August 1950 the Korean War was less than two months old, and Puerto
Rico's 65th Infantry Regiment was on its way to the combat zone. The
regiment landed at the port city of Pusan on the Korean Peninsula's
southern tip, where U.S. forces had been holding a perimeter against
the Communist North Korean invaders. Sent into action immediately,
the Puerto Ricans took part in the U.S. breakout and drive to the
north. Following the brilliantly planned and executed surprise landings
at Inchon, U.S. and other United Nations forces drove deep into the
mountains of North Korea. At that point a huge Chinese Army entered
the war. The U.S. Eighth Army was overrun, and the 1st Marine Division,
with attached U.S. and British Army Units, was completely encircled.
In one of the greatest fighting retreats in history, the outnumbered
Marines battled their way south to the coast. The first friendly troops
they saw on the frozen ridgetops were the Puerto Ricans of the 65th
Infantry Regiment, sent to hold the perimeter around the vital port
of Hungnam. The Puerto Ricans supervised the evacuation of Hungnam,
finally sailing themselves on Christmas Eve, 1950. The 65th landed
in Pusan as they had five months before, and again fought their way
northward. Late January 1951 found them south of the Korean capital
of Seoul, under orders to take two hills being held by the Chinese
149th Division. The assault began on on January 31st, and took three
days. On the morning of the third day the top of the hills were within
reach, and two battalions of the 65th fixed bayonets and charged straight
at the enemy positions. The Chinese fled. During its service in Korea,
the men of the 65th Infantry won four Distinguished Service Crosses
and 125 Silver Stars. The "The Borinqueneers" were also
awarded the Presidential and Meritorious Unit Commendations, two Korean
Presidential Unit Citations and the Greek Gold Medal for Bravery.
The 65th Infantry Regiment's gallant service in a difficult war is
exemplified by its regimental motto, "Honor and Fidelity,"
and the regiment itself exemplifies the National Guard's leading role
in our nation's military history.
Army Center of Military History