President Barack Obama signed a bill today to award a Congressional Gold Medal to the 65th Infantry Regiment, known as the Borinqueneers, for their honorable service during the U.S. military’s biggest wars of the past century. Fusion’s Jorge Ramos recently spoke to two surviving members about their history and fight for recognition.
The Borinqueneers were “the largest, longest-standing, and only active-duty segregated Latino military unit in U.S. history,” according to the Borinqueneers Congressional Gold Medal Alliance.
“Segregation set them apart from their fellow soldiers, but their courage made them legendary,” President Barack Obama said during the bill signing ceremony. “They won thousands of medals in Korea … We’re adding one more honor today.”
The president also noted that the name Borinqueneers originates with the original Taino name of the island of Puerto Rico.
Until the president’s pen hit H.R. 1076 today, the only Latino-American recipient of a Congressional Gold Medal was Hall of Fame baseball player Roberto Clemente.