By Steven Adamo
On this Memorial Day, we remember former Elan Raul Guerra — whose remains were buried in Whittier last month, 52 years after his death in Vietnam.
Guerra studied Journalism at ELAC and became editor-in-chief of ELAC Campus News in 1963, as well as editor of ELAN magazine in 1964. Guerra was killed in Vietnam on October 8, 1967 while on board a Grumman E-1B Tracer.
In a news release published March 27, the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency said Guerra’s remains were located in 2004 by a joint U.S./Socialist Republic of Vietnam team. The next year, human remains were identified by the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command Central Identification Laboratory, however Guerra’s remains couldn’t be identified due to lack of family reference samples.
Other service members who died with Guerra include Roland Pineau, Norman Lee Roggow, Donald Wolfe and Andrew Zissu. According to the DPAA, there are over 1,500 Americans who are still unaccounted due to the war in Vietnam.
After joining the United States Navy Reserves in July 17, 1965, Guerra was assigned to the Long Beach Public Affairs Office aboard the USS Oriskany. While stationed on the Oriskany, Guerra was a Journalist Third Class and was the editor of the ship’s newspaper.
Shortly after his death, the Raul Guerra Scholarship was created and awarded to Journalism students at ELAC. Russell Paine, head of the ELAC Journalism Department at the time, helped fund the scholarship along with others in the community including the Montebello News where Guerra worked.
In an article of ELAC Campus News dated January 11, 1984; John Hoak, ELAC journalism professor and editor of the Montebello News, shared a letter Guerra wrote to him dated October 5, 1967. In the article, Guerra is quoted “I want to find out for myself about air warfare.”