993. He was interred in Los Angeles National Cemetery, California. Ross's remains were identified and returned 14 June 1996.
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