Posey Introduces Legislation To Honor ‘Borinqueneers’

By  //  April 24, 2013

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Congressional Gold Medal

ABOVE VIDEO: Battle weary soldiers of the 65th infantry North of the Han River in June 1951, Korea. “The Borinqueneers” is the first major documentary to chronicle the story of the forgotten soldiers of the 65th Infantry Regiment.

WASHINGTON, DC – Brevard County’s Congressman Bill Posey (R-FL) and Puerto Rico’s Resident Commissioner Pedro Pierluisi (D-PR) will be joined by numerous military veterans to announce the introduction of bipartisan legislation to award the Congressional Gold Medal to the 65th Infantry Regiment known as the “Borinqueneers.”

Rep. Bill Posey

Rep. Bill Posey

Pedro Pierluisi

Pedro Pierluisi

The announcement will take place tomorrow at the Cannon House Office Building.

The Congressional Gold Medal has been awarded to other minority veterans who served in segregated military units, including the Native American Navajo Code Talkers, the African-American Tuskeegee Airmen, the Japanese-American Nisei and the African-American Montford Point Marines.

Congressman Posey represents Florida’s 8th Congressional District which encompasses all of Brevard and Indian River Counties and a  portion of west Orange County.

DISTINGUISHED SERVICE IN THREE WARS

The “Borinqueneers” were created by Congress in 1898 as an all-Puerto Rican segregated unit, and is credited with the final battalion-sized bayonet assault in U.S. Army history.

North Korean guerrillas captured by men of the 65th Infantry near Yonghung, Korea, 1950. (Image by Carlos Ruiz, U.S. Army)

North Korean guerrillas captured by men of the 65th Infantry near Yonghung, Korea, 1950. (Image by Carlos Ruiz, U.S. Army)

In early 1951, while fighting in Korea, two battalions of the 65th fixed bayonets and charged straight up hill toward the enemy, over running them and overtaking the enemy’s strategic position.

In September 1944, the 65th Infantry landed in France and was committed to action on the Maritime Alps at Peira Cava and relieved the 2nd Battalion of the 442nd Infantry Regiment – a regiment which was made up of Japanese Americans.

During Korea, the Borinqueneers were awarded 10 Distinguished Service Crosses, 256 Silver Stars, 606 Bronze Stars, and 2,771 Purple Hearts. (U.S. Army image)

During Korea, the Borinqueneers were awarded 10 Distinguished Service Crosses, 256 Silver Stars, 606 Bronze Stars, and 2,771 Purple Hearts. (U.S. Army image)

Called upon to serve in World War I, World War II, and especially the Korean War, the Borinqueneers have consistently shown exceptional and unyielding valor on the battlefield despite the hardships they lived under such as ethnic discrimination.

During Korea, the Borinqueneers were awarded 10 Distinguished Service Crosses, 256 Silver Stars, 606 Bronze Stars, and 2,771 Purple Hearts. Deaths in Korea among the Borinqueneers numbered 750 men. Of these, over 100 are still listed as Missing in Action. They never came home.

As a unit, they earned a Presidential Unit Citation, a Meritorious Unit Commendation and two Republic of Korea Unit Citations, including personal praise from General Douglas MacArthur when they were called to the front lines of the Korean War.

‘BRILLIANT RECORD OF HEROISM’

65th-Infantry“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,” said MacArthur said of the Borinqueneers.

“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.”

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