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Puerto Rico's Fighting 65th U.S. Infantry: From San Juan to Chorwan Paperback – August 17, 2001

4.8 out of 5 stars 14 customer reviews

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About the Author

The late W. W. Harris commanded the 65th Infantry Regiment from 1949 to 1951 including its first year of combat in Korea.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Presidio Press (August 17, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0891417532
  • ISBN-13: 978-0891417538
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #474,860 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
As a descendant of one of the heroes of 65th Infantry, I was intrigued on how one of their former Commanding Officers would portray them. General Harris (then Colonel) did not wish to command this outfit and he resented his appointment, then unfairly known as a laid back, disorganized, backwater posting. He tells us how these men changed his outlook from day one of assuming command. These brave men, although barely two platoons strong when he assumed command, held off the best Division that the U.S. Army had to offer on training maneuvers, and the best the North Koreans and the Chinese had during the Korean War. When asked point blank if the puertorricans would fight when the time came, Colonel Harris' answer was just as direct: "My puertorricans will fight anyone, anywhere." They did not dissapoint their CO, becoming the most decorated Batallion of the Korean War. One can only wonder why this Batallion was rarely ever used during World War II.
The book has a few historical errors, all of them regarding Puerto Rico and its culture, and the narrative is sometimes repetitive. That is why I did not rate it as a 5 star book. But overall, it is an excellent military history narrative on one of the most decorated fighting units in the U.S. Army and the only Batallion to be transferred from the U.S. Army onto a National Guard when the time came to deactivate it. These men, along with every other war time hero, deserve our eternal thanks and our admiration for sacrificing their youth in order to preserve Freedom and Democracy.
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By A Customer on August 15, 2000
Format: Hardcover
This book exemplifies the spirit of the Puerto Rican soldier. Always willing to give their biggest effort in order to get the job done. It showed the valor and courage of this men. Is a book that every Puerto Rican serving in the Armed Forces should read and feel proud of the men before them.
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By A Customer on September 24, 2002
Format: Hardcover
This is a great book about an outstanding unit. As a "Boricua" i am proud of the deeds of the 65th, they demonstrated what they were made off and never let us down.
On another note the 65th was not a battalion but a Regiment composed of serveral battalions(just a correction to a previous review).
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Format: Paperback
I must admit it's hard for me to be impartial about this book, since I was bursting with pride as I read the battlefield accomplishments of our boricuas. Nevertheless, I think this book has a lot going for it that objectively warrants it getting 5 stars.

This book gives an unfiltered look at a soldier's mind. The language is laconically military and without hints of heavy editing or ghostwriting, and its' simplicity allows for very quick reading. The autor really holds his heart in his hand for the reader: his initial prejudice at commanding a "rum and Coca-Cola" outfit, his terror during a particularly savage artillery bombardment, his "chuckling" at the fate of a North Korean unit caught inside a railroad tunnel with the 65th's engineers about to blow up the entrances. Or like when his commanding officer made expressions of disappointment at the performance of African American troops under his command in the Italian Front during WW2. The author did not gloss over, condemn, or justfy his comments. He just retold the conversation as it happened (he argued with the CO as to what color Puerto Rican troops actually were!).

He also offers interesting insights into the nature of battlefield command and tactics, like the importance of a commanding officer not being too belicose, gettting caught up in the heat of battle and losing sight of the big picture, but rather maintaining a distance from where he can get keep track of the whole battle. Or the preferrability of not encircling your opponent (thereby forcing him to dig in and fight with desperation), but rather allowing him an escape route to your advantge where they may be cut to pieces as they try to stream out.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
As a former Sanjuanero who used to travel the 65th Infantry Highway, I always wondered about the road's namesake unit. Well, now I know! Well told and well illustrated.
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By Daisy on January 12, 2010
Format: Paperback
I found this book in a Fort Gordon, Georgia library as I was searching for a book to write a book report on. The book report was a requirement for the Signal Officer Basic course that I was enrolled in. It was back in June 2000, and I was a lieutenant in the US Army. I was pleasantly surprised and emotionally moved by this book. I must say that it continues to be one of my favorite books of all time. This is the book review I wrote back then for this book:

In this book the then Col Harris recounts his experience as commander of the 65th U.S. Infantry. He writes of the entire experience with this regiment. The reader can get a clear understanding of the author's feelings as he retells the experience as vividly as if it had happened just a few days ago. He takes the reader from 1949 when he was first assigned as commander of the 65th U.S. Infantry Regiment at Fort Brooke, Puerto Rico to the end of his commanding Chorwan, Korea 1951. He vividly describes his lack of knowledge, misconceptions as well as curiosity as to what he expected from the Puerto Rican soldiers. This book is organized as a journal and the reader feels as if Harris himself is telling you the story of how he felt back then and he then comes back and mentions how wrong he was to feel this way. This book written twenty-five years after the Korean War, is Harris' way of giving recognition and informing others of his unforgettable positive experience with the 65th Infantry Division.

One of the best lessons learned from this book is that one shouldn't judge others just by stereotypes. Col.
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