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Hispanic Americans in the Korean War

Hispanic American ethnic groups, made up mostly of Puerto Ricans and others with ancestry from Mexico, Central and South America, Cuba and other Caribbean islands, already had distinguished themselves through combat skills and bravery during World War II.

In July 1950, there were about 20,000 Hispanics in the armed forces. Over the next three years, nearly 148,000 Hispanic Americans volunteered for or were drafted into military service. Of these, approximately 60,000 Puerto Ricans served in Korea.

During the Korean War, most Hispanic Americans served in the Army and Marine Corps. However, several thousand served in the Air Force, Navy and Coast Guard in both combat and combat service support branches. Commanders recognized the courage and determination of Hispanic Americans in combat. Nine Hispanics were awarded the Medal of Honor and more than 100 others received Distinguished Service Crosses and Silver Stars for acts of combat bravery.

Sources

Gann, Lewis H., and Peter J. Duignan. The Hispanics in the United States (1986)
Harris, William W. Puerto Rico's Fighting 65th U.S. Infantry (1980)
Jessup, John E., ed. Encyclopedia of the American Military (1994)
Reddy, Marlita, A., ed. Statistical Record of Hispanic Americans (1993)
United States Air Force History Support Office. Biography of Major General Salvador E. Felices (1974)
United States Department of Defense. Office of the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Equal Opportunity and Safety Policy. Hispanics in America's Defense. Department of Defense (1982)
United States Military History Institute. Biographical Outline of General Richard E. Cavazos (1984)

 

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