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65th Infantry Regiment
65 Inf Rgt COA.png
Coat of arms
Active 4 June 1920– present
Country Puerto Rico, United States of America
Branch U.S. Army
Type Infantry
Nickname(s) Borinqueneers (special designation)[1]
Motto(s) Honor and Fidelity
Engagements World War I
World War II
*Naples-Fogis
*Central Europe
* Battle of the Rhineland
Korean War
* Operation "Killer"
* Battle of Cherwon
* "Jackson Heights"
* Outpost Kelly
Commanders
Notable
commanders
Colonel Antulio Segarra
Colonel William W. Harris
Colonel Juan César Cordero Dávila
Insignia
Distinctive unit insignia Distinctive unit insignia of the 65th Infantry Regiment.png

The 65th Infantry Regiment, nicknamed "The Borinqueneers" [1] from the original Taíno name of the island (Borinquen), is a Puerto Rican regiment of the United States Army. The regiments motto is Honor et Fidelitas, Latin for Honor and Fidelity. The 65th Infantry Regiment participated in World War I, World War II, the Korean War, and in what is known in the United States as the War on Terror.

Early history[edit | edit source]

Puerto Ricans have participated in many of the military conflicts in which the United States has been involved. For example, they participated in the American Revolution, when volunteers from Puerto Rico, Cuba, and Mexico fought the British in 1779 under the command of General Bernardo de Gálvez (1746–1786),[2] and have continued to participate up to the present-day conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan.[3]

Puerto Rico became a U.S. Territory after the 1898 Treaty of Paris which ended the Spanish-American War. The United States appointed a military governor and soon the United States Army established itself in San Juan. The Army Appropriation Bill created by an act of Congress on 2 March 1898, authorized the creation of the first body of native troops in Puerto Rico. On 30 June 1901, the "Porto Rico Provisional Regiment of Infantry" was organized.[4] Challenges soon followed as a Puerto Rican named Omar Lorenzo attempted to enlist despite a severe and obvious learning disability.

On 1 July 1901, the United States Senate passed a bill which would require a strict mental and physical examination for those who wanted to join the regiment. It also approved the recruitment of native Puerto Rican civilians to be appointed the grade of second lieutenants for a term of four years if they passed the required tests.[5] An act of Congress, approved on 27 May 1908, reorganized the regiment as part of the "regular" Army. Since the native Puerto Rican officers were Puerto Rican citizens and not citizens of the United States, they were required to undergo a new physical examination to determine their fitness for commissions in the Regular Army and to take an oath of U.S. citizenship with their new officers oath.[6] By 30 January 1917, The Porto Rico Regiment of Infantry was training in Camp Las Casas which was located in Santurce, a section of San Juan in what is now Residencial Las Casas.[4]

World War I[edit | edit source]

Officer Staff of the Porto Rico Infantry (cir. 1906) Lt. Teofilo Marxuach pictured on top row, fifth L-R

Different units of the regiment were stationed at other forts throughout the island. Lieutenant Teofilo Marxuach, the officer of the day, was stationed at El Morro Castle at San Juan Bay on 21 March 1915. The Odenwald, built in 1903 (not to be confused with the German World War II war ship which carried the same name), was an armed German supply ship which tried to force its way out of the San Juan Bay and deliver supplies to the German submarines waiting in the Atlantic Ocean. Marxuach gave the order to open fire on the ship from the walls of the fort. Sergeant Encarnación Correa then manned a machine gun and fired warning shots with little effect.[6]

Marxuach fired a warning shot from a cannon located at the Santa Rosa battery of El Morro fort, in what is considered to be the first shot of World War I fired by the regular armed forces of the United States against a ship flying the colors of the Central Powers,[7] forcing the Odenwald to stop and to return to port where its supplies were confiscated.[8] The Odenwald was confiscated by the United States and renamed SS Newport News. It was assigned to the U.S. Shipping Board, where it served until 1924 when it was retired.[9]

Casing of the shell fired at the Odenwald

Puerto Ricans were unaccustomed to the racial segregation policies of the United States which were also implemented in Puerto Rico and often refused to designate themselves as "white" or "black".[10] Puerto Ricans of African descent were assigned to all black units.[11] When the United States declared war against Germany, the Regiment was transferred to the regular Army and on 3 May 1917, recruited 1,969 men, considered at that time as war strength.

