New Jersey Puerto Rican Community Urges President Obama to Sign Legislation Awarding 65th Infantry Regiment with Congressional Gold Medal

Congress Praised for Passing Bill Honoring Borinqueneers

May 23, 2014, 17:07 ET from New Jersey Congressional Gold Medal Committee

ELIZABETH, N.J., May 23, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- Members of New Jersey's Congressional Gold Medal Committee today praised the state's Congressional delegation for their work on passing legislation awarding the Congressional Gold Medal to the 65th Infantry Regiment, commonly known as the Borinqueneers, and urged President Obama to quickly sign the legislation into law.

"As a sponsor of the state resolution urging Congress to honor the Borinqueneers, I am proud that the U.S. House of Representatives and the Senate this week passed legislation to present the Congressional Gold Medal to the Borinqueneers," said Assemblywoman Annette Quijano, D-Elizabeth. "They persevered through segregation and prejudice while fighting bravely to defend our nation. It is only fitting that Congress should honor the Borinqueneers with its highest honor on the eve of Memorial Day weekend."

The 65th Infantry Regiment traces its roots to 1899, after Spain ceded the island of Puerto Rico after the Spanish-American War. As the only Hispanic segregated active-duty military unit in U.S. History, the regiment fought in World War I, World War II, and most notably the Korean War. At the onset of the Korean War, the 65th Infantry called themselves the "Borinqueneers" after the island of Puerto Rico's indigenous name "Borinquen" meaning "Land of the Brave Lord."

In December 1950, the regiment fought to hold back a massive Chinese Army offensive to keep open an escape corridor for the 1st Marine Division's retreat from the Chosin Reservoir, North Korea. On February 2, 1951, two battalions of the 65th Infantry charged Chinese positions for the last Battalion-Sized Bayonet Charge in U.S. Army history. For its service in Korea, the Borinqueneers received numerous commendations.

For much of the last year, Latino groups in New Jersey, New York, Florida and elsewhere have been lobbying Congress for passage of House Bill (HR 1726) and Senate Bill (S. 1174).

Sam Delgado, Verizon vice president of external affairs and chair of New Jersey's Congressional Gold Medal Committee, said it would be fitting for President Obama to sign the legislation on Memorial Day.

"I can think of no better way to honor the veterans from the Puerto Rican 65th Infantry Regiment than on a day when we remember those who served so valiantly for our country," Delgado said.

SOURCE New Jersey Congressional Gold Medal Committee