HomeDelran NewsCouncil honors a WWII 'unsung hero'

Council honors a WWII ‘unsung hero’

Courtesy of Delran Township
Delran Mayor Gary Catrambone and township council presented the family of Private First Class Julio L. Lopez with a proclamation for his service last month. He was a member of the 65th Infantry Regiment, also known as the Borinqueneers.

The 65th Infantry Regiment known as the Borinqueneers was made up entirely of Puerto Rican volunteers who served America even before the island gained U.S. status.

“Their history is incredibly rich and storied, yet very few people know about them and their contribution to our country,” said Delran Mayor Gary Catrambone.

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Private First Class Julio L. Lopez was one of those volunteers. Catrambone and council honored his contributions posthumously as part of the township’s monthly recognition of its veterans.

“Borinqueneer Lopez is an unsung hero and his story should be heard,” Catrambone noted.

The mayor read and presented a proclamation to Lopez’s family – his two daughters and granddaughter – at a meeting last month. He passed away in 1991.

Lopez enlisted in the Army in September of 1943 and was trained at Fort Buchanan in Puerto Rico. He was then deployed to central Europe and the Southeast Asian theater of battle, where he served as a rifleman for the regiment.

“Despite being subjected to segregation laws and prejudices, the men of the 65th infantry regiment proved they were soldiers and dedicated American patriots,” the proclamation reads. “Service was emblematic of the contributions to the armed forces that were made from hundreds of thousands of brave U.S. citizens from Puerto Rico over the generations.”

Lopez also participated in key missions along the Rhineland that ensured Allied Forces could maintain ground as they advanced on Berlin and the rest of Germany to end World War II. After completing his tour overseas, Lopez returned home in 1946 to finish his three-year enlistment at Fort Buchanan.

Lopez’s numerous awards and accolades include the Army’s good conduct medal, the American Theater service medal, two bronze stars and an honorable service lapel pin. He was the first of his family to come to the U.S. with “a dream of living in the land that he served, loved and protected.”

“His patriotism was so immense,” Catrambone pointed out, “that he even named his second daughter America.”


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