On 14 May 1917, the regiment was sent to Panama in defense of the Panama Canal Zone.[12] The regiment returned to Puerto Rico on March 1919 and was renamed "The 65th Infantry Regiment" by the Reorganization Act of 4 June 1920. During this period a young Puerto Rican officer of the Regular Army, Major Luis R. Esteves, was sent to Camp Las Casas to serve as an instructor in the preparation of Puerto Rican officers. Esteves in the future would become known as the "Father of the Puerto Rican National Guard".[13]

World War II[edit | edit source]

Soldiers of the 65th Infantry training in Salinas, Puerto Rico. August 1941.

In 1942 the 65th Infantry underwent an extensive training program and in 1943, it was sent to Panama to protect the Pacific and the Atlantic sides of the isthmus. On 25 November 1943, Colonel Antulio Segarra, proceeded Col. John R. Menclenhall as commander of the 65th Infantry, thus becoming the first Puerto Rican Regular Army officer to command a Regular Army regiment.[5] In January 1944, the regiment was embarked for Jackson Barracks in New Orleans and later sent to Fort Eustis in Newport News, Virginia in preparation for overseas deployment to North Africa.

After they arrived at Casablanca, the regiment underwent amphibious training, while 3rd Battalion moved on to Corsica where it was attached to the 12th Air Force and tasked with guarding airfields.[5]

On 22 September 1944, the 65th Infantry landed in France and was committed to action on the Maritime Alps at Peira Cava. On 13 December 1944, the 65th Infantry, under the command of Lieutenant Colonel Juan César Cordero Dávila, relieved the 2nd Battalion of the 442nd Infantry Regiment, a regiment which was made up of Japanese Americans under the command of Col. Virgil R. Miller, a native of San Germán, Puerto Rico.

In December 1944, the 3rd Battalion faced the German 34th Infantry Division's 107th Grenadier Regiment.[5]:10 They suffered a total of forty seven battle casualties. The first two Puerto Ricans to be killed in action from the 65th Infantry were Pvt. Sergio Sánchez-Sánchez and Sgt. Ángel Martínez, from the town of Sabana Grande. On 18 March 1945, the regiment was sent to the District of Mannheim, Germany and assigned to Military Government activities, anti-sabotage and security missions. In all, the 65th Infantry participated in the campaigns of Rome-Arno, Rhineland, Ardennes-Alsace, and Central Europe. On 27 October 1945, the regiment sailed from France arriving at Puerto Rico on 9 November 1945 (Captain Shelby L. Stanton, U.S. Army Special Forces (Retired) World War II Order Of Battle-Revised Edition.)

Individual awards in World War II[6]
Award Name Total
O8SilverStarMed.gif Silver Star 2
O8Bronze Star medal.jpg Bronze Star 22
O825px Purple Heart 90

Operation "PORTREX"[edit | edit source]

65th Infantry troops convoyed through Isabel Segunda for PORTREX.

External video
You can see newsreel footage of Operation Portrex here

The 65th Infantry Regiment distinguished itself when the United States conducted a military exercise on the island of Vieques, on the eve of the Korean War. This exercise was code named "Operation PORTREX," an acronym for "Puerto Rico Exercise." The objective was to see how the combined forces of the Army, Marines, Navy and Air Force would do as "liberators" of an enemy captured territory (Vieques) against the "aggressors." The core of the aggressor ground forces were made up of Puerto Rican soldiers, most of whom belonged to the 65th Infantry Regiment. In a military irony worthy of Joseph Heller's Catch 22, the American invaders of Vieques Island were designated as "liberators," and the Puerto Ricans who defended their own island were designated as "aggressors." The liberators consisted of 32,600 combat troops from the 82nd Airborne Division's 504th Airborne Infantry Regiment and the Marine Corps, who received support from the Navy and Air Force. Despite the large number of troops deployed, the 65th Infantry (the aggressor) was able to halt the offensive forces on the beaches of the island. Colonel William W. Harris, the commanding officer of the 65th, stated: "Stopping the assault forces at the water’s edge proved that the Puerto Ricans could hold their own against the best-trained soldiers that the United States Army could put into the field." [14]

