2013 Legislature                          SM 1266, 1st Engrossed
    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 Borinqueneers trace their lineage to the
    8  “Puerto Rico Regiment of Volunteer Infantry,” authorized by
    9  Congress on March 2, 1899, as the first body of native troops in
   10  Puerto Rico, the only Hispanic-segregated unit in the United
   11  States Armed Forces that played a prominent role in American
   12  military history, and
   13         WHEREAS, during World War I, the Borinqueneers rallied a
   14  force of over 1,500 to defend the Panama Canal, and upon their
   15  return to Puerto Rico were renamed “The 65th Infantry Regiment,”
   16  and
   17         WHEREAS, during World War II, the Borinqueneers served in
   18  North Africa and Europe, winning Naples-Foggia, Rome-Arne,
   19  Central Europe, and Rhineland battle campaign awards; and were
   20  assigned security, anti-sabotage, and other occupation missions
   21  around Kaiserslautern and Mannheim, Germany after the war, and
   22         WHEREAS, during the Korean War, the Borinqueneers were the
   23  only all-Hispanic unit; joined the United States 3rd Infantry
   24  Division to be among the first infantry to engage in battle with
   25  North Korean troops; served with distinction to earn 4
   26  Distinguished Service Crosses, 124 Silver Stars, 9 Korean battle
   27  campaign awards, the Presidential and Meritorious Unit
   28  Commendations, 2 Korean Presidential Unit Citations, and the
   29  Greek Gold Medal for Bravery; and are credited with launching
   30  the last recorded battalion-sized bayonet assault in United
   31  States Army history, and
   32         WHEREAS, legendary United States Army General Douglas
   33  MacArthur lauded the Borinqueneers, crediting them with a
   34  resolute will to victory and loyalty to the United States,
   35  saying, “They are writing a brilliant record of heroism in
   36  battle and I am indeed proud to have them under my command. I
   37  wish that we could count on many more like them,” and
   38         WHEREAS, in 1959, the Borinqueneers passed their colors to
   39  the National Guard of the United States Territory of Puerto
   40  Rico, withdrawing from the Regular Army, the only time in United
   41  States Army history that active unit colors were not retired,
   42  but, instead, turned over to a National Guard unit, and
   43         WHEREAS, today, the legacy of the Borinqueneers lives on in
   44  the National Guard in Puerto Rico, which continues to defend the
   45  United States in the ongoing War on Terrorism, and
   46         WHEREAS, the Borinqueneers served and sacrificed, shedding
   47  blood for our democracy and helping to ensure our prosperity as
   48  they faced segregation and discrimination, protecting our nation
   49  and fighting for the good of all, and
   50         WHEREAS, these warriors, the Borinqueneers, deserve a place
   51  with all American heroes, and should be honored, commended, and
   52  never forgotten for their feats, and
   53         WHEREAS, the Congressional Gold Medal is the highest
   54  civilian award given by the United States Congress, awarded as
   55  an expression of public gratitude on behalf of the nation for
   56  distinguished contributions, NOW, THEREFORE,
   58  Be It Resolved by the Legislature of the State of Florida:
   60         That, in recognition of the bravery and sacrifice of the
   61  United States 65th Infantry Regiment, the Borinqueneers, the
   62  President and the Congress of the United States are urged to
   63  award the Congressional Gold Medal to these true heroes and
   64  defenders of our great nation.
   65         BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that copies of this memorial be
   66  dispatched to the President of the United States, to the
   67  President of the United States Senate, to the Speaker of the
   68  United States House of Representatives, to each member of the
   69  Florida delegation to the United States Congress, to the Puerto
   70  Rico Resident Commissioner, to the President of the United
   71  States 65th Infantry Regiment Association, the chairman of the
   72  Hispanic Achievers Grant Council, the chairman of the
   73  Borinqueneers Congressional Gold Medal Alliance, and the
   74  National Association for Uniformed Services.