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Frank Medina – You Are Strong! Featured Veteran

Originally from Ponce, Puerto Rico, Frank came to the U.S. at 7 years old and grew up in the inner city of Bridgeport, CT. Growing up in this area, the surrounding neighborhood and school environment were not always the best and most positive influences for a young child. Nevertheless, Frank attributes his success and good character to having a family that inculcated solid Christian principles and values. He always had goals to be an engineer and develop technology. In June 2002, he graduated from the United States Military Academy at West Point and earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Engineering Management with a minor in Electrical Engineering. In June 2012, he graduated from the University of Florida with a Master of Science degree in Industrial & Systems Engineering with a minor in Information Systems. He holds the Project Management Professional certification along with several IT/Telecommunication certifications. He currently works with the Department of the Navy as a systems engineer for training and simulation technologies for Navy Aircraft in Orlando, FL. He was a beautiful wife, Rosa and daughter, Natalie.

His professional career mostly encompassed serving as a U.S. Army officer in the Signal Communications Corps and after departing military service he pursed work with Defense IT/Communications sector companies engaged in the country’s war campaigns. During his military service, Frank was assigned to a multitude of diverse assignments throughout the world enabling him to experience first-hand different cultures and thus providing him a broad perspective of global industrial/business dynamics via a multicultural lens. His overseas military assignments include: Seoul, South Korea, Honduras, Kuwait, and finalizing with a combat tour in Iraq with Operation Iraqi Freedom. After departing from military service, Frank worked as an IT Network Analyst and was assigned to Kabul, Afghanistan where he viewed the progression of the country’s nascent government rebuild into a modern society.

While attending the University of Florida for his master’s degree, Frank was involved with the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers (SHPE) in the Graduate Member committee. The Graduate member committee was devoted to inspiring and educating undergraduate minority engineering students in pursuing advanced degrees in the Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) fields. Since there is a very dismal percentage of Hispanics students pursuing advanced degrees in the U.S. Frank was very passionate in promoting awareness and the endless career opportunities from pursuing Master’s and Doctorate degrees in the STEM disciplines. He personally helped, educated and mentored many undergraduate Hispanic students in the rigors of graduate school selection, admission applications, career advice/development, and what industry, occupations to specialize.

When Frank graduated from his Master’s program, he got married and moved to Orlando, FL to start a career with the Department of the Navy as a systems engineer developing training simulation systems for Naval aircraft. It was during this time that Frank’s West Point Alumni organization held a professional development conference event for all of the Services Academy’s minority alumni at the Epcot Disney Yacht Club Resort. The capstone event was a tribute luncheon for two minority veteran groups: 1) The Tuskegee Airmen (The first African-American pilots and 2) The Montford Point Marines (The first African-American Marines in the Marine Corps)

Frank saw the email correspondence for the schedule of events and realized that there was also a minority veterans group that should be included in this tribute luncheon. This group is the 65th Infantry Regiment which comprised of primarily all Puerto Ricans and his grandfather was also veteran of that group as well. The 65th Infantry Regiment, nicknamed, “The Borinqueneers” fought in World War I, II and the Korean War. They were the only Hispanic segregated unit in U.S. Military history with many notable military achievements despite many injustices, segregation and hardships.

Frank volunteered to bring a couple of Borinqueneers to the minority veteran group tribute luncheon and presented remarks at the tribute ceremony. Throughout and after the ceremony, the Borinqueneers in attendance noticed that a Montford Point Marine was wearing the Congressional Gold Medal (CGM) around their neck. It was then that one of the Borinqueneers asked, Frank, “How can we get a medal like that?” and then Frank sharply responded, “Good question, how do you guys get a medal like that?”

Going back and doing some research, Frank found that three other notable minority veteran groups also received the well-deserved Congressional Gold Medal: 1) The Navajo Wind Talkers 2) The Tuskegee Airmen and 3) The Nisei Japanese Soldiers.

From that point forward, Frank found his calling: To launch a nationwide initiative to obtain the Congressional Gold Medal for the 65th Infantry. Being deployed to a war zone, Frank understands the noble military efforts of unsung heroes like the 65th Infantry Regiment going largely unnoticed. Frank became determined to let this recognition be noticed at the highest level possible such as the other well-deserved minority veteran groups. Frank wanted to achieve a lasting legacy for the valiant Borinqueneers.

The Congressional Gold Medal is the highest civilian award in the US and is equal to the Presidential Medal of Freedom. If awarded to the Borinqueneers, the CGM will be the highest award EVER to be bestowed to the 65th Infantry Regiment and to Hispanic Veterans overall. If successful, this achievement will be of historic nature for Hispanic Veterans and Hispanics overall. In fact, another notable Hispanic and Puerto Rican Baseball Hall of Famer, Roberto Clemente, is also a CGM recipient. Frank was ready to tackle this challenge and very quickly he started garnering support nationwide to join the Borinqueneers Congressional Gold Medal Alliance (BCA). 

The BCA is a group The Borinqueneer Congressional Gold Medal Alliance is a non-partisan, volunteer, NATIONWIDE  group of organizations and individuals dedicated to achieving the Congressional Gold Medal for the 65th Infantry Regiment. Only about 3 months old, the Borinqueneers CGM Alliance (BCA) is growing very rapidly and getting the attention of the Hispanic community. The BCA already has reached out to 6 Congressional Representatives and is yet to reach even more. However, the BCA needs your help to make the CGM into a historic reality. If interested, please check out their website at www.65thCGM.org

The initiative to purse the Congressional Gold Medal for the 65th Inf. Reg. is a Call to Action to preserve and perpetuate the fine and rich tradition of a valiant Army unit that fought in combat with honor and bravery.

The 65th Inf. Reg. faced various hardships, injustices, and segregation which may have arguably and detrimentally overshadowed the unit’s excellence and reputation. A Congressional Gold Medal is appropriately fitting and well-deserving for the 65th Inf. and will seal a mark of excellence over history of the 65th Inf. Reg. This will also come timely as the end of the Korean War celebrates its 60th Anniversary next year.

The 65th Inf. Reg. is a major cultural component of the Puerto Rican culture and we owe it to our 65th Inf. Reg. veterans, Hispanic Veterans and to our cultural legacy to strive for the recognition they deserve.

Help us change history for the 65th Infantry Veterans and all Hispanic Veterans!!!

Overall, Frank’s experiences have prepared him to adapt and tackle challenges amidst diverse circumstances and bore in him an attitude to trailblaze any mission hurled in his path. Driven by selfless service, Frank is inspired by engaging in community activities which promote the education and professional advancement of Hispanic youth and adults through mentorship and career development.

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U.S. Military 101 The "Basics" of the United States Military Reserve members fall within one of the four main branches of the military: Army, Air Force, Marine Corps, and Navy. Each branch has a group of reserves, but only the Air Force and Army attain a National Guard. In times of conflict and war, the President can call to duty all members of the reserves, but requires state approval for activation of the National Guard.

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