The Borinqueneers

I just returned from a week in Puerto Rico, just ahead of the hurricane/tropical storm. My wife and I go there often and have been to most of the other major islands. However, after watching a segment of history about Puerto Rico on a morning talk show, I thought about I have never heard about Puerto Rican military people when I was in the military nor read about them in history books. It was as if, like Black military people and Native Americans, they never existed. I did some research, and it did not take long to find a lot of information.

               Like Black people, Hispanic people volunteered for military service and was delegated to segregated units. During WWI they formed the 65th Infantry Regiment and served as the U.S. military’s last segregated unit composed primarily of Hispanic Soldiers. This have echoes of Black soldiers in the military. These soldiers are known as Borinqueneers.

               There is a short piece in the history pages that I found, and it say ‘shortly after Puerto Rico became part of the United States in 1898, a regiment of Puerto Rican Soldiers was formed, and they served our nation bravely ever since. In World War I, they defended the homeland and patrolled the Panama Canal Zone. In World War II, they fought in Europe. In Korea, they fought in mud and snow. They are the 65th Infantry Regime, U.S. Army. They are also known as Borinqueneers’. The nickname ‘Borinqueneers’ originated from the Borinquen – one of the native Taino Indian names for the island of Puerto Rico.

               One interesting fact is that two hundred Hispanic women joined the military and was given the job as code talkers, just like the Native Americans. Now that I have a taste of Hispanic history, I will delve more into it because I know there is much more to discover. Like all the other ethnic groups of people, the Hispanics have done well in many things for the United States including doing better than average in the military. Also, like other ethnic groups in the military, the Hispanics were short changed when it came to receiving medals. When ex-President Obama was in office, he gave out a record twenty-four Medal of Honor at one award ceremony.

               Although Puerto Rico is a possession of the USA, they have trouble getting USA support when there is a disaster, need of an influx of money for infrastructure upgrades, and so forth. I really love that island and would love to live there if the hurricanes would skip the place. The island is usually in the path of most hurricanes that leave the coast of Africa. And, while I was there, the news said there were earthquakes on the east coast of the island. I didn’t feel them.

               I invite all of you to join me and dig deeper into Hispanic history (music also), especially the Borinqueneers. These people are as interesting as the Tuskegee Airmen and others. Mexico is not the only place for Hispanics, but most people only think of Mexico and southward as the only Hispanics. Duh, not so. Look at Puerto Rico and other places. Huum, I have to do more traveling. By the way, HAPPY HISPANIC HERITAGE MONTH!!

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