Thanks to the untrying efforts of long time HAPCOA member Maria Rodriguez, Special Agent (retired), NCIS, with her team, they worked obtain the Congressional Gold Medal for the 65th Infantry Regiment, U.S. Army. HAPCOA supported this effort with letters to Congress and we salute the brave members of the 65th Infantry of Puerto Rico.
On June 10, 2014, at the White House bill signing ceremony, President Barak Obama stated, the bill presented today is the “Congressional Gold Medal to the 65th Infantry Regiment, U.S. Army — also known as the "Borinqueneers."
President Barack Obama leads an ovation for the Borinqueneers after he signed H.R. 1726 to award a Congressional Gold Medal to the 65th Infantry Regiment, known as the Borinqueneers, in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building South Court Auditorium, June 10, 2014. (Official White House Photo by Amanda Lucidon)
“The unit, comprised mostly of soldiers from Puerto Rico, distinguished itself in service during World War I, World War II, and in Korea. As President Obama noted, segregation "set them apart from their fellow soldiers — but their courage made them legendary."
“Only a handful of military units have ever received this award, and only one other Hispanic American has received this award, Roberto Clemente. That’s pretty good company. So this is a proud day for the Borinqueneers and their families. It’s a proud day for all of those whose lives they saved and whose freedom they defended. It’s a proud day for all Americans, especially Hispanic Americans, who have made extraordinary contributions to our country, many through their military service.
So on behalf of the American people, we want to thank all the Borinqueneers for their extraordinary service. You’ve earned a hallowed place in our history.”