“The Fighting Borinqueneers persevered, despite discrimination and hardship, to defend America throughout the entire Twentieth Century,” said Congresswoman Kaptur, whose district is home to the largest Puerto Rican communities outside New York—namely, Lorain, Ohio, which is over 25 percent boricua.
“All told, more than 100,000 served and their courage was boundless,” she said. “They even led the last regimental bayonet charge in U.S. military history—a truly heroic act during the Korean War that saved the lives of many.”
Congresswoman Kaptur said it is ironic that previous military recipients of the Congressional Gold Medal include Navy Fleet Admiral Ernest J. King, a native of Lorain.
Formed in 1898, shortly after Puerto Rico became a part of the United States, the Borinqueneers served in World War I, World War II, and Korea.
The Fighting Borinqueneers achieved glory in February 1951 when they charged Chinese positions with bayonets, opening an escape route for Marines who had been trapped near the Chosin Reservoir.
Segregation “set them apart from their fellow soldiers, but their courage made them legendary,” President Obama said during a signing ceremony at the White House. “We thank all the Borinqueneers for their extraordinary service. You’ve earned a hallowed place in our history.”