Image
Ssg MANUEL R. PUENTES
ARMY

Manuel Rameriz Puentes was born on August 28, 1950. According to our records Texas was his home or enlistment state and El Paso County included within the archival record. We have El Paso listed as the city.

He was drafted into the Army. Entered via Selective Service. Served during the Vietnam War. He had the rank of Staff Sergeant. Service number was 455821311. Served with Americal Division, 1st Squadron, 1st Cavalry, B Troop.

Puentes was reported missing and ultimately declared dead on March 25, 1971. Recorded circumstances attributed to: “Died while missing in action, Body not recovered”. Incident location: South Vietnam, Quang Tri province.

Staff Sergeant Puentes was a rifleman with Troop B, 1st Squadron, 1st Cavalry Regiment, 23rd Infantry Division (Americal). On March 25, 1971, he was on a 12 man patrol in northwest Quang Tri Province, South Vietnam a few miles south of the Demilitarized Zone when the patrol was ambushed killing him. His remains were not recovered.


Manuel Rameriz Puentes is buried or memorialized at Courts of the Missing at the Honolulu Memorial. This is an American Battle Monuments Commission location.

Manuel is honored on the Vietnam Veteran’s Memorial in Washington DC. Name inscribed at VVM Wall, Panel 04w, Line 78.

Image

Honor and Remember Nebraska Chapter is pleased to present this flag sponsored by UNMC Nursing Class of 2015 to the family of Ssg Manuel R. Puentes.


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.

As the patrol moved through the hotly contested area just east of a secondary road that generally ran north/south through the mountains, it was ambushed by an enemy force of unknown size.

Surviving patrol members reported that Richard Rossano was the first American to be wounded. After being struck in the chest by shrapnel from a grenade, Cpl. Rossano was seen clutching his chest, which was covered in blood, before falling to the ground.

Shortly thereafter Manuel Puentes was wounded. He was observed moving under his own power in front of other patrol members’ positions as he sought cover.

As the intense firefight continued, RD McDonell picked up an enemy grenade that had landed near him. However, before he could throw it back toward the enemy, it exploded in his hand killing him instantly.

The radio operator reported the rapidly deteriorating conditions in which the patrol found itself. As they withdrew, they were forced to leave PFC Puentes, Cpl. Rossano, SSgt. McDonell and Jimmy Johnson, the patrol leader, behind.


The reaction force made several attempts to reenter the battle site, but well-entrenched communist forces blocked each attempt. When American personnel were finally able to enter the ambush site, they found Jimmy Johnson badly wounded, but still alive. He had sustained several serious wounds to his lower body. After medically evacuating Jimmy Johnson, the team searched in and around the battle site for RD McDonell, Richard Rossano and Manuel Puentes, but found no trace of the missing riflemen.

Likewise, they found no sign of freshly dug graves. At the time the search effort was terminated, RD McDonell and Richard Rossano were listed Killed in Action/Body Not Recovered and Manuel Puentes was listed Missing in Action.


WAR/CONFLICT
Vietnam

DATE OF DEATH
21 March 1971

LOCATION OF DEATH
South Vietnam

FLAG SPONSOR
UNMC Nursing Class of 2015
Presented: 21 May 2016