The National Puerto Rican Day Parade (NPRDP) Honors the 65th Infantry Regiment
The 65th Infantry Regiment, composed primarily of Puerto Ricans from the Island of Puerto Rico, participated in WWI and WWII as a volunteer regiment. During the Korean War they distinguished themselves in combat as a Regimental Combat Team.
It was during the sea voyage to Korea that the 65th Infantry nicknamed themselves the “Borinqueneers.” The name is a combination of the words “Borinquen” (which was what the Taínos called the island before the arrival of the Spaniards) and “Buccaneers”.
Some of the battles the 65th Infantry participated in included: UN Defense-1950, UN Offense-1950, CCF Intervention-1950, First UN Counterattack Offensive-1951, UN and CCF Spring Offensive-1951, UN Summer-Fall Offensive-1951, 2nd Korean Winter 1951–52, Korean Summer-Fall-1952 and 3rd Korean Winter-1952-53. They are credited with the last battalion-sized bayonet assault in U.S. Army history.
Among some of the awards bestowed on the 65th Infantry soldiers were 10 Distinguished Service Crosses, 256Silver Stars, 606 Bronze Stars, and 2,771 Purple Hearts.
Currently, there is campaign to have the 65th Infantry honored by the United States Congress. In solidarity with that movement, the NPRDP will generate public awareness and support for the bill that was introduced to the U.S. Congress to recognize the Borinqueneer’s service to the United States with the Congressional Gold Medal. A Congressional Gold Medal is an award bestowed by the United States Congress and is, along with the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian award in the United States. It is awarded to persons “who have performed an achievement that has an impact on American history and culture that is likely to be recognized as a major achievement in the recipient’s field long after the achievement.”
The 65th Infantry Veterans will be honored by the NPRDP as Ambassadors. Signatures for their petition urging Congress to support the bill (S.1174) will be collected at the 152nd Street Festival and a contingent composed of surviving veterans and their families will march in the parade in solidarity with the Borinqueneers and in tribute to those that sacrificed their lives. May we never forget their sacrifice and may they forever rest in peace.