1SG Fernando Rodriguez Borges (Ret.)
My name is Fernando Rodriguez Borges. I was born in Coamo, Puerto Rico on September 24, 1929. I entered military service on November 10. 1950. I took basic training on Co. K in Camp Tortuguero, from November 1950 to March 1951. Many Puertorros and I left the island on the boat carrying troops to serve in Korea. That boat was named Lt. Beaudoin. After more than 30 days of sailing we disembarked on the southern city of Pusan. From there we were transported by train to a rally point of the 3rd Inf Div. Our group was dispatched to serve equally throughout the three regiments of the 3rd Inf. Division. Several of my comrades and I ended up at Co. H 2nd Bn., 15th Inf. Rgt. 3rd Inf. Div. From day one we were treated worse than the negro soldiers of the unit.
How did we become Borinqueneer Soldiers? I mean the Puertorros serving in the 7th and 15th Inf. Regiments.
Colonel Cordero, upon taking command of the 65th Inf. Rgt. argued to the commanding general of the 3rd Inf. Division that the Puertorros replacements were there to replace soldiers in his 65th Inf. Regiment because of their language barrier. That did not set very well with the other regimental commanders of the division.
In reading Colonel Villahermosa’s report on military awards published in Issue #22- September 2008, one comes to realize why there was a discrepancy in the number of awards given to the Puerto Rican soldier. There was conflict between the three regimental commanders on the equal distribution of replacements for each regimental unit. The Division commander sided with Col. Cordero and all of us serving in the 7& or 15th were brutally expelled from their units. I was the last one to leave because at the time I was recovering in Japan from combat wounds.
Yes, I served with the mortar platoon of Co. D 1st Bn., 65& Inf. Rgt. from Dec. 1951 to May 1952. The company clerk could not even find my name in the company morning report or process a promotion order from the platoon sergeant or to process me for rotation orders or to pay me on pay days. In other words, I was a ghost soldier serving in Korea with the 15th Inf Rgt. first and then with the 65th Inf. Rgt. How I managed to leave Korea? It took me a lot of moving around in circles to find my files stashed away in a foot locker at the 3rd Inf. Headquarters Company in Seoul.
Ironically, I served again with the 3rd Inf Div. in Ft. Benning Ga. 1954-1955 and with the 24th Inf Div. in Korea, 1956-1957. I also served in Vietnam with the 1st Air Cav. Div. 1967-1969 and with the 101st Air Cav. Div. 1970-1971. I retired from active service on May 10, 1972 with the rank of ISG- E8. I am still serving my God and my Country.
Thank you for bringing back the memories of old comrades, valiant men who gave their best for their country and humanity. God bless you all.
Fernando Rodriguez Borges
Note: My brothers Narciso (KIA) Miguel, Hector, Jose, also served with the 65th Inr Rgt. in Korea. 1951-1953.