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‘I’m Proud.’ Puerto Rican Borinqueneer Looks Back On His U.S. Army Service On Veterans Day

Veteran Johnny Reus sits in his home during an interview with the Miami Herald the day before Veterans Day at East Ridge Community in Cutler Bay, Florida on Sunday, November 10, 2019.

Johnny Reus is a 93-year-old, Purple-Heart-awarded combat veteran of the Korean and Vietnam wars, who trained top-notch soldiers throughout the Americas and Europe for the U.S. Army. But right now, what he’s concerned about the most is running for a seat on the council of his senior living community in Cutler Bay.

He speaks about the lack of outdoor activities in the East Ridge community with the same authority as he does about historic operations he witnessed on the battlefield as a soldier for the 65th Infantry Regiment of the U.S. Army, also known as the Puerto Rican Borinqueneers.

On Monday, Reus will be one of several veterans at his South Florida community who will be honored for his service for over 20 years in the military. He is also one of the estimated 1,000 Borinqueneers, the last desegregated unit of the U.S. Army, who are still alive today. Though they have lacked in recognition for years, in 2014, this group of soldiers gained national visibility when they were awarded the Congressional Gold Medal for their role in U.S. wars since Puerto Rico became a possession of the U.S. in 1898.

Read more at our news partner the Miami Herald.

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