91-year-old veteran is member of unique Army regiment known as Borinqueneers

The Borinqueneers were an all Puerto Rican unit who have served in America's wars since World War I.


Honor and Fidelity is the motto for a unique regiment in the U.S. Army known as the Borinqueneers, an all Puerto Rican unit.

In celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month, sister station WESH spoke to a 91-year-old veteran living in Seminole County, Florida, who says he wants to teach the next generation.

There are young men sitting in books in Retired Command Sergeant Major Anibal Albertorio's house.

"Here is the famous 65th infantry softball team. We were champions. Most of them [passed] away. I don't recall anyone that's alive. The others are gone," he said.

The men were young when they joined the military at 18, volunteers — shipped off to fight in Korea in 1950.

Albertorio, who served in Korea and Vietnam, is a member of the famed 65th infantry regiment — nicknamed the Borinqueneers — an all Puerto Rican unit who've served in America's wars since World War I. They were serving at a time when discrimination based on race was the norm.

"They forget that we are one nation under God. So we want to fight for the same principles. And those bullets don't have any, any colors or any particular agenda, they are there to shoot you," Albertorio said.

Many of the men who left Puerto Rico with him, never made it home.

"Those that work beside me, behind me in front of me that didn't return, they stay there. Missing in action, KIA; they never had the opportunity to return," he said. "Those things on my mind, always haunt me, forever. That I can do something about that particular soldier, my brother, I cannot do nothing about it. So, that really sticks stay on my mind all the time."

He continued: "When I talk about it, I sometimes get emotional because there are so many experiences that I had in my mind from Korea and Vietnam. You got to love your country, you get to protect your country, by your daily behavior, Remember that you are here, because so many of them stay behind defending this country."

It's the act of service message that keeps Albertorio hard at work, a job he says he will work until he's 100, helping the next generation understand we are in this together.

"Don't be selfish. It will be a person that can help others. Not only with words, but with deeds, do something, don't talk about it, you'll do it. And be consistent on your cooperation, your conversation, your interaction with your neighbors. So that's my philosophy," he said.

The Borinqueneers were awarded a Congressional Gold Medal in 2014 when Congress passed the legislation unanimously. Albertorio was unable to attend in person, so U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, of Florida, came to his house and personally presented him with the honor.