For the first time, a soldier assigned to the 65th Infantry Regiment will receive the nation’s highest award for valor in combat.
Army Master Sgt. Juan E. Negron, who served with the 65th, is one of 24 veterans who will receive the Medal of Honor March 18, 2014, in recognition of their valor during major combat operations in World War II, the Korean War and the Vietnam War.
Negron distinguished himself on April 28, 1951 when he refused to leave his exposed position, but delivered withering fire at enemy forces who had broken through a road block. The courage and determination exhibited by Negron during the Korean War contributes to the distinguished history of the regiment.
Nicknamed the “Borinqueneers,” the regiment was created in 1899 by the U.S. Congress as a segregated unit composed primarily of Puerto Ricans with mostly continental officers.
Here are seven facts about the Borinqueneers:
- “Borinqueneers” is the combination of the words “Borinquen” (the word given to Puerto Rico by its original inhabitant, the Taino Indians) and “Buccaneers.”
- The unit has the distinction of being the only Hispanic-segregated unit in Army history.
- The Borinqueneers is the only unit in United States military history to have been transferred from the active Army into the National Guard in 1959.
- The 65th‘s regimental motto is “Honor and Fidelity.”
- In 1951, Gen. 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.”
- During the Korean War, the Borinqueneers launched the last recorded battalion-sized bayonet charge and overran the Chinese 149th Division south of Seoul on Feb. 2, 1951.
- The regiment’s colors remained in Korea until November 1954 when the unit returned to Puerto Rico.
What other facts would you add to this list? Tell us in the comments section below.
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