During the month of November in 1967, when North Vietnamese forces were building up their numbers and strength in South Vietnam in advance of what would come to be known as the Tet Offensive of 1968, there was a fierce battle fought by elements of the U.S. Army’s 173 Airborne Brigade and North Vietnamese enemy forces at Hill 875, near a place called Dak To in the Republic of Vietnam. This is one of the heroic stories to come out of that difficult battle. It is about Pfc. Carlos Lozada, a Puerto Rico born, Army M-60 machine gunner.
Lozada was serving with Alpha Co., 2nd Bn, 503rd Infantry, 173rd Airborne Brigade. Alpha Co. was one of three companies of the 503rd Infantry that were assigned with taking Hill 875. They were certain that they were going to encounter the enemy. Alpha Co. was assigned with keeping the only landing zone in the area open as the other two companies moved up the hill.
Pfc. Lozada was with three other men in a forward listening post about 35 yards outside Alpha Company’s perimeter. The terrain was thick with dense jungle growth. Lozada became aware of enemy movement in the jungle before their position and could see that it was not an attempt to probe his company’s position, but a full scale attack by a large enemy force.
Lozada opened up with his M-60 on the advancing enemy troops and within a matter of seconds had killed upwards of 20 of the enemy. That caused a momentary slow down in the attack, but they soon were coming on again in large numbers.
Lozada’s team was ordered to withdraw back to the Alpha Company lines as the company was going to withdraw to a safer position. Lozada could see that someone had to hold the ground long enough to enable his team and Alpha Co. to make their withdrawal. He decided to stay.
He told the rest of his team to fall back with the company. He continued to pour machine gun fire on the advancing enemy. By this time the enemy was on three sides of him. He must have known that he was not going to make it out of there, but he just kept laying down heavy suppressive fire as much as he could. He was finally mortally wounded by the enemy, but his efforts had given his Company the time and the room to make their move.
For his actions that day, November 20, 1967, Pfc Carlos Lozada was awarded the Medal of Honor, thus becoming one of only a small handful of Puerto Ricans to be so recognized.
The Veterans Site is is pleased to bring Pfc. Carlos Lozada to the attention of our readers. We honor his uncommon, selfless courage in defense of his brothers-in-arms during the Battle of Dak To in November of 1967. He modeled the best of our military tradition and in doing so saved the lives of his Alpha Co. brothers.
We will never forget. Hooah!Whizzco