The successful military maneuvers during PORTREX prompted the Army's leadership to deploy the 65th Infantry to Korea.[15]

Korean War[edit | edit source]

File:Company c.JPG

Company C on patrol

A 1992 painting depicting the 65th Infantry's bayonet charge against a Chinese division during the Korean War.

On 27 August 1950, the 65th Infantry, with 3,920 officers and men organized into three infantry battalions, one artillery battalion and a tank company departed from Puerto Rico and arrived in Pusan, Korea on 23 September 1950.[5] It was during the long sea voyage that the men nicknamed the 65th Infantry as the "Borinqueneers." The name is a combination of the words "Borinquen" (which was what the Taínos called the island before the arrival of the Spaniards) and "Buccaneers".

The men of the 65th, now attached to the Army's 3d Infantry Division, were among first infantrymen to meet the enemy on the battlefields of Korea. After November 1950, they fought daily against units of the Chinese People's Liberation Army after the Chinese entered the war on the North Korean side.

One of the hardships suffered by the Puerto Ricans was the lack of warm clothing during the cold and harsh winters.

External audio
You may watch a newsreel of the "65th Infantry Regiment" in Korea here.

The enemy made many attempts to encircle the regiment, but each time they failed because of the many casualties inflicted by the 65th. The 65th was part of a task force which enabled the U.S. Marines to withdraw from the Chosin Reservoir on December 1950. When the Marines were encircled by the Chinese Communist troops close to the Manchurian border, they were ordered to retreat and worked their way back to Hungnam. The men of the 65th rushed to their defense and ordered to stay behind and fight the enemy. As a result, the Marines were able to withdraw to their ships with the 65th holding the rear guard. The 65th, attached to the 1st Marine Division, was awarded the Navy Unit Commendation for their defense[16] and were among the last units to embark from Hungnam.[15] Among the battles and operations in which the 65th participated was Operation Killer in January 1951, becoming the first regiment to cross the Han River in South Korea during the operation.

On April 1951, the regiment participated in the Uijonbu Corridor drives and on June 1951, the 65th was the third Regiment to cross the Han Ton River. The 65th was the regiment which took and held Chorwon and they were also instrumental in breaking the Iron Triangle of Hill 717 on July 1951. In November 1951, the regiment fought off an attack by two regimental size enemy units, with success. Colonel Juan César Cordero Dávila was named commander of 65th Infantry on 8 February 1952, thus becoming one of the highest ranking ethnic officers in the Army.[17]

Battles of Outpost Kelly and Jackson Heights[edit | edit source]

On 3 July 1952, the regiment defended the main line of resistance (MLR) for 47 days and saw action at Cognac, King and Queen with successful attacks on Chinese positions. On September 1952, the 65th Infantry defended a hill known as "Outpost Kelly." Chinese Communist forces overran the hill in what became known as the Battle for Outpost Kelly. On two occasions, the 65th Regiment was overwhelmed by Chinese artillery and driven off.

