Borinqueneers Congressional Gold Medal Alliance kicks off National Campaign

Orlando, FL[CapitalWirePR]– A nation-wide, all-volunteer group of individuals and organizations has formed the Borinqueneers Congressional Gold Medal Alliance, and is launching an intense campaign to secure the Congressional Gold Medal for the US Army’s 65th Infantry Regiment, better-known as the “Borinqueneers”.  The Borinqueneers are the largest and longest-standing, segregated military unit inUS history, having fought in WWI, WWII, and the Korean War.

The Congressional Gold Medal has been bestowed to other minority veterans who served in segregated units, including:

·         July 26, 2001 – the Native American Navajo Code Talkers

·         March 29, 2007 –the African-American Tuskegee Airmen

·         November 2, 2011 –  the Japanese-American Nisei Soldiers

·         June 28, 2012 – the African-American Montford Point Marines

The alliance currently is asking all liked-minded Americans to write to or email theirUScongressional representatives, including their twoUSSenators and one US House of Representatives member to support this initiative.  The Congressional Gold Medal requires the support of a majority of ourUSlegislators.  This should be completed before the end of February, the organization noted.

An additional priority is to identify all living Borinqueneers.  They, or friends and relatives, should email the alliance at[email protected].

This Latino-American unit was mainly made up of Puerto Ricans, but also included some recruits with other Latino backgrounds, as well as continental officers.  The Borinqueneer who later achieved the highest rank, a Mexican-American fromTexas, became the first ever Latino-American Four-Star Army General.

His name is Richard E. Cavazos.  He holds numerous awards for heroism, military leadership, and service.  These include two Distinguished Service Crosses, our nation’s second highest individual military honor for heroism, one earned inKoreaand the other fromVietnam.

The late Modesto Cartagena, a Borinqueneer who served in WWII andKorea, is the most decorated Puerto Rican soldier inUShistory.  He holds the Distinguished Service Cross, as well as the Silver Star, Legion of Merit, Bronze Star with oak leaf cluster and “V” device, the Purple Heart, and many others.

The Borinqueneers are credited with the final battalion-sized bayonet assault in US Army history.  In early 1951 while fighting inKorea, 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.

General Douglas MacArthur said of the Borinqueneers, “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.  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.”

DuringKorea, the Borinqueneers were awarded 10 Distinguished Service Crosses, 256 Silver Stars, 606 Bronze Stars, and 2,771 Purple Hearts.  Deaths inKoreaamong the Borinqueneers numbered 750 men.  Of these, over 100 are still listed as Missing in Action.

The national chair of the Borinqueneers Congressional Gold Medal Alliance is Frank Medina, an engineer and 2002 graduate ofWest Point.  His Army tenure included serving a combat tour inIraqbefore transitioning to civilian life. Medinahas helped to bring together this coalition of veterans groups, military supporters, Latino-American organizations, and others.  His grandfather is a Borinqueneer.  The alliance is sponsored by the 65th Infantry Veterans                  Association, Inc. ofPuerto Rico.

Raul Castañeira of Florida, the youngest of four Borinqueneer brothers, recently pleaded with Medina passionately that, “I and many 65th Infantry veterans will rest in peace knowing that the Borinqueneers will be bestowed such an award (the Congressional Gold Medal),” and thereby bringing emotional closure after the many adverse experiences they faced while serving in the 65th Inf. Regiment long ago.

Supporters should send letters or email theirUSlegislators as follows.

·         Contact your (2) U.S. Senators and your (1) US House of Representatives member.  The adoption of the Borinqueneers Congressional Gold Medal will require the vote/support from a majority of our US legislators. Contact them via letter or email before the end of  February.


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