On 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