Congressman Bill Posey (R-Rockledge) will present the Congressional Gold Medal Award Saturday posthumously to Pvt. Irvin O. Simmons (KIA), a fallen member of the U.S. Army’s 65th Infantry Regiment also known as the Borinqueneers, who died in the final hours of the Korean War.

Receiving the award on behalf of PVT Irvin Simmons is his brother, Bobby Simmons, who is also a veteran of the Korean War. The ceremony will take place at 11:30 a.m. at the Disabled American Veterans Post #109 in Titusville, Florida. “It is a great privilege to recognize the service and sacrifice of PVT Irvin Simmons by presenting the Congressional Gold Medal to the Simmons family,” said Congressman Posey.

“Every time we present a Congressional Gold Medal Award, we honor the bravery of the 65th Infantry Regiment and keep the memory and example of this legendary fighting force alive in our hearts and minds.” The ceremony has been arranged by the Boriqueneers Congressional Gold Medal Ceremony National Committee which was organized to ensure our veterans received the proper recognition. If you are a veteran and would like to help honor PVT Simmons please know you are welcome.

The 65th Infantry Regiment, nicknamed “The Borinqueneers”[1] from the original Taíno name of the island (Borinquen), is a Puerto Rican regiment of the United States Army. The regiment’s motto is Honor et Fidelitas, Latin for Honor and Fidelity. The Army Appropriation Bill created by an act of Congress on 2 March 1899, authorized the creation of the first body of native troops in Puerto Rico. On 30 June 1901, the “Porto Rico Provisional Regiment of Infantry” was organized.

A 1992 painting depicting the 65th Infantry’s bayonet charge against a Chinese division during the Korean War. (Dominic D’Andrea image)

Bobby Simmons, 83, cherishes an Aug. 30, 1953, Orlando Sentinel article chronicling the life of his older brother, who was killed on the last day of the Korean War. He kept the story about Irvin O. Simmons Jr., headlined “Snapshots, Letter Tell Of GI Killed On Last Day of War,” folded and tucked inside his shirt pocket when he served in Korea himself as a medic after the war was over, from 1955-57.

“I felt like I was part of him,” said Simmons, who still lives on the property between Titusville and Mims where he and his brother grew up with their three sisters. “When the mail came to me, one was a ‘dear John’ letter from my fianceé. The other was that article that my mom sent me.” A researcher’s discovery of the long-ago story set in motion the ceremony in Titusville to honor Irvin Simmons for his service in what is known as the “forgotten war.”

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