A Puerto Rican veteran who fought in some of the bloodiest battles of the Korean War was awarded a Bronze Star on Friday in San Juan. Luis Ramos, who served with the Puerto Rico–based 65th Infantry Regiment, known as the Borinqueneers, received the medal at a ceremony held at a monument to the Borinqueneers.
The ceremony honored Ramos and celebrated the contributions of the 65th Infantry, a highly decorated regiment receiving hundreds of Bronze Stars for their military service. In 1953, another Borinqueneer of the Korean War, Pfc. Luis Fernando Garcia, received posthumously the Medal of Honor, the highest U.S. military honor.
The Borinqueneers formed in 1899 and served in both World Wars, the Korean War and more recent conflicts. They have been the subject of an award-winning documentary.
Now 89 years old, Ramos was involved in intense combat during the Korean War as a radioman. He also served in World War II before having a career with the U.S. Postal Service. He is retired and lives with his wife in Coral Springs, Florida.
According to an Associated Press report, one of his five children, Luis Ramos Jr., said his father felt that he and other Korean War veterans had been forgotten. He wrote to the Defense Department, and they offered to correct the oversight. “It was a tough war. He was close to getting killed many times,” said the younger Ramos, a software engineer living in St. Petersburg, Florida. “Then they come home and are completely ignored … He’s not going to be around much more and it really bothered me.”
Although Puerto Ricans cannot vote for president, the nation’s commander in chief, an unusually high proportion of Puerto Ricans serve in the U.S. armed forces.