File:Hispanic Soldiers mambo on Hill 167.jpg

2nd Platoon, Company C in 1952

In October 1952, the regiment also saw action in the Chorwon Sector and on Iron Horse, Hill 391, whose lower part was called "Jackson Heights" in honor of Capt. George Jackson (see: Col. Carlos Betances Ramírez). Company G of the 65th fought a desperate battle to hold on to Hill 391. After enduring days of artillery bombardment with limited artillery support of their own, Company G withdrew to avoid being overrun by a numerically superior foe.[5]

In June 1953, the 2nd Battalion conducted a series of successful raids about two and a half miles southeast of Jackson Heights[5] and in November the regiment successfully counter-attacked enemy units in the Numsong Valley and held their positions until the armistice was reached.[15]

Many non-Puerto Rican Hispanics served in the 65th Infantry during the war. Among those who distinguished themselves in combat and who served in the conflict as a member of the 65th Infantry was a young first lieutenant of Mexican American descent whose name is Richard Edward Cavazos. Cavazos entered the military in Texas and served as Company Commander of Company E of the 2d Battalion. Cavazos, who in 1982, became the first Hispanic to become a four-star general in the United States Army,[18] was the recipient of the Distinguished Service Cross,[19] the Silver Star Medal[20] and the Bronze Star Medal.

Mass court martial[edit | edit source]

File:Borinqueneers, only all-Hispanic unit in U. S. Army history.jpg

Soldiers of the 65th, North of the Han River, Korea, June 1951.

Col. Cordero Dávila was relieved of his command by Col. Chester B. DeGavre, a West Point graduate and a "continental", an officer from the mainland United States, and the officer staff of the 65th was replaced with non-Hispanic officers. DeGavre, upset over the fact that "G" company did not hold on to Hill 391, ordered that the unit stop calling itself the "Borinqueneers," cut their special rations of rice and beans, ordered the men to shave off their mustaches[5] and had one of them wear signs that read "I am a coward."[21] The language barrier, an NCO shortage, and poor leadership were factors that influenced some of the men of Company L in their refusal to continue to fight.[22]

In December 1954, one hundred and sixty-two Puerto Ricans of the 65th Infantry were arrested. Ninety-five soldiers were court martialed and ninety-one were found guilty and sentenced to prison terms ranging from one to 18 years of hard labor. It was the largest mass court-martial of the Korean War. According to cultural historian Silvia Álvarez Curbelo, the government of Puerto Rico, caught in the middle of a potentially damaging affair that could jeopardize its political agenda, kept silent for nearly two months. Finally, the incidents were made known by a local newspaper alerted by several letters written by the imprisoned soldiers to their families. Secret negotiations between the U.S. and Puerto Rican governments, were made and the Secretary of the Army Robert Stevens moved quickly to remit the sentences and granted clemency and pardons to all those involved.[23]

An Army report released in 2001 blamed the breakdown of the 65th on the following factors: a shortage of officers and noncommissioned officers, a rotation policy that removed combat-experienced leaders and soldiers, tactics that led to high casualties, an ammunition shortage, communication problems between largely white, English-speaking officers and Spanish-speaking Puerto Rican enlisted men, and declining morale. The report also found bias in the prosecution of the Puerto Ricans, citing instances of continental soldiers who were not charged after refusing to fight in similar circumstances, before and after Jackson Heights.[22] Though the men who were court martialed were pardoned, a campaign for a formal exoneration was launched.[21]

Awards in the Korean War[edit | edit source]

A total of 61,000 Puerto Ricans served in the military during the Korean War.[15] The 65th Infantry was awarded battle participation credits for the following nine campaigns: UN Defense-1950, UN Offense-1950, CCF Intervention-1950, First UN Counterattack Offensive-1951, UN and CCF Spring Offensive-1951, UN Summer-Fall Offensive-1951, 2nd Korean Winter 1951–52, Korean Summer-Fall-1952 and 3rd Korean Winter-1952-53. They are credited with the last battalion-sized bayonet assault in U.S. Army history.[24]

Individual awards in the Korean War
Award Name Total
O8
Army distinguished service cross medal.jpg
Distinguished Service Cross 10
O8SilverStarMed.gif Silver Star 256
O8Bronze Star medal.jpg Bronze Star 606
O825px Purple Heart 2,771[note 1]

Ten Distinguished Service Crosses, 256 Silver Stars and 606 Bronze Stars for valor were awarded to the men of the 65th Infantry. Of the ten Distinguished Service Crosses that were awarded to the members of the 65th Infantry, five were awarded to Puerto Ricans:

According to El Nuevo Día newspaper, 30 May 2004, a total of 756 Puerto Ricans lost their lives in Korea, from all four branches of the U.S. armed forces. However, according to "All POW-MIA Korean War Casualties", the total amount of Puerto Rican casualties in the Korean War was 732, meaning that one in every forty-two US casualties in the war was a Puerto Rican, however this total may vary slightly since some non-Puerto Ricans such as Captain James W. Conner were mistakenly included. Out of the 700 plus casualties suffered in the war a total of 121 men were listed as missing in action.[25] The Battle of Outpost Kelly accounted for 73 of the men missing in action from the total of 121.[26] Out of the 73 MIAs suffered by the regiment in the month of September 1952, 50 of them occurred on the same day, 18 September. For a list of names of those who were declared MIA, see: List of Puerto Ricans missing in action in the Korean War. According to the TAGOKOR Korean War Casualty File and the American Battle Commission site the members of the 65th who fought in Korea were awarded a total of 2,771 Purple Heart Medals.[27][28] On 12 February 1951, General Douglas MacArthur, wrote in Tokyo:

The Puerto Ricans forming the ranks of the gallant 65th Infantry give daily proof on the battlefields of Korea of their courage, determination and resolute will to victory, their invincible loyalty to the United States and their fervent devotion to those immutable principles of human relations which the Americans of the Continent and of Puerto Rico have in common. They are writing a brilliant record of heroism in battle and I am indeed proud to have them under my command. I wish that we could count on many more like them.[15]

Post Korean War[edit | edit source]

General Richard E. Cavazos, the first Mexican American to reach the rank of Brigadier General in the U.S. Army

Sergeant Modesto Cartagena, the most decorated Hispanic soldier in the Korean War

The 65th Infantry was relieved from assignment to the 3d Infantry Division on 3 November 1954, and, returning to Puerto Rico, it was assigned on 2 December 1954, to the 23rd Infantry Division, which encompassed geographically-separated units in the Caribbean region. On 10 April 1956, it was inactivated at Camp Losey, Puerto Rico, and relieved from assignment to the 23d, which itself was inactivated.

On 6 February 1959, the regiment was withdrawn from the Regular Army and allotted to the Puerto Rican Army National Guard as a parent regiment under the Combat Arms Regimental System (CARS) after Brig. General Juan Cordero, Puerto Rico's Adjutant General, persuaded the Department of the Army to transfer the 65th Infantry from the Regular Army to the Puerto Rico National Guard. This was the only unit ever transferred from active component Army to the National Guard. This was accomplished by reflagging the PR ARNG's existing 296th Regimental Combat Team at Camp Losey.

On 15 February 1959, it was organized to consist of the 1st Battle Group, 65th Infantry, an element of the 92d Infantry Brigade. On 1 May 1964, it was reorganized to consist of the 1st Battalion, 65th Infantry, and remained assigned to the 92d. It was reorganized again on 1 April 1971, to consist of the 1st Battalion and the separate Company E. This was followed by another reorganization on 1 September 1978, to consist of the 1st and 2d Battalions within the 92d, as well as the separate Company E. Less than two years later another reorganization on 29 February 1980, eliminated the separate Company E while retaining the 1st and 2d Battalions.

On 27 October 1987, the regiment was withdrawn from CARS and reorganized under the United States Army Regimental System with Headquarters at Cayey. It was reorganized on 1 September 1992, to consist of the 1st Battalion, 65th Infantry, and remained assigned to the 92d Infantry Brigade.

On 14 February 2003, it was ordered into active federal service at home stations and released on 12 February 2005, reverting to territorial control. On 1 October, of that year it was reorganized as the 65th Infantry Regiment in which only the 1st Battalion was active.

