Puerto Rico National Guard

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Puerto Rico National Guard
Founded June 3, 1916; 102 years ago (1916-06-03)
Country  United States
Allegiance  Puerto Rico
Type National Guard
Role provide soldiers and airmen to the U.S. Army and U.S. Air Force in national emergencies or when requested by the President of the United States; military operations at the state level or any other lawful service as requested by the governor of Puerto Rico
Size 10,268 (total)[lower-alpha 1]
Part of Puerto Rico Commission on Safety and Public Protection
National Guard Bureau
United States Department of the Air Force
United States Department of the Army
Garrison/HQ San Juan, Puerto Rico
Mascot lamb
Engagements Afghanistan War
Iraq War
Luis R. Esteves
William Miranda Marín
File:Puerto Rican National Guard, 60th Infantry Regiment..jpg
Puerto Rican National Guard Engineers in Korea, 60th Infantry Regiment.

The Puerto Rico National Guard (PRNG) —Spanish: Guardia Nacional de Puerto Rico— is the national guard of Puerto Rico. Its mission is to provide soldiers and airmen to the United States Army and U.S. Air Force in national emergencies or when requested by the President of the United States, and to perform military operations at the state level or any other lawful service as requested by the governor of Puerto Rico.

The Puerto Rico National Guard comprises both Army and Air National Guard components, namely the Puerto Rico Army National Guard and the Puerto Rico Air National Guard respectively, with a total authorized strength of 8,400 citizen-soldiers and airmen.[lower-alpha 2] The Constitution of the United States specifically charges the different National Guards with dual federal and state missions. The Puerto Rico National Guard is the only United States military force empowered to function in a state/territorial status within Puerto Rico. Those functions range from limited actions during non-emergency situations to full-scale law enforcement of martial law when local law enforcement officials can no longer maintain civil control.

The Puerto Rico National Guard may be called into federal service in response to a call by the President of the United States or Congress, usually at the request of the governor of Puerto Rico. When under state/territory control, the governor serves as commander-in-chief. When troops from the Puerto Rico National Guard are called to federal service, the President serves as commander-in-chief. The federal mission assigned to the different National Guards is: "To provide properly trained and equipped units for prompt mobilization for war, national emergency or as otherwise needed."

The governor of Puerto Rico may call individuals or units of the Puerto Rico National Guard into state service during emergencies or to assist in special situations in which National Guard use is appropriate. The state mission assigned to the National Guard is: "To provide trained and disciplined forces for domestic emergencies or as otherwise provided by state law."


Cadet Luis R. Esteves 1915

After the Spanish American War in 1898, Spain ceded Puerto Rico to the United States. US military authorities discussed Puerto Rico's military value. It offered tremendous commercial value in expanding commerce among the US, Central and South America. Because of the political changes in the beginning of the 20th century, the strategic military importance of Puerto Rico grew. In 1906, a group of Puerto Ricans met with the Governor Winthrop, and the Commissioner of Interior, Lawrence H. Graham, to organize a National Guard of Puerto Rico. The public supported this effort and some companies were organized, in different towns around the island: Yauco under the command of Captain Santiago Vivaldi; Juana Díaz, commanded by Captain Diaz-Brik; Peñuelas by Captain Gabino Balasquide; and two in Ponce by Pedro Juan Armstrong, Mario Belaval, J. Oppenheimer, F. del Valle and Doctor Laguna. In San Juan three companies were organized under Federico Vall-Spinosa, Justo Barros, J. del Barril, R. Swigett, J. Doere, Lugo Vinas and F. Fano.

Puerto Rico National Guard - 2012

As the companies were being formed, all of the officers and soldiers had to purchase their own uniforms and supplies, since there was no government funding for the enterprise. This organization failed due to existing U. S. federal law, which prohibited the formation of any armed force within the United States and its territories without authorization from Congress.

