Honor and Fidelity: Puerto Rico’s Borinqueneers

A group of Soldiers surround and sit on a playground slide. Their hands are upraised in celebration.

Soldiers from the 65th Infantry Regiment after capturing Yongchon, Korea. National Archives

How to register: 
We offer two field trip scheduling options:

All audiences. Content appropriate for Grades 6-12.

Goal: Recognize the commitment, challenges, and sacrifices of the Borinqueneers.

Program Description:
In 2016, the 65th Infantry Regiment, nicknamed the “Borinqueneers,” received the Congressional Gold Medal for the contributions “made by hundreds of thousands of brave and patriotic United States citizens from Puerto Rico” who served the U.S. Army “from World War I to the most recent conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq.”

The 65th Infantry traces its origin to the establishment of the First Puerto Rican Infantry Regiment at the conclusion of the War with Spain in 1898. The Borinqueneers served with honor and distinction during World War I and II but due to discrimination were often kept from the front lines. President Truman’s Executive Order 9981, which ended segregation in the U.S. Armed Forces, gave the unit a chance to prove themselves in combat during the Korean War.

In this History Talk, explore the commitment, challenges, and bravery of the Borinqueneers from their early roots through the Korean War. Learn how their actions, along with the thousands of other Puerto Rican veterans, contributed to the Army’s mission. Examine the legacy of their service and impact on the Army.

Objective: At the end of this lesson students, will be able to

  • Recognize the commitment, challenges, and sacrifices of Puerto Rican Soldiers.
  • Understand how Puerto Rican Soldiers have used military service as a strategy to advance civil rights.
  • Describe the United States’ changing role in Korea during the Cold War.

Guiding Questions:
How have Puerto Rican Soldiers used military service to expand civil rights?

Curriculum Connections

Common Core Standards

    Determine the central ideas or information of a primary or secondary source; provide an accurate summary of the source distinct from prior knowledge or opinions.

History and Social Science Standards of Learning for Virginia Public Schools

  • Virginia and United States History

    • VUS.15 The student will apply history and social science skills to analyze the United States’ foreign policy during the Cold War era by

      • D) analyzing the changing role of the United States in Asia, including Korea, Vietnam, and China, and the experiences of refugees from those nations.
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