The separate Company E was a Ranger unit given federal recognition effective 1 April 1971, and had a total authorized strength of 198 personnel. It was added to the PR ARNG on that date while the 755th Transportation Company (Medium Truck, Cargo) was deleted. Co E (Ranger), 65th Infantry relocated from Vega Baja to San Juan on 2 February 1976, and was inactivated as federal recognition was withdrawn effective 29 February 1980. This resulted in the allocation of an ARNG ranger company being transferred from the PR ARNG to the Texas ARNG, in which Company G (Ranger), 143d Infantry was activated in Houston from elements of the 2d Battalion (Airborne), 143d Infantry, 36th Airborne Brigade, which was being inactivated effective 1 April 1980.

Twenty-first century[edit | edit source]

The 65th Infantry Regiment's 1st Battalion, along with its sister battalion, the 1–296th Infantry, was transferred to the 92d Infantry Brigade, PRARNG (now the 92nd Infantry Brigade Combat Team). Both battalions have served in what the United States and its allies call the War against Terrorism and Operation Iraqi Freedom/Enduring Freedom.[29]

In 2009, Company C, 1st Battalion, 65th Infantry Regiment was deployed to the Horn of Africa and stationed at Camp Lemonnier in Djibouti, after completing a 14-month deployment at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. Company C carried the crew-served weapons to protect the camp. It also operated the entry control checkpoints, protected U.S. and allied ships at the massive Djibouti Port, and guarded the U.S. Embassy there. By mid-2009, the rest of the battalion deployed there in case a larger combat maneuver element was needed to operate from the base. The area is considered to be the most unstable part of Africa, and the Somalian border is less than 10 miles from Camp Lemonnier.[30]

Legacy[edit | edit source]

File:65-infanteria-min.jpg

Monument to the 65th
Infantry Regiment

During the Korean War, the Borinqueneers were awarded 10 Distinguished Service Crosses, 256 Silver Stars, 606 Bronze Stars, and 2,771 Purple Hearts.[31]

Puerto Rico honored the unit by naming one of its principal avenues "La 65 de Infantería" in San Juan. The names of those who perished in combat are inscribed in "El Monumento de la Recordación" (Monument of Remembrance), which was unveiled on 19 May 1996 and is situated in front of the Capitol Building in San Juan, Puerto Rico.

In November 1999, Governor Pedro Rosselló, along with the Senate of Puerto Rico, chartered the 65th Infantry Honor Task Force and appointed Anthony Mele as chairman to work with Major General Nels Running, Director, Committee of the 50th Anniversary of the Korean War to commemorate the 65th Infantry Regiment. Tree planting and plaque commemoration ceremonies were organized around the USA, to include Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia; Fort San Felipe del Morro in San Juan, Puerto Rico; and Fort Logan National Cemetery in Denver.

On 20 May 2001, the government of Puerto Rico unveiled a monument honoring the 65th Infantry Regiment. The monument contains a statue of a soldier wearing a poncho with his rifle in one hand and the regiment's flag in the other hand.[32]

On 7 June 2007, PBS aired The Borinqueneers, a documentary about the 65th Infantry written and directed by Noemí Figueroa Soulet with Raquel Ortiz as co-director. The narrators were Héctor Elizondo (English) and David Ortiz-Anglero (Spanish).[33]

On 30 November 2012, an entire stretch of Southern Boulevard in the South Bronx, New York was co-named La 65 de Infantería Boulevard. [34]

Congressional Gold Medal Initiative[edit | edit source]

Borinqueneers CGM Alliance, which promotes the Congressional Gold Medal award for the 65th Infantry

In 2012, the 65th Infantry Regiment advocates and veteran's relatives began a movement, directed to the United States Government, which may result in the award of the Congressional Gold Medal to the 65th Infantry Regiment.[35]

A Congressional Gold Medal is an award bestowed by the United States Congress and is, along with the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian award in the United States. It is awarded to persons "who have performed an achievement that has an impact on American history and culture that is likely to be recognized as a major achievement in the recipient's field long after the achievement."[36]

External audio
You can hear a radio interview about the Borinqueneer CGM movement here