During World War I, Puerto Ricans served in the 373d, 374th, and 375th Infantry Regiments of the National Army and the Puerto Rican Regiment of the Regular Army. Approximately 20,000 troops were trained at Camp Las Casas. The young Puerto Rican officer, Luis Raúl Estevez, thought a Puerto Rican National Guard was needed. As the first Puerto Rican to graduate from the US Military Academy at West Point, he had learned about military units in other states. He discussed the issue with the governor of Puerto Rico, Arthur Yager, soon after the conclusion of World War I. The governor, Legislature of Puerto Rico, and US Congress approved the plan, and the National Guard was organized in 1919. In 1938, Luis R. Esteves was promoted to Major General and appointed as Adjutant General of the Puerto Rican National Guard.

The first regiment of the Puerto Rico National Guard, "First Infantry Regiment", was organized on June 2, 1920 and reorganized on December 26, 1922, as the 295th Infantry Regiment. On March 1, 1936, the 296th Infantry Regiment was organized. Before, the 296th existed as a battalion of the 295th Infantry Regiment.

File:Troops in Jayuya.gif
The National Guard, commanded by the Puerto Rico Adjutant General Major General Luis R. Esteves and under the orders of Gov. Luis Muñoz Marín, occupy Jayuya

On October 30, 1950, the Puerto Rican Nationalist Party organized a series of uprisings in numerous cities in Puerto Rico against United States rule and the Puerto Rican commonwealth government in what is known as the Puerto Rican Nationalist Party Revolts of the 1950s. The Puerto Rico National Guard was mobilized under the command of Puerto Rico Adjutant General Luis R. Esteves by orders of Governor Luis Muñoz Marín and sent to confront the Nationalists in various towns such as Jayuya, Utuado and San Juan.[2]


Adjutant General

The Adjutant General is the executive officer and commander of both the Puerto Rico National Guard and the Puerto Rico State Guard.

The current Adjutant General is Brigadier General Juan José Medina Lamela who was appointed on January 2013 by governor Alejandro García Padilla, confirmed by the 25th Senate of Puerto Rico on March 2013, and relieved General Vicens officially on July 20, 2013.[3]

