The Borinqueneers: A Story That Had To Be Told

Korean War Veteran Luis Rodriquez, who was part of the 65th Regiment received a signed copy of the Congressional Gold Medal bill which honored him and his fellow 'Borinqueneers'. He is joined by Frank Median, who led the fight to have the unit's role in U.S. history recognized.
Korean War Veteran Luis Rodriquez, who was part of the 65th Regiment, received a signed copy of the Congressional Gold Medal bill which honored him and his fellow ‘Borinqueneers’. He is joined by Frank Medina, who led the fight to have the unit’s role in U.S. history recognized.

 
Diane Alverio
Publisher
 
In the fall of 2012, shortly after we launched CTLatinoNews.com, we learned of a story that, unfortunately, none of us had heard before.  It is the story of the soldiers of the segregated 65th military regiment based in Puerto Rico.  Although, according to historians, they fought valiantly in four wars, they were subjected to discrimination and other abuses by the military itself,  merely because they were from Puerto Rico.
 

It took a young Bridgeport, CT  Latino, Frank Medina, to take the lead and work tirelessly  to make sure this unit’s role in history became known and their story told.    It is a story of American heroes who, instead of cowering because of the abuse, bravely nicknamed themselves the ‘Borinqueneers’ – which derives from the island’s original Taino name, Borinquen – to demonstrate their pride in their heritage.
Medina, a West Point graduate who now lives in Orlando, dedicated many years to develop a grassroots  movement, the Congressional Gold Medal Alliance (http://www.borinqueneers.org) , to ensure the unit, which was the military’s last segregated unit,  received the Congressional Gold Medal.
Last year, Congress passed the bill and it was signed by President Obama.  This past week, Senator Richard Blumenthal, who was an ardent supporter of the CGM bill,  along with the Hispanic American Veterans of CT collaborated to present these 65th regiment veterans in Connecticut with a signed copy of the bill honoring them.
Also recognized at the East Hartford Event were Frank Croce, CTLatinoNews.com, Frank Medina, who traveled to CT for the ceremony, LTC Lesbia I. Nieves, and SFC (RET) Carmelo Figueroa.
Nieves, the highest ranking Latina in CT’s National Guard, and Figueroa were recognized for initiating the effort to  support  the Congressional Gold Medal Alliance in Connecticut.
Croce, a veteran from Waterbury, upon learning of the discrimination and what the ‘Borinqueneers ‘endured while fighting to protect the U.S., joined Medina and countless  others in working toward recognition for the 65th.
When we at CTLatinoNews.com learned of the ‘Borinqueneers” in the fall of 2012, we immediately made a commitment to help tell their story, reporting on them and sharing our  reports with our local, regional and national media partners. This recognition from Frank Medina, the CGM Alliance and the CT Hispanic Veterans will always be very special to us, as telling the stories of Latinos in the region is why we exist.
We sent  our photographer to the ceremony to capture the happy occasion, which included the aging, but still proud, ‘Borinqueneers”, their families and the award winners.  We are happy to share this photo gallery, as we pledge continue to tell the story of the ‘Borinqueneers’.
Photos: Tim Becker 
 

SSG Luis Centeno of East Hartford recieves a copy of the CGM bill that recognizes the 65th military unit, known as the 'Borinqueneers'.
SFC Luis Centeno of East Hartford received a copy of the CGM bill that recognizes the 65th military unit, known as the ‘Borinqueneers’.

 
CPL Manuel Guliano was one of the Korean Veteran 'Borinqueneers ' to receive a signed copy of the CGM bill honoring him and his fellow soldiers.
CPL Manuel Guliano was one of the Korean Veteran ‘Borinqueneers ‘ who received a signed copy of the CGM bill honoring him and his fellow soldiers.

92 year old Luis Rodriquez enjoyed the gathering, his daughters say this recognition has been a blessing at this point in his life.
92 year old Luis Rodriquez enjoyed the gathering;  his daughters say this recognition has been a blessing at this point in his life.

 
Frank Medina, founder of the Congressional Gold Medal Alliance traveled to Connecticut for the ceremony.
MAJ Frank Medina, National Director of the Congressional Gold Medal Alliance, traveled to Connecticut for the ceremony.

 
Yvonne Centeno, of East Hartford  joined her father in celebrating the presentation of the CGM bill to CT 'Borinqueneers'.
Yvonne Centeno, of East Hartford joined her father in celebrating the presentation of the CGM bill to CT ‘Borinqueneers’.

 
Proud daughter Judy and Beth Rodriquez were on hand for the ceremony, where their Dad received a signed copy of the CGM bill.
Proud daughter Judy and Beth Rodriquez were on hand for the ceremony where their Dad received a signed copy of the CGM bill.

 
 
Frank Croce, a veteran from Waterbury who upon learning of what  the 65th endured, joined the effort to have them recognized.
Frank Croce, a veteran from Waterbury, who upon learning of what the 65th endured, joined the effort to have them recognized.

 
Diane Alverio, Publisher of CtLatinoNews.com receives certificate fo appreciation form Juan Cruz, Presidnet of the Hispanic Veterans of CT (left) and Frank Medina from the Congressional gold Medal Alliance
Diane Alverio, Publisher of CTLatinoNews.com, receives a certificate of appreciation on behalf of CTLatinoNews from Juan Cruz, President of the Hispanic Veterans of CT (left) and Major Frank Medina, National Director of the Congressional Gold Medal Alliance

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5 thoughts on “The Borinqueneers: A Story That Had To Be Told

  1. Our sincerest thanks to CTLatino News for their unwavering support in furthering the Borinqueneers legacy…Every bit of your coverage becomes a timeless archive in the 65th Infantry history..
    Please continue the great job in spotlighting and reporting Latino issues in the region…
    Saludos,
    Frank Medina
    National Chair
    Borinqueneers CGM Alliance
    http://www.65thCGM.org

  2. This is so wonderful; thank you, Medina for drawing the focus to these brave men.
    Most of all, thank you to Rodriguez, Centeno, Guilano and all the other “Borinqueneers” who took such risks and made such sacrifices for us. You’re amazing.

  3. Very impressed with the honor and respect awarded to my husband, Manuel, and the rest of the Borinqueneers on May 29. Juan, Julio and Frank did a fantastic job. Manuel felt very proud.
    Thank you very much.

  4. Dear: Connecticut Latino News readers
    I We would like to extend a formal invitation requesting your presence in honoring National Hispanic Heritage Month at the Osborn Correctional Institution in Somers, Connecticut. We are trying to gather a number of different speakers to come in and share information regarding Hispanic’s or Latinos that have succeeded in life in spite of adversities. It is our greatest desire to impart some hope into the many men who sit in these correctional facilities and inspire them with the belief that this world has more to offer them. We appreciate anything you can do that can help us break this horrible cycle of recidivism. In the spirit of National Hispanic Heritage Month, we are inviting you or someone you may recommend to the 2016 Hispanic Heritage Month Event here at Osborn Correctional Institution. We would be honored if you would accept our invitation to attend and speak during our National Hispanic Heritage Month celebration on any of the following dates and times:
    Tuesdays September 20th 2016 – 11:45am to 2:45pm
    Tuesdays September 27th 2016 – 11:45am to 2:45pm
    Tuesdays October—4th 2016 -11:45am to 2:45pm
    Tuesdays October –11th 2016-11:45am to 2:45pm

  5. Dear Borinqueneers muchos saludos hoy dia de
    Reyes 01-06-2017 y Saludos para Mayor Angel Escribano Aponte “Herencia Nuestra”. Sincerely, Nestor Luis Rivera P.O Box 937 Belden St Norwalk CT 06852

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