ORLANDO, Fla. (WOFL FOX 35) - It's a story that isn't told enough, and now real American heroes, the Borinqueneers, are finally getting the respect that they deserve, decades after they fought. U.S. Senator Marco Rubio made a special detour to the home of retired Command Sergeant Major Anibal Albertorio, to give him the Congressional Gold Medal. The special medal was designed just for the 65th Infantry Regiment Borinqueneers of Puerto Rico.
"The commanders finally realized, these guys were pretty good, and they started using them. They didn't just start using them, they started using them in the most dangerous conditions you can imagine, but this was a unit that was segregated from the rest of the Army, and in addition, their story went untold for far too long," said Sen. Rubio.
Mr. Albertorio could not make a medal ceremony in Washington, D.C., so he was personally given the medal by Sen. Rubio. The segregated Borinqueneers fought together in World War II and in Korea.
"Every few months, you will get a notice that another Borinqueneer has passed away, or another one of their members has passed," said Rubio, "so obviously, there was a real urgency to get this done as quickly as possible."
Albertorio served in Korea in the 65th, then two tours in Vietnam, earning the Bronze Star, twice. "If I have to do it, I would do it again. Why not? This country is too beautiful," he said.
Albertorio is 86 years old now and wants to make sure he is not the only Borinqueneer to get recognized. "We must remember all those who stayed behind us, falling."