The BorinqueneersOn August 26, 1950, the 65th Infantry, with 6,000 offi­cers and men orga­nized into three infantry bat­tal­ions, one artillery bat­tal­ion and a tank com­pa­ny depart­ed from Puer­to Rico and arrived in Pusan, Korea on Sep­tem­ber 23, 1950. It was dur­ing the long sea voy­age that the men nick­named the 65th Infantry “Bor­in­que­neers”. The name is a com­bi­na­tion of the words “Bor­in­quen” (which was what the Tain­os called the island before the arrival of the Spaniards) and “Buc­ca­neers”.

The 65th Infantry Reg­i­ment, nick­named “The Bor­in­que­neers”, was an all-vol­un­teer Puer­to Rican reg­i­ment of the Unit­ed States Army. Its mot­to was Hon­or et Fideli­tas, Latin for Hon­or and Fideli­ty. It par­tic­i­pat­ed in World War I, World War II, and the Kore­an War. In 1956, the 65th Infantry was deac­ti­vat­ed and became the only unit ever to be trans­ferred from an active Army com­po­nent to the Puer­to Rico Nation­al Guard. The 1st Bat­tal­ion, 65th Infantry Reg­i­ment (1–65th Infantry) was assigned to the 92nd Infantry Brigade (now the 92d Infantry Brigade Com­bat Team), PRARNG along with its sis­ter bat­tal­ion, the 1–296th Infantry, and has served in the War against Ter­ror­ism and Oper­a­tions Iraqi Freedom/Enduring Freedom.

Puer­to Ricans have par­tic­i­pat­ed in every major Amer­i­can mil­i­tary con­flict, from the Amer­i­can Rev­o­lu­tion, when vol­un­teers from Puer­to Rico, Cuba, and Mex­i­co fought the British in 1779 under the com­mand of Gen­er­al Bernar­do de Gálvez (1746 – 1786), to the present-day con­flict in Iraq. The 65th Infantry which was orig­i­nal­ly acti­vat­ed as the “Puer­to Rico Reg­i­ment” in 1898, served in World War I, and fired the first shot of World War I on behalf of the Unit­ed States. It was involved in active com­bat dur­ing World War II. How­ev­er, it was dur­ing the Kore­an War that the unit suf­fered the most casu­al­ties. Among the prob­lems that they faced were the dif­fer­ence in lan­guages (the com­mon foot sol­dier spoke only Span­ish, while the com­mand­ing offi­cers were most­ly Eng­lish-speak­ing Amer­i­cans) and the harsh, cold climate.

Puer­to Rico became a U.S. Ter­ri­to­ry after the 1898 Treaty of Paris which end­ed the Span­ish-Amer­i­can War. The Unit­ed States appoint­ed a mil­i­tary gov­er­nor and soon the Unit­ed States Army estab­lished itself in San Juan. The Army Appro­pri­a­tion Bill cre­at­ed by an Act of Con­gress on March 2, 1889 autho­rized the cre­ation of the first body of native troops in Puer­to Rico. On June 30, 1901, the “Por­to Rico Pro­vi­sion­al Reg­i­ment of Infantry” was orga­nized. On July 1, 1901, the Unit­ed States Sen­ate passed a Bill which would require a strict men­tal and phys­i­cal exam­i­na­tion for those who want­ed to join the Reg­i­ment. It also approved the recruit­ment of native Puer­to Rican civil­ians to be appoint­ed the grade of sec­ond lieu­tenants for a term of four years if they passed the required tests. An Act of Con­gress, approved on May 27, 1908, reor­ga­nized the reg­i­ment as part of the “reg­u­lar” Army. Since the native Puer­to Rican offi­cers where Puer­to Rican cit­i­zens and not cit­i­zens of the Unit­ed States, they were required to under­go a new phys­i­cal exam­i­na­tion to deter­mine their fit­ness for com­mis­sions in the Reg­u­lar Army and to take an oath of U.S. cit­i­zen­ship with their new offi­cers oath. By Jan­u­ary 30, 1917,

The Puer­to Rico Reg­i­ment of Infantry was train­ing in Camp Las Casas which was locat­ed in San­turce, a sec­tion of San Juan in what is now El Res­i­den­cial Las Casas


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