Menendez-Sponsored Borinqueneers Bill Signed into Law

Menendez-Sponsored Borinqueneers Bill Signed into Law

WASHINGTON, DC - Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ) issued the following statement after President Obama signed into law legislation awarding the Congressional Gold Medal to the 65th Infantry Regiment of Puerto Rico, known as the Borinqueneers. Menendez was an original co-sponsor of the Senate bill recognizing the Borinqueneers, the only all-Hispanic unit of the U.S. Army, for its military service, devotion to duty, and acts of valor in the face of adversity.

"The triumphs of the Borinqueneers deserve to be celebrated. I am delighted to see each of these soldiers receive the highest civilian award in theUnited States for their service to our nation. Their heroic conduct in the face of overwhelming odds saved the lives of many comrades, advanced American military operations, and broke racial barriers that had long constrained minorities in our military ranks.

"By honoring their valiant service and achievements, we recognize our nation's diversity and honor the thousands of Hispanic-Americans who have been driven over time by their sense of patriotism and service to their country."

The 65th Infantry Regiment ("Borinqueneers") was the only Hispanic Segregated Unit -composed almost entirely of soldiers from the U.S. territory of Puerto Rico- to play a prominent role in three wars. The unit's toughness, courage, and loyalty earned the admiration of many who had previously harbored reservations about Puerto Rican soldiers based on stereotypes. Over the span of World War I, World War II, and the Korean War, the regiment saw extensive combat. By the time fighting came to a close in Korea, soldiers in the 65th Infantry Regiment had earned 10 Distinguished Service Crosses, about 250 Silver Stars, over 600 Bronze Stars, and nearly 3,000 Purple Hearts.

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