As of 2013, four military units have been awarded the Congressional Gold Medal. These are the Navaho Wind Talkers – Native American Marines whose primary job was the transmission of secret tactical messages with the use of their Native language;[37] the Nisei Soldiers - Japanese American intelligence soldiers during WWII in the Pacific, Africa, Italy and France;[38] the Tuskegee Airmen - the first African-American military aviators;[39] and the Montford Point Marines - the first African-Americans to break the race barrier in the Marines.[40] In addition, the Women's Air Service Pilots (WASP) received the Congressional Gold Medal. According to the 65th Infantry Regiment advocates and veteran's relatives, the 65th Infantry Regiment should receive the Congressional Gold Medal as well.[41]

Two bills have been introduced, in both the U.S. Congress and the U.S. Senate, whose passage would confer the Congressional Gold Medal on the 65th Infantry Regiment. On 25 April 2013, HR 1726 was introduced in the House by Rep. Bill Posey of Florida and Pedro Pierluisi, Puerto Rico’s Resident Commissioner to the U.S. Congress.[42][43]

In the U.S. Senate, Bill S 1174 was introduced and sponsored by Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) on 18 June 2013. The first co-sponsor to sign was Elizabeth Warren (D-MA). Other senators who have co-sponsored include Robert Casey Jr. (D-PA), Saxby Chambliss (R-GA), Robert Menendez (D-NJ), Bill Nelson (D-FL), Marco Rubio (R-FL), and Charles Schumer (D-NY)[44]

Section 2 of both the House and Senate bill reads as follows:

The Speaker of the House of Representatives and the President pro tempore of the Senate shall make appropriate arrangements for the award, on behalf of the Congress, of a single gold medal of appropriate design in honor of the 65th Infantry Regiment, known as the Borinqueneers, in recognition of its pioneering military service, devotion to duty, and many acts of valor in the face of adversity.[45][46]

External video
You can see a video of Resident Commissioner Pedro Pierluisi introducing the Borinqueneers Gold Medal Legislation here

In order to pass, the bills will require 290 sponsors in the U.S. Congress and 67 sponsors in the U.S. Senate, before the 113th Congressional Session adjourns in January 2015. Otherwise, the bills will have to be re-introduced in the 114th Congressional Session, and the entire legislative process will have to commence all over again. As of 26 August 2013, the bills have received 83 sponsors in the U.S. Congress, and 14 sponsors in the U.S. Senate.[44][47]

To date, advocates have garnered over 25 regional proclamations and resolutions signed by governors, mayors, county commissioners and state senators/representatives throughout the U.S., all urging the U.S. Congress to award the Congressional Gold Medal to the 65th Infantry. There are also 10 memorials and monuments honoring the 65th Infantry around the nation.[32][34]

On 14 August 2013 the Vietnam Veterans of America, a congressionally-chartered veterans service organization, issued a national resolution in favor of the Congressional Gold Medal for the 65th Infantry Regiment. Also in August 2013, the Hispanic American Veterans of Connecticut announced their support of the CGM initiative. [48]

Other national organizations supporting the Congressional Gold Medal initiative include the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC), Military Order of the Purple Heart (MOPH), American GI Forum (AGIF), and National Puerto Rican Coalition (NPRC).[47]

Individuals and organizations around the U.S. are currently advocating for the passage of both 65th Infantry CGM bills. They are urging their federal elected officials to join on as co-sponsors of HR 1726 in the House, and S 1174 in the Senate.[44] They have also created an organizational website - The Borinqueneers Congressional Gold Medal Alliance Website. [5]

Notable Puerto Rican members[edit | edit source]

Amongst the notable Puerto Rican members of the regiment are:

