The Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, a U.S. territory in the Caribbean, participated in the Korean War from October 1950 to June 1953. Puerto Ricans distinguished themselves as part of the US Army’s 65th Regiment (a segregated unit) and were known as the Borinqueneers. The Regiment was eventually assigned to serve as part of the 3rd Infantry Division. They were the last to hold back at the Chosin Reservoir, one of the largest military withdrawals in U.S. military history.
Among the total of 61,000 Puerto Ricans who served in Korea, 90% were volunteers, and a total of 756 were killed. Together, 10 Distinguished Service Crosses, 256 Silver Stars and 606 Bronze Stars for valor, and 2,771 Purple Heart Medals were awarded to the men of the 65th Infantry. The 65th Infantry Regiment is the only unit that earned the Congressional Gold Medal for its heroism in the Korean War.
Along the esplanade leading to the “El Morro Fortress” in Old San Juan where the 65th Infantry Regiment once trained, there is a small plaque honoring its service.