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  • Writer's pictureThe San Juan Daily Star

Former soldiers inducted into Veterans Hall of Fame


The latest Puerto Rican Veterans Hall of Fame induction class constitutes a broad reflection of the great contribution of the Puerto Rican military not only in the military field but also in its civic activities, in all aspects of the island’s collective life as a people.

By The Star Staff


Twelve distinguished veterans with an outstanding record of military performance and contribution to civilian life were inducted Tuesday into the Puerto Rican Veterans Hall of Fame, Veterans Advocate Agustín Montañez Allman said.


The ceremony took place at 10 a.m. in the Puerto Rico Lottery Drawing Hall on Chardón Avenue in Hato Rey.


Montañez Allman and Gen. (Ret) Fernando Fernández, who conceived of the Hall of Fame and directs its selection and accreditation process, stressed that the latest induction class constitutes a broad reflection of the great contribution of the Puerto Rican military in the military field as well as in its civic activities, in all orders of the island’s collective life as a people.


Likewise, the Class of 2023 also reflects the honorable fulfillment of duty assumed by veterans in the different conflicts in which the U.S. military forces have participated.


Attorney Montañez Allman, who is also a decorated veteran for his participation in the Persian Gulf War, noted that the Class of 2023 recognizes the military contribution of the female veteran, and several who rendered their last service to the country.


During the ceremony, each new member received the medal and certificate that certifies their entry into the Hall of Fame.


The inducted veterans were: Pedro Rosa Nales, a journalist and military veteran who served as a paratrooper in the Army with the 82nd and 101st Airborne Divisions; Juan Cancel Ríos (1925-1992), who was a prominent Puerto Rican lawyer, athlete and politician who served during World War II; Rear Adm. José M. Cabanillas (1901-1979), who served during World War II as executive officer of the warship USS Texas, which participated in the invasions of North Africa, Normandy and southern France; Dr. Mario E. Rosa García (1927-2002), who was a prominent physician and pioneer of nuclear medicine in Puerto Rico; 2nd Sgt. (Ret.) Ángel L. Acevedo Bernard, a combat veteran of three wars who served in the Asian-Pacific theater during World War II; Capt. (Ret.) Haydée Javier Kimmich, MD, a former Navy orthopedic hand surgeon who, in 1967, while a civilian physician, volunteered to go to Vietnam as part of the American Medical Association’s “Vietnam Project” volunteer program; and Brig. Gen. (Ret.) Augusto Gautier, a prominent Puerto Rican military officer and architect who served for 30 years with the Army Reserve, including as its commanding general from 1980 to 1984; Col. (Ret.) Rafael B. Acosta Rosario, a distinguished Puerto Rican military officer, administrator and businessman who served as an infantry officer with the Army in the Vietnam War; Brig. Gen. (Ret.) Félix E. Ocasio Belén, who has stood out for his achievements as an administrator, soldier and civic leader; Margarita Hernández Ortiz, who served for 20 years in the National Guard, graduating from the military in 1999, and who after an accident that caused her to become paraplegic, became a member of the Puerto Rico Chapter of Paralyzed Veterans of America in 2011, participating for the first time in the National Wheelchair Veterans Games in 2014 in Philadelphia; Comnd. Sgt. Maj. (Ret.) Pedro Rosado Gómez, who enlisted in the Army in 1982, serving as a paratrooper with the 82nd Airborne Division, and later joining the Army Reserve, where he served in numerous leadership positions as a noncommissioned officer until his retirement in 2008; Rear Adm. Guido Valdes, who earned his M.D. at the University of Miami School of Medicine, and during a 30-year military career has had numerous assignments with the U.S. Navy Medical Corps, as a medical officer, executive officer, and commander in military medical units and hospitals in Afghanistan, the United States, Spain, Iraq and Italy.

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