LTC Luis A. Tavarez (Ret.)
Luis A. Tavarez joined the Army in 1943 in the “old 65th” and fought in France and spent some months as occupation troops in Germany. Returned to Puerto Rico around Nov. 1945 and became part of the 296th Inf. until the Korean war broke out in June 1950. A first group from the 296th was attached to the 65th, went overseas to Japan later being disembarked in Pusan sometime late that year. At the time he was part of K Co. acting as Company First Sargent. He was awarded 2 Bronze Stars, one for Meritorious Service against the Enemy and the other for valor for rescuing some soldiers wounded in combat while under a mortar barrage at Chokko-Ri on July 5, 1952. He also was awarded the Purple Heart for wounds received on January 28, 1952. He later was assigned to the regiment headquarters and was responsible for the creation of the 65th Honor Guard Detachment that received the Puerto Rico flag in Korea after the establishment of the Commonwealth of PR. While in Korea he got a Field commission as Second lieutenant on 20th of June of 1952, which was officially approved on December of that same year. After the Outpost Kelly and Jackson heights incidents the 65th was “De-Puertoricanized” and Tavarez was re-assigned to the 47th (Viking) Inf Division which was at the time stationed in Germany.
In the late 1950’s he underwent training at the Mountain Ranger School Class #11 at Camp Dalonegho in Georgia. As First Lieutenant he acted as Aide de Camp to General Juan Cesar Cordero in November 1958 when the later was appointed the Puerto Rico National Guard Adjutant General.
In the 1960’s,as a Captain, Tavarez was assigned to teach at the newly established Officers Training Academy at Camp Santiago in Salinas and served for many years as Liasson Officer for the PR State Dept until his retirement as a LT. Colonel in 1984. He passed away late 2007 (EDITOR’S NOTE: Correct date 6/12/2008). I presume he is buried in National Cemetery in Bayamón as his name does not appear in the burial records yet.
I am assembling data of his life and achievements which were many, from people who knew him.
Written by Ricardo R. Medina