The Borinqueneers, a regiment of soldiers from Puerto Rico which fought in every U.S. war from World War I through the Korean War, has been awarded the Congressional Gold Medal, and it is appropriate that we remember the brave men in the 65th Infantry Regiment as we observe Memorial Day.
The Borinqueneers were the last of the segregated regiments of the U.S. Army to be honored by a Congressional Medal. The unit, which has a history reaching back to 1899, has received many other honors, for specific units and individual soldiers, but the Congressional Medal required an extensive grassroots movement. Many observers describe it as “overdue.”
Even before the reorganization of the Puerto Rican Regiment of Volunteer Infantry into the 65th Infantry Regiment in 1920, Puerto Rico supported the military efforts of the U.S.A.
- Puerto Rican volunteers fought against the British in the Civil War as part of Spain’s support of the American colonies, according to El Boricua.
- Soldiers from Puerto Rico fought in the Civil War.
- The first shots fired on behalf of the U.S. in World War I were ordered by Lt. Teofilo Marxuach, based at El Morro in San Juan, Puerto Rico. The fort is seen in the photo above.
From the earliest connections between the United States mainland and Puerto Rico, Puerto Rico has provided soldiers, doctors, and support staff for the U.S. military at a rate higher than those of many of the States.