65th Infantry Regiment "Borinqueneers"
The 65th Infantry Combat Regiment was established in 1899 by the U.S. Army after the Spanish-American War. In 1920, by an act of the U.S. Congress, it was renamed the 65th Infantry Combat Regiment, thus becoming the only segregated Latino active duty regiment in the United States Army. The regiment fought in the WWI, WWII and the Korean War. It was during the Korean War, while on route to South Korea by sea on the USN Lynx, that the group elected to call themselves the Borinqueneers after the Taíno word Boriquen which means ‘The Great Land of the Valiant and Noble Lord.'
It was during the Korean War that the Borinqueneers made a name for themselves in nine arduous military campaigns across the Korean peninsula whereby 752 men were killed in action and 120 went missing.
As a result of their bravery and courage in combat they were honored with two U.S. Presidential Unit Citations, two Republic of Korea Presidential Unit Citations, one Greek Gold Medal, and one Navy/Marine Unit Commendation. In addition they earned ten Distinguished Service Crosses, 256 Silver Stars, 606 Bronze Stars, and 2,271 Purple Hearts. On March 28, 2014, Master Sergeant Juan E. Negron became the first Borinqueneer to be awarded posthumously the Medal of Honor - the U.S. Military's highest award.
In 2013, Captain Frank Medina (grandson of a Borinqueneer) and Sergeant First Class Raul Casteñeda (a member of the 65th Infantry Combat Regiment) formed the Borinqueneers National Congressional Gold Medal Alliance with the goal of ensuring a place for this courageous fighting unit in American History.
On June 10, 2014, the national crusade culminated with President Barrack Obama signing Public Law #113-120 conferring the Congressional Gold Medal to the Borinqueneers. The group is the first segregated Latino combat regiment to be honored in this way and also the first advocacy group to complete the task within one congressional cycle. The Congressional Gold Medal ceremony will take place at the nation's capitol in Washington, D.C. in the Fall of 2015.
For more information about the Borinqueneers Congressional Gold Medal Alliance, visit: www.borinqueneers.org.