Military installations

  • Camp Santiago Joint Maneuver Training Center on 12,000 acres of land located in Salinas, Puerto Rico is the island's premier National Guard training facility.[citation needed] Though it has no permanent residents, Camp Santiago can house thousands of troops on a temporary basis. Some old barracks are being replaced with new two-level barracks. In addition to rifle and small arm ranges, a leadership reaction course, and dining facilities and classrooms, Camp Santiago houses a Puerto Rico National Guard Museum, a theater, a Class Six Shoppette and, since 2009, a post exchange on base. A $1.7 million Urban Assault Course is to be constructed at Camp Santiago. National Guard units from other states also come to Camp Santiago for their two weeks annual training. In 1975 the facility was renamed from Camp Salinas to Camp Santiago in honor of Specialist Four Héctor Santiago-Colón, who received the Medal of Honor during the Vietnam War. Salinas was Santiago's birthplace.
  • Fort Allen, located 4 miles (6.4 km) south of Juana Díaz, is the site of the Puerto Rico National Guard Language Center. Many PRNG and U.S. Army Reserve units are stationed at Fort Allen. The National Guard's Youth Challenge Program operates at Fort Allen, graduating hundreds of high school students each year who had formerly dropped out of school. The Relocatable Over the Horizon (ROTHR) receiver site has operated at Fort Allen since the 1990s; it is part of a surveillance network designed to monitor flights over an area encompassing more than 1,000,000 square miles (2,600,000 km2) in South America. The (ROTHR) radar consists of 34 antennas and support structure from 71 to 123 feet (37 m) tall. Barracks can house military personnel on a temporary basis, NGX has a post exchange on base, and an Armed Forces Reserve Center is under construction. Previously Fort Allen was used by the US Army as the Losey Army Airfield during WWII, and later used as a U.S. Navy communications center. Since 1980, Fort Allen has been under control of the Puerto Rico National Guard.
  • Muñiz Air National Guard Base in Carolina is the home of the Puerto Rico Air National Guard 156th Airlift Wing and the 198th Airlift Squadron. Also, at Muñiz ANGB are located the headquarters of the 1st Air Base Group, the air support division of the Puerto Rico State Guard. Muñiz ANGB has hangars, command offices, a recruiting office, classrooms, maintenance shops, a community club, a Family Readiness Center, a post barbershop, and NGX has a post exchange on base. Muñiz ANGB is also the home of the STARBASE youth program in Puerto Rico. Operation Coronet Oak shares Muñiz ANGB flight line with the 156th Airlift Wing, which also flies C-130 military transport airplanes. In 1963 this Air base was renamed Muñiz Air National Guard Base while commemorating the 20th year of its federal recognition.
  • Punta Borinquen Radar Station located next to Punta Borinquen Golf Course at the former Ramey Air Force Base is home for the Puerto Rico Air National Guard's 141st Air Control Squadron.
  • Punta Salinas Radar Station in Toa Baja is operated by the Puerto Rico Air National Guard's 140th Air Defense Squadron. Its mission is to provide air traffic control to the Federal Aviation Administration, and provide support for military and law enforcement operations.
  • Isla Grande Aviation Support Facility is located at the Fernando Luis Ribas Dominicci Airport in San Juan. Its mission is to support the Puerto Rico Army National Guard aviation units.
  • Watercraft Support Maintenance Center at the former Naval Station Roosevelt Roads in Ceiba, Puerto Rico is home for the Puerto Rico Army National Guard Landing Craft Detachment, 191st Regional Support Group.
  • Puerto Rico Army National Guard armories are located in Aibonito, Aguadilla, Arecibo, Arroyo, Cabo Rojo, Caguas, Cayey, Ceiba, Coamo, Guayama, Gurabo, Humacao, Juncos, Mayaguez, Peñuelas, Ponce, Sabana Grande, San German, Utuado, Vega Baja and San Juan. Some of these armories might close and units will move into to new Armed Forces Reserve Centers in Ceiba, Mayaguez, Fort Allen and to a new Puerto Rico National Guard Readiness Center in Fort Buchanan.

Community Outreach Programs

  • Drug Demand Reduction Program -
The National Guard uses its resources to help the island's youth to be drug-free. The Drug Demand Reduction Program works closely with local law enforcement, education and community-based organizations to reduce the chances of exposure of illegal drugs to American children. They also provide National Guard-led education-based, leadership and motivational programs. Drug Demand Reduction directly interacts with children through their KEY National Initiative, Drug Free Starts with Me. The program visits local schools and communities around the island to increase awareness and motivation, and provide leadership, guidance and support to adolescents about their choice to remain drug-free.
This program intervenes with 16- to 18-year-old high school dropouts to help them reclaim their lives; it helps them graduate with the values, life skills, education, and self-discipline necessary to succeed as productive citizens. Founded in the 1990s during the administration of Governor Pedro Rosselló, the program has had thousands of dropouts participate and graduate.
As an acronym of Science and Technology Academies Reinforcing Basic Aviation and Space Education, this youth program is intended to help students from 4th - 12th grade to improve their math and science skills through aviation. The program starts in elementary school to attract and prepare students at an early age for careers in engineering and other science-related fields of study. The program principally exposes at-risk children and their teachers to real-world applications of math and science; it includes experiential learning, simulations, and experiments in aviation and space-related fields. The program also addresses drug use prevention, health, self esteem and life skills within a math-and science-based program. Founded in 1995 by SSgt Elaine Montgomery, the program celebrates its 15th anniversary in May, 2010.

