Puerto Rico National Cemetery

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Puerto Rico National Cemetery
Puerto Rico Landmark
Puerto Rico National Cemetery is located in Puerto Rico
Puerto Rico National Cemetery
Location Bayamón, Puerto Rico
Coordinates 18°24′44″N 66°10′00″W / 18.41222°N 66.16667°W / 18.41222; -66.16667
Built 1949
Governing body State
NRHP Reference # 83002298 [1]
Significant dates
Added to NRHP September 26, 1983
Designated PRH September 26, 1983

Puerto Rico National Cemetery is a United States national cemetery located in the city of Bayamón, in the commonwealth of Puerto Rico. It encompasses 108.2 acres (43.8 ha) of land, and as of the end of 2005, had 44,722 interments. It is the only National Cemetery in Puerto Rico, and the only one outside of the mainland United States.

History

The land in which the cemetery is located was under the jurisdiction of the United States Navy since 1898, when Spain ceded Puerto Rico to the United States as a consequence of the treaties signed which officially ended the Spanish–American War. The area was used as a machine gun firing range during World War II.

The Government of the United States decided that the site, which is located in Bayamon and is approximately 13 miles from San Juan, would be suitable for the construction of a new cemetery. The land was transferred to the stewardship of the United States Department of the Army and the private firm of Font & Montilla was contracted to build the cemetery.

The cemetery was dedicated on Veterans Day in 1949, in a ceremony attended by Luis Muñoz Marín, the Governor of Puerto Rico, and Major General Herman Feldman, the Quartermaster of the U.S. Army. The cemetery has become a shrine to the Puerto Rican veterans who have served in the United States military and those who perished while on active duty. In 1962, the remains of those interred on all other five military cemeteries on the island were transferred there.

The cemetery has the only Memorial Program Service Marker Processing Center site located in a national cemetery and outside of the United States. The Puerto Rico National Cemetery was listed on the National Register of Historic Places on September 26, 1983.[2]

Gallery of Notable interments

The following list has the names of distinguished Puerto Ricans, and non-Puerto Rican veterans who have made Puerto Rico their home, who served in the U.S. military and are interred there.