Name Image Notability
O8Major General Juan César Cordero Dávila Juan Cordero 72.jpg Commanding officer of the 65th Infantry Regiment during the Korean War
O7Brigadier General Antonio Rodríguez Balinas Antonio Rodriguez Balinas.jpg First commander of the Office of the First U.S. Army Deputy Command (awarded two Silver Stars)
O6Colonel Virgil R. Miller 70px The 442nd Regimental Combat Team commander who led the rescue of the "Lost Battalion" during World War II
O6Colonel Carlos Betances Ramirez Carlos Betances.JPG Only Puerto Rican officer to command an infantry battalion in the Korean War
O6Colonel Antulio Segarra Antulio Segarra2x2.jpg First Puerto Rican Regular Army officer to command a Regular Army regiment
O5Lieutenant Colonel Teófilo Marxuach Teofilo Marxuach.jpg Fired what is considered to be the first shot of World War I by the regular armed forces of the United States against any ship flying the colors of the Central Powers[7]
O5Second Lieutenant Pedro Albizu Campos Pedro Albizu Campos.jpg Served from 1914 to 1918. In 1917 he was assigned to the 375th Regiment a segregated unit made up of black Puerto Ricans. He later presided over the Puerto Rican Nationalist Party.[49]
E8Master Sergeant Pedro Rodriguez Rodriguez pedro 72.jpg Awarded two Silver Stars in one week
E7Sergeant First Class Agustín Ramos Calero 70px Among the most decorated (22 decorations) soldiers in the United States during World War II
E7Sergeant First Class Modesto Cartagena 70px The most decorated Puerto Rican soldier in history.[50]

Unit citations[edit | edit source]

The 65th Infantry has been awarded the following citations:

Navy Unit Commendation streamer (USMC).pngNavy Unit Commendation
Streamer NDS.PNGNational Defense Service Medal
Streamer WWI V.PNGWorld War I Victory Medal
Streamer ADS.PNGAmerican Defense Service Medal
World War II - American Campaign Streamer (Plain).pngAmerican Campaign Medal
European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal streamer.pngEuropean-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal
Streamer WWII V.PNGWorld War II Victory Medal
Streamer NOS.PNGArmy of Occupation Medal
Streamer PUC Army.PNGPresidential Unit Citation (two awards)
Streamer MUC Army.PNGMeritorious Unit Commendation (two awards)
Streamer KPUC.PNGRepublic of Korea Presidential Unit Citation (two awards)
Chryssoun Aristion Andrias Streamer.pngChryssoun Aristion Andrias (Bravery Gold Medal of Greece)

See also[edit | edit source]

Other military articles related to Puerto Rico:

Notes[edit | edit source]

  1. In accordance to the "TAGOKOR Korean War Casualty File" and the "American Battle Commission", of the 2,771 Purple Hearts awarded 670 were "KIA" (Killed in action) and 2,101 were non casualties. The non-casualties included those who were awarded more than one Purple Heart and those who were "MIA's" (Missing in action).

References[edit | edit source]

  1. 1.0 1.1 "Special Designation Listing". United States Army Center of Military History. 21 April 2010. Archived from the original on 9 June 2010. http://web.archive.org/web/20100609010028/http://www.history.army.mil/html/forcestruc/spdes-123-arng.html. Retrieved 14 July 2010. 
  2. Maryland General Assembly (8 April 1997). "Participation of Hispanics in the American Revolution". SJR2. http://mlis.state.md.us/1997rs/billfile/sj0002.htm. Retrieved 9 August 2012. 
  3. Special Announcements
  4. 4.0 4.1 Valerosos
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 5.4 5.5 5.6 5.7 Villahermosa, Gilberto N. (2009). Honor and Fidelity: The 65th Infantry in Korea, 1950–1953. Government Printing Office. ISBN 978-0-16-083324-3. http://www.history.army.mil/html/books/korea/65Inf_Korea/index.html. 
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 Héctor Andrés Negroni (1992). Historia militar de Puerto Rico. Sociedad Estatal Quinto Centenario. p. 370. ISBN 978-84-7844-138-9. http://books.google.com/books?id=kukMAQAAMAAJ. Retrieved 7 August 2012.  Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; name "HMPR" defined multiple times with different content
  7. 7.0 7.1 "US Naval Institute Proceedings"; "A Breach of Neutrality"; by: Lt. Isaiah Olch, US Navy; Vol. 62; July – December 1936
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