Iluminado Santiago was born in 1926 in Isabela, Puerto Rico. After high school, Santiago moved to Perth Amboy, New Jersey. Iluminado Santiago was drafted into the United States Army and was sent to Puerto Rico for basic training. He served with the 65th Infantry Regiment and the Second Division. He remembers being at White Horse Hill and the Battle of Kelly Hill (Outpost Kelly), an event he will never forget. His combat experience causes him nightmares, but he is proud to have served his country and the nation of Korea.
Iluminado Santiago remembers places but not always their names. Memories of injured men plague him. Other memories cause him to value the good fortune of people in the United States.
Rice and Beans
Iluminado Santiago explains that the U.S. Army provided rice and beans for the 65th Regiment. The food reminded him of traditional Puerto Rican food. His platoon slept in sleeping bags in tents wherever they went, despite the extreme cold. He clarifies that he served his country and that he felt lucky to be able to fight for democracy in Korea.
Pride and Best Wishes to the Korean People
Iluminado Santiago reflects on the advancements in modern South Korea. He is proud to have served in Korea to stop the advancement of North Korea. His message to young people includes his pride in the Puerto Ricans who served in the war, and he wishes the best for the Korean people.