On Veterans Day, we think more than ever of the Borinqueneers, members of an all-volunteer regiment of Puerto Rican soldiers who served with distinction in the U.S. Armed Services since World War I and are known for their extraordinary service and valor during the Korean War. Many groups are now working to gain recognition for the Borinqueneers in the form of the Congressional Gold Medal. The Borinqueneers Congressional Gold Medal Alliance is one group spearheading this effort.
Legislation to award a Congressional Gold Medal to the 65th Infantry Regiment has been introduced this year in both the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives. In the Senate, the bill is sponsored by Sen. Blumenthal (D-CT) and enjoys the support of twety-one bipartisan cosponsors. In the U.S. House of Representatives, Rep. Bill Posey (R-FL) is the legislation’s sponsor. With one hundred and fifty cosponsors, it is one of the most popular bills in Congress.
Established in 1899, the Borinqueneers were the only all-Hispanic unit in the Armed Forces, a result of segregation. Like the Tuskegee Airmen, the Navajo Code Talkers, and the Nisei Regiments, the Borinqueneers turned the indignity of segregation into the a source of pride, and their valor is a part of U.S. history. More than 20,000 men from Puerto Rico served with the unit. They suffered discrimination throughout their service, and many people believe that their recognition is long overdue.