  • Domingo Arroyo, Jr., PFC, U.S. Marine Corps. First Puerto Rican and American serviceman to be killed in Operation Restore Hope during the Somalian Civil War. Section I, Row 0, Site 111.[3][4]
  • Bailey K. Ashford, Colonel, U.S. Army. Spanish–American War veteran, doctor, parasitologist, author. A pioneering physician, Ashford organized and conducted a parasite treatment campaign, which cured approximately 300,000 persons (one-third of the Puerto Rico population) and reduced the death rate from this anemia by 90 percent. Section A, Site 1204.[5]
  • Carlos Betances Ramírez, Colonel, U.S. Army. Betances Ramírez was the only Puerto Rican to command a Battalion in the Korean War. Section K, Site 3030.[6]
  • Modesto Cartagena, Sergeant First Class, U.S. Army. Served in the 65th Infantry Regiment, an all-Puerto Rican regiment also known as "The Borinqueneers", during World War II and the Korean War. He was the most decorated Puerto Rican soldier in history.[7]
  • Carlos Fernando Chardón, Major General, U.S. Army. Puerto Rico Adjutant General from 1969 to 1973. Chardon was also the Secretary of State of Puerto Rico from 1969 to 1973[8]
  • Virgilio N. Cordero, Jr., Brigadier General, U.S. Army. Battalion Commander of the 31st Infantry Regiment. He documented his experiences as a prisoner of war and his participation in the infamous Bataan Death March of World War II. Section G, Plot 3 [9]
  • Juan César Cordero Dávila, Major General, U.S. Army. Cordero Dávila was the commanding officer of the 65th Infantry Regiment during the Korean War, rising to become one of the highest ranking ethnic officers in the United States Army. Section C, Row, Site 0.[10]
  • Efrain Figueroa-Melendez, Staff Sergeant, U.S. Army. Figueroa-Melendez, awarded the Distinguished Service Cross, was a member of Company D, 3d Battalion, 8th Infantry Regiment, 4th Infantry Division. On three occasions Staff Sergeant Figueroa-Melendez purposely drew communist volleys on himself to permit his men to draw back to protected positions. Plot: E 563.[11]
  • Fernando Luis García Ledesma, PFC, U.S. Marine Corps. García Ledesma was the first Puerto Rican awarded the Medal of Honor. Plot: MB 0 3. [note 1][12]
  • César Luis González, First Lieutenant, U.S. Air Force. During World War II, González became the first pilot from Puerto Rico to fly for the US Army Air Corps and one of the first Puerto Ricans to die in combat during that conflict. He was posthumously promoted to 1st. Lt. Plot: A 175.[13]
  • Mihiel "Mike" Gilormini, Brigadier General, U.S. Air Force. A World War II hero, was the recipient of 5 Distinguished Flying Cross's and co-founder of the Puerto Rico Air National Guard. Gilormini had previously flown for the Royal Canadian Air Force (1941) and the Royal Air Force (1941–1942). Plot: F 314.[14]
  • Gilberto José Marxuach, Colonel, U.S. Army. Son of Teofilo Marxuach. He is known as "The Father of the San Juan Civil Defense". Plot: C 60.[15]
  • Teófilo Marxuach, Lieutenant Colonel, U.S. Army. Ordered the first shot fired in World War I on behalf of the United States on an armed German supply ship trying to force its way out of the San Juan Bay. Section C, Site 59.[16]
  • Elmy L. Matta, 1st. Lieutenant, U.S. Army. Awarded the Distinguished Service Cross, as member of the 8th Cavalry Regiment (Infantry), 1st CAV DIV. Lieutenant Matta was killed while personally leading an assault of his company against the enemy in the face of intense small arms and automatic weapons fire. Plot: A 0 41.[17]
  • José Antonio Muñiz, Lieutenant Colonel, U.S. Army Air Force. Muñiz, together with then-Colonels Alberto A. Nido and Mihiel Gilormini, founded the Puerto Rico Air National Guard. In 1963, the Air National Guard Base, at the San Juan International airport in Puerto Rico, was renamed "Muñiz Air National Guard Base" in his honor. Plot: E, Row 0, Site 312.[18]
  • Juan E. Negrón, Master Sargent, U.S. Army. Negron is the first member of the 65th Infantry Regiment to be posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor. Plot: J 0 3180.[19]
  • Alberto A. Nido, Brigadier General, U.S. Air Force. World War II hero who co-founded the Puerto Rico Air National Guard and served as its commander for many years. Plot: J 9.[20]
  • Belisario Noriega, Master Sergeant, U.S. Army. Awarded the Distinguished Service Cross, served with the 65th Infantry Regiment, 3d Infantry Division. He led his men through the hostile ranks of the enemy to the safety of the main line of resistance. Plot: E 582.[21]
  • Ramón Núñez-Juárez, PFC, U.S. Marine Corps. Posthumously awarded the Navy Cross, second highest military award of the United States of America after the Medal of Honor. He was the only Puerto Rican member of the United States Marine Corps whose remains have never been recovered and who was listed as Missing in Action during the Korean War. Plot: MB, Row 0, Site 2.[21]
  • Members of the Otero family:[22][23]
    • Joseph Otero, Sargeant, U.S. Army. Murdered by serial killer Dennis Rader
    • Julie Otero, wife of Joseph Otero, murdered by serial killer Dennis Rader
    • Josephine Otero, daughter of Joseph and Julie Otero, murdered by serial killer Dennis Rader
    • Joseph Otero II, son of Joseph and Julie Otero, murdered by serial killer Dennis Rader
  • SP5 Diana Beatriz Padro, died in The Pentagon during the September 11, 2001 attacks.
  • Agustín Ramos Calero, Sergeant First Class, U.S. Army. Ramos Calero, with 22 military decorations, was the most decorated Hispanic soldier in all of the United States during World War II. Plot: J 2116.[24]
  • Lizbeth Robles, SPC, U.S. Army. First Puerto Rican female soldier born in Puerto Rico to die in Iraq. Section A, Row 0, Site 1333.[25]
  • Antonio Rodríguez Balinas, Brigadier General, U.S. Army. Rodríguez Balinas was the first commander of the Office of the First U.S. Army Deputy Command.[26]
  • Eurípides Rubio, Captain, U.S. Army. Recipient of the Medal of Honor for his actions in the Vietnam War. Section HSA, Site 5.[27]
  • John Ernest Sayle, British Merchant Marine crewmember killed during World War II; one of two gravesites of British Commonwealth servicemen buried in Puerto Rico administered by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission.[28]
  • Antulio Segarra, Colonel, U.S. Army. In 1943, Segarra became the first Puerto Rican Regular Army officer to command a Regular Army Regiment when he assumed the command of Puerto Rico's 65th Infantry Regiment which at the time was conducting security missions in the jungles of Panama. Plot: A, Row 0, Site 353.[29]
  • Pedro Vázquez Rivera U.S. Marine Corps. Vázquez Rivera was an attorney and engineer who served as Puerto Rico's eighth Secretary of State from 1979 to 1981 under Governor Carlos Romero Barceló, Deputy Mayor of San Juan, Puerto Rico from 1984 to 1988 under Mayor Baltasar Corrada del Rio and Executive Director of the publicly owned Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority (PREPA) from 1977 to 1979.[30]
  • Frances M. Vega, SPC, U.S. Army. First stateside born Puerto Rican female soldier to die in a war. Section L, Row 0, Site 7.[31][32]
  • Captain Elwood Palmes Walmsley, Royal Air Force pilot killed during World War II; one of two gravesites of British Commonwealth servicemen buried in Puerto Rico administered by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission.[33]

Further reading

  • "Puertorriquenos Who Served With Guts, Glory, and Honor. Fighting to Defend a Nation Not Completely Their Own"; by : Greg Boudonck; ISBN 1497421837; ISBN 978-1497421837
  • "Historia militar de Puerto Rico"; by: Hector Andres Negroni; publisher=Sociedad Estatal Quinto Centenario (1992); isbn=84-7844-138-7

Gallery of notable interments

Notable interments
PFC Domingo Arroyo, Jr. 
Col. Bailey K. Ashford 
SFC Modesto Cartagena 
Brigadier General Virgilio N. Cordero, Jr. 
Maj. Gen. Juan César Cordero Dávila 
PFC Fernando Luis Garcia 
1st. Lt. Cesar Luis Gonzalez 
Brig. Gen. Mihiel Gilormini 
Col. Gilberto Marxuach 
Lt. Col. Teofilo Marxuach 
Lt. Col. José Antonio Muñiz 
Master Sgt. Juan E. Negrón 
Brig. General Alberto A. Nido 
PFC Ramón Núñez-Juárez 
Col. Carlos Betances Ramirez 
SFC Agustín Ramos Calero 
Maj. Gen. Carlos Fernando Chardón 
SPC Lizbeth Robles 
Brig. General Antonio Rodríguez Balinas 
Capt. Euripides Rubio 
Col. Antulo Segarra 
SPC Frances M. Vega 

Note

  1. ^ In the cases of PFC Fernando Luis Garcia and PFC Ramón Núñez-Juarez, no physical remains were buried. Separate cenotaphs (in these cases, the cenotaphs are normal headstones in accordance with cemetery protocol) with their names inscribed were placed by military officials in their memories.

See also

References

External links