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Woodside War Hero Inducted Into State Senate Veterans Hall of Fame

Pedro Nieves, second from the left, was inducted into the State Senate Veterans Hall of Fame Monday. From L to R: Pedro Nieves’ grandson; Pedro Nieves, State Sen. Michael Gianaris, Don Espinoza SCS (Photo provided by Mike Gianaris)

June 16, 2022 By Michael Dorgan

A Woodside resident who served in the United States Army during World War II and the Korean War, has been inducted into the State Senate Veterans Hall of Fame.

Pedro Nieves, 96, was inducted into the veterans hall of fame Monday by State Senator Michael Gianaris during a ceremony at Sunnyside Community Services, located at 43-31 39th St.

The State Senate Veterans’ Hall of Fame, which was established in 2005, honors and recognizes outstanding veterans from the state who have distinguished themselves both in military and civilian life.

War hero Nieves was honored for a decorated career serving in the armed forces and for his dedication to his community, Gianaris said.

Nieves, Gianaris said, earned numerous awards for his bravery while enlisted in the military including the Combat Infantry Badge, the Purple Heart, the Korea Service Medal and the Good Conduct Medal.

He also had a lengthy career working for the United States Postal Service and is an active participant in senior programs at SCS.

Members of Nieves’ family, local veterans, SCS staff and participants in the SCS senior program also attended the event.

“Pedro Nieves served our community and our country and it is an honor to know him,” Gianaris said.

“To be joined by four generations of his family and his friends at Sunnyside Community Services was a truly special occasion. All of New York salutes Pedro Nieves.”

Nieves served in the 65th Infantry Regiment, known as the “Borinqueneers,” which was made up of all-Puerto Rican-born servicemen.

He was in the United States Army from 1943 through 1945 in field artillery and achieved the rank of corporal. He was stationed in Panama, Italy, France, and Germany.

Nieves was then deployed to Korea until the conflict ended in 1953.

During the Korean War, according to a Gianaris spokesperson, Nieves fought with the 65th Regiment in the infamous Battle of the Chosin Reservoir that lasted 17 days in sub-zero temperatures.

Some historians consider it to be the most brutal battle in modern warfare due to its high casualty rate, and ferocious weather conditions. There were nearly 18,000 U.S. casualties, around 7,500 of which were due to frostbite.

In 2014, the Borinqueneers were awarded the Congressional Gold Medal in appreciation of their meritorious service — the highest civilian honor that can be bestowed by the United States of America. The 65th Infantry Regiment was the first Korean War unit to receive this honor.

Following his military service, Nieves worked as a truck driver for Miller Brewing and as a die-setter for a local manufacturer. He passed the civil service examination to work with the United States Postal Service.

Nieves met his wife Betty at the SCS and they have been married for 17 years.

Attendees at a ceremony inducting Pedro Nieves into the New York State Senate Veterans Hall of Fame (Photo provided by Mike Gianaris)

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