Fuentes to Present Resolution to Member of Legendary Hispanic Military Outfit
As part of Hispanic Heritage Month, Assemblyman Angel Fuentes will present a ceremonial resolution to Sabino DelValle, honoring the 89-year old Voorhees resident for his service in Europe during World War II as part of the Borinqueneers – the only Hispanic-segregated unit in United States military history.
The resolution will be presented during the General Assembly’s voting session on Thursday, September 30, at 1 pm in the Assembly Chambers of the Statehouse.
The joint resolution is sponsored by Assembly members Fuentes, Nellie Pou, Gilbert “Whip” Wilson, Pamela Lampitt, Lou Greenwald, Vincent Prieto, Albert Coutinho, Caridad Rodriguez, Ruben Ramos, and Annette Quijano, and Senators Donald Norcross, James Beach, and Teresa Ruiz.
“Mr. DelValle was an integral part of the Borinqueneers through his valiant service in Italy, France and Germany during the height of Word War II,” Fuentes said (D-Camden/Gloucester). “He and countless other Borinqueneers served with distinction in World War I, World War II and most notably the Korean War, participating in nine major campaigns and earning respect and admiration of their fellow soldiers and military authorities. This resolution is just one small way to commemorate their dignified service in the face of numerous adversities.”
In addition to the ceremonial resolution, the Assembly will also vote on AR-78, which urges the Citizens’ Stamp Advisory Committee to issue a postage stamp honoring the Borinqueneers. The 65th Infantry Regiment was created in 1899 and mandated by Congress to be comprised primarily of Puerto Ricans. The regiment became better known as the Borinqueneers from the word Borinquen, the name by which the native Taino Indians called Puerto Rico.
The Borinqueneers earned two United States Presidential Unit Citations, a Meritorious Unit Commendation and two Republic of Korea Unit Citations, as individual members earned 10 Distinguished Service Crosses, 421 Silver Stars, and 156 Bronze Stars.
Fuentes noted the Borinqueneers, as they made valuable contributions to the United States’ war efforts, suffered tremendous casualties, with more than 3,000 wounded including 600 killed.
The Borinqueneers also gained the admiration of General Douglas MacArthur who noted in February of 1951:
“The Puerto Ricans forming the ranks of the gallant 65th Infantry on the battlefields of Korea…are writing a brilliant record of achievement in battle and I am proud indeed to have them in this command. I wish that we might have many more like them.”
The 65th Infantry returned to Puerto Rico and was deactivated in 1956. However, Brig. General Juan Cordero, Puerto Rico’s Adjutant General, persuaded the Department of the Army to transfer the 65th Infantry from the regular Army to the Puerto Rico National Guard. This was the only unit ever transferred from active component Army to the National Guard.