FORT BUCHANAN, PR- Soldiers assigned to the 271st Human Resources Company, U.S. Army Reserve Caribbean Geographic Command, conducted a press conference, at the command's headquarters, July 11, to announce an upcoming mission to South Korea.
"Today we announce that our unit has been selected to perform a very important mission in South Korea in the upcoming weeks," said Capt. Ayesha Jimenez, unit commander, accompanied by members of the 65th Infantry Regiment Association and the Korean-American Association of Puerto Rico.
The Army Reserve unit will be performing a reception, staging, onward movement, and integration mission, as well as postal operations, once they arrive to the Asiatic country.
Jimenez also talked about what the mission represents to a new generation of Soldiers, who wear the same sentry box or "Garita" patch used by the 65th Infantry Regiment, also known as Borinqueneeers, unit that distinguished itself during the Korean War.
"This is a huge privilege for us. As a new generation of Soldiers, we are honored with this mission. We will do it wearing the Garita and inspired in the great sacrifices of the Borinqueneers," added Jimenez, who gave a Garita patch to the members of Borinqueneers present during the media engagement, as a symbol of respect.
For Victor Labarca, President of the 65th Infantry Regiment Association, the Army Reserve mission signifies the continuation of their original mission during the Korean War.
"When I see these young Soldiers, I remember my time in Korea. I am very proud of them because now they will continue defending democracy and freedom in South Korea, as we did 69 years ago. God bless you," said an emotional Labarca.
Labarca seized the opportunity to hand to Jimenez an official 65th Infantry Regiment hat, as a symbol of passing the generational baton among U.S. Soldiers from Puerto Rico.
Kio-Cha Lee, President of the Korean American Association of Puerto Rico, also reflected about the military service of U.S. Soldiers from the island.
"They are our heroes. Thanks to them and their sacrifices, we have a vibrant democracy in South Korea. I hope this new generation of Soldiers have a great mission in Korea. We certainly appreciate their sacrifices," said Lee.
The Korean War holds a special place in Puerto Ricans' collective memory. U.S. Soldiers from Puerto Rico departed to Korea in August 1950, and played a critical role during the War, through the 65th Infantry Regiment.
In recent years, Soldiers from the U.S. Army Reserve-Puerto Rico, the largest federal U.S. Army command in the Caribbean, have continued being key participants of a longstanding military partnership, commitment and enduring friendship between U.S. and Korea, by participating in a series of combined exercises conducted by the United States in the Korean Peninsula.
Over 61,000 U.S. Soldiers from Puerto Rico participated in the Korean War from June 1950 to July 1953, when a cease fire paused the conflict.
"This mission represents the high level of readiness of the units assigned to the Army Reserve Caribbean Geographic Command," added Jimenez.