Florida Senate - 2013                                    SM 1266
       By Senator Soto
       14-01604-13                                           20131266__
    1                           Senate Memorial                         
    2         A memorial to the President and the Congress of the
    3         United States, urging them to award the Congressional
    4         Gold Medal to the United States 65th Infantry
    5         Regiment, the Borinqueneers.
    7         WHEREAS, the United States 65th Infantry Regiment, the
    8  Borinqueneers, traces its lineage to the “Puerto Rican Regiment
    9  U.S. Volunteers,” which was authorized by Congress on March 2,
   10  1899, as a mounted battalion consisting of four companies, and
   11         WHEREAS, after Puerto Rico patriotically requested that the
   12  selective service draft law be extended to Puerto Rico as the
   13  United States entered the conflict in World War I, the
   14  Borinqueneers rallied a force of nearly 2,000, defending the
   15  Panama Canal, firing on the German supply ship Odenwald from El
   16  Morro Castle in Puerto Rico, and fighting valiantly on a number
   17  of fronts for liberty, and
   18         WHEREAS, during World War II, the Borinqueneers gallantly
   19  served in North Africa and Europe, winning the Naples-Foggian,
   20  Rome-Arne, Central Europe, and Rhineland battle campaign awards,
   21  and, after the war, were assigned dangerous security, anti
   22  sabotage, and other occupation missions around Kaiserslautern
   23  and Mannheim, Germany, making them one of the last units to
   24  return home at war’s end, and
   25         WHEREAS, during the Korean War, some 61,000 Puerto Rican
   26  soldiers served with the United States Army, 6,000 of them with
   27  the Borinqueneers, which, again, covered themselves in glory,
   28  distinguishing themselves over a 3-year period with nine Korean
   29  battle campaign awards, the Presidential and Meritorious Unit
   30  commendations, two Korean Presidential Unit citations, the Greek
   31  Gold Medal, the Navy Unit commendation, and many other awards
   32  for bravery, and launching the last regimental bayonet assault
   33  in United States Army history, and
   34         WHEREAS, the Borinqueneers were awarded nine battle
   35  campaign awards for bravery between 1950 and 1953 and, in World
   36  War I, World War II, and the Korean War, combined, were awarded
   37  ten Distinguished Service Crosses, 258 Silver Stars, 628 Bronze
   38  Stars, more than 2,700 Purple Hearts, and many other individual
   39  awards, and
   40         WHEREAS, legendary United States Army General Douglas
   41  MacArthur lauded the gallantry of the Borinqueneers, crediting
   42  them with a resolute will to victory and invincible loyalty to
   43  the United States, saying, “They write a brilliant record of
   44  achievement in battle and I am proud indeed to have them in this
   45  command. I wish that we might have many more like them!,” and
   46         WHEREAS, in 1959, the Borinqueneers passed their colors to
   47  the National Guard of the United States Territory of Puerto
   48  Rico, the only time in United States Army History that active
   49  unit colors were not retired, but, instead, turned over to a
   50  National Guard unit, and
   51         WHEREAS, today, the legacy of the Borinqueneers lives on in
   52  the National Guard in Puerto Rico, which continues to bravely
   53  defend the United States in the ongoing War on Terrorism, and
   54         WHEREAS, many of those who returned to civilian life after
   55  serving with the Borinqueneers have gone on to serve in
   56  leadership positions as respected businessmen, corporate
   57  executives, religious leaders, lawyers, doctors, educators,
   58  bankers, and political leaders, and
   59         WHEREAS, the Borinqueneers selflessly served and
   60  sacrificed, shedding blood for our democracy and helping to
   61  ensure our prosperity as they, themselves, faced segregation,
   62  discrimination, and unequal American citizenship, always loyally
   63  protecting our nation and nobly fighting for the good of all,
   64  and
   65         WHEREAS, these brave warriors, the Borinqueneers, deserve a
   66  place with all American heroes, and should be honored,
   67  commended, and never forgotten for their epic feats, and
   68         WHEREAS, the Congressional Gold Medal, along with the
   69  Presidential Medal of Freedom, is the highest civilian award in
   70  the United States, awarded to persons who have performed an
   71  achievement that has an impact on American history and culture
   72  that is likely to be recognized as a major achievement in the
   73  recipient’s field long after the achievement, NOW, THEREFORE,
   75  Be It Resolved by the Legislature of the State of Florida:
   77         That, in recognition of the bravery and sacrifice of the
   78  United States 65th Infantry Regiment, the Borinqueneers, we urge
   79  the President and the Congress of the United States to award the
   80  Congressional Gold Medal to these true heroes and defenders of
   81  our great nation.
   82         BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that copies of this memorial be
   83  dispatched to the President of the United States, to the
   84  President of the United States Senate, to the Speaker of the
   85  United States House of Representatives, to each member of the
   86  Florida delegation to the United States Congress, to the Puerto
   87  Rico Resident Commissioner, to the President of the United
   88  States 65th Infantry Regiment Association, the chairman of the
   89  Hispanic Achievers Grant Council, and the chairman of the
   90  Borinqueneer Congressional Gold Medal Alliance.