Saturday, July 4, 2009


They Served valiantly during WWI. They served valiantly during WWII. They served valiantly during the Korean War. Who are they? The Borinqueneers.

On July 1, 1899, The Porto Rico Regiment of Infantry, United States Army, was formed. The regiment was made up of 1,969 Puerto Ricans. They were sent to the Panama Canal Zone during WWI. It wasn't until after WWI, when the Regiment had returned home to Puerto Rico and by the reoganization Act of June 4, 1920, that they were renamed the 65th Infantry Regiment. In 1919, after a request from Major General Luis R Esteves(1) and legislative approval, the Puerto Rican National Guard was formed.

During WWII, the 65th was called upon again. Initially heading to the Panama Canal Zone then off to Africa, Italy, France and Germany. The 65th participated in many battles during the war. In all, a total of 23 were killed in action.

In 1950, the 65th was once again called upon and so they set off to Korea. It was during this time that the 65th Infantry soldiers began to call themselves the Borinqueneers. In Korea, the Borinqueneers were faced with many hardships and suffered many casualties; throughout this they remained determined even supporting a mission that allowed encircled Marines to return to their ships safely. They participated in many battles and operations each time fighting valiantly.

Unfortunately, mass court martials would come to many Borinqueneers. Due to language barriers, humiliation and exhaustion, many Borinqueneers refused to fight. They were even ordered to stop calling themselves the Borinqueneers. All this after the hispanic commander of the unit was relieved and replaced with a non-hispanic commander. The largest court martial of the Korean War, ninety six court martials and ninety one found guilty and sentenced to hard labor. All those involved were quickly granted clemency and pardons but never formally exonerated.

In all, the Borinqueneers are credited with participating in nine campaigns. Numerous medals were awarded to the men for their valor during these campaigns. 61,000 Puerto Ricans served during the Korean War, 756 lost their lives. More than half of those who lost their lives were from the 65th Infantry Regiment, " Borinqueneers".

In 1956, the Borinqueneers were transferred to the Puerto Rican National Guard.

1. Major General Luis R. Esteves, First Latino to graduate West Point and founder of Puerto Rico National Guard.



  1. Here are to the true Patriots. Gracias por haber compartido esto.

  2. From the articles I have read about the Borinqueneers, during the time of the court martial issue, they ran out of ammunition in Korea where they were located and did not get the requested ammunition and had no artillery air support, they requested it many times from higher ranking commander and it never came!