Honors and awards

  • Military Medal of Honor of the Legislative Assembly of Puerto Rico.JPG Military Medal of Honor of the Legislative Assembly of Puerto Rico
  • Distinguished Service Medal.JPG Puerto Rico Medal for Distinguished Service
  • Medal for Valor.JPG Puerto Rico Medal of Valor
  • Merit Cross.JPG Puerto Rico Merit Cross
  • Wounded Action Medal.JPG Puerto Rico Wounded in Action Medal
  • Order of the Governor of PR Common defense Service.JPG Order of the Governor of Puerto Rico Common Defense Service Medal
  • Combat Service Medal.JPG Puerto Rico Combat Service Medal
  • Commendation Medal1.JPG Puerto Rico Commendation Medal
  • Outstanding Soldier, NCO of the Year Ribbon.JPG Puerto Rico Outstanding Soldier/NCO of the Year Ribbon
  • Service Medal1.JPG Puerto Rico Service Medal
  • Exemplary Conduct Medal.JPG Puerto Rico Exemplary Conduct Ribbon
  • War Service Ribbon.JPG Puerto Rico War Service Ribbon
  • Disaster Relief Ribbon.JPG Puerto Rico Disaster Relief Ribbon
  • Hurricane Georges Ribbon.JPG Puerto Rico Hurricane Georges Ribbon
  • Active Duty for Training Ribbon.JPG Puerto Rico Active Duty for Training Ribbon
  • Caribbean Emergency Ribbon.JPG Puerto Rico Caribbean Emergency Ribbon
  • Civil Disturbance Ribbon.JPG Puerto Rico Civil Disturbance Ribbon
  • Law enforcement Ribbon.JPG Puerto Rico Law Enforcement Ribbon
  • Vlll Pan-American Games Support ribbon.JPG Puerto Rico VIII Pan-American Games Support Ribbon
  • 80px Puerto Rico English Language Proficiency Ribbon
  • Counterdrug Service Ribbon.JPG Puerto Rico Counterdrug Service Ribbon
  • Regatta 92 Ribbon.JPG Puerto Rico 1992 Regatta Ribbon
  • Community Service Ribbon.JPG Puerto Rico Community Service Ribbon

See also


  1. Vicens (2012; in Spanish) "El comando estatal de Puerto Rico [posee] un gran total de sobre 10,268 efectivos, federales, estatales y voluntarios al servicio de Puerto Rico.[1]
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 Vicens (2012; in Spanish) "[...] la Guardia Nacional cuenta con aproximadamente 7,200 soldados en la rama del ejército, 1,200 en la fuerza aérea, para un total de 8,400 ciudadanos-soldados y aviadores federales y 368 empleados civiles en apoyo a la fuerza militar federal [...]"[1]
  3. Vicens (2012; in Spanish) "Además, contamos con aproximadamente 1,500 soldados en el Comando Estatal, que le sirven voluntariamente al pueblo de Puerto Rico."[1]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Vicens, Antonio (2012). "Ponencia Vista de Transición Gubernamental 2012" (PDF) (in Spanish). Retrieved February 27, 2014. <templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. El ataque Nacionalista a La Fortaleza; by Pedro Aponte Vázquez; Page 7; Publisher: Publicaciones RENÉ; ISBN 978-1-931702-01-0
  3. 3.0 3.1 http://www.elnuevodia.com/juanjosemedinaalmandodelaguardianacional-1556169.html
  4. Hispanic Heritage Month
  5. Puerto Rico Herald
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 Negroni, Hector Andres (1992). Historia militar de Puerto Rico. Coleccion Encuentros (in Spanish). Sociedad Estatal Quinto Centenario. ISBN 84-7844-138-7. <templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  7. Fernando Chardón
  8. Virgin Island News
  9. Puerto Rico Herald - Profile: Orlando Llenza
  10. 10.0 10.1 Carmona, José L. (November 28, 2002). "Person Of The Year, Public Sector: William Miranda Marin". Caribbean Business. Retrieved 2013-02-02.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles> Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; name "personal-life1" defined multiple times with different content
  11. National Guard Bureau
  12. State Adjutants General
  13. South Command

External links