Home Intro People Events Equipment Places Maps Books Photos Videos Other Reference FAQ About

World War II Database

Puerto Rico

Full Name 121 Territory of Puerto Rico
Alliance Allies - Minor Member Nation or Possession
Possessing Power United States
Entry into WW2 8 Dec 1941
Population in 1939 1,826,300


ww2dbaseEuropeans first reached the island of Puerto Rico in 1493, and it was subsequently made a colony of Spain. At the end of the Spanish-American War of 1898, Spain and the United States signed the Treaty of Paris, which transferred Puerto Rico to the United States. At the eve of WW2, Puerto Rico was governed as a unincorporated organized territory, with governors directly appointed by the US President. During the war, Puerto Rico served similar functions as the island of Oahu of the Territory of Hawaii, in which it hosted a large navy base (Roosevelt Roads) and several Army and Navy airfields. During the war, 65,034 Puerto Ricans served in the US military. Most of them served with the 295th and 296th Infantry Regiments of the US Army National Guard and the 65th Infantry Regiment of the US Army, serving in Europe, Pacific Islands, North Africa, and Panama Canal Zone. Meanwhile, Puerto Rico women were not initially accepted into military service; that changed in 1944 when the Army Nurse Corps finally opened its doors by recruiting about 200 Puerto Rican nurses. After the war, in 1947, Puerto Rico was given the right to democratically elect its own governor. In 1952, it was given commonwealth status, which allowed it to draft its own constitution.

ww2dbaseSource: Wikipedia

Last Major Update: Mar 2017

del Valle, Pedro

Borinquen FieldAir Base
Isla Grande Naval Air StationAir Base
Losey FieldAir Base
Roosevelt Roads Naval BaseNavy Base
Vega Baja Auxiliary AirdromeAir Base


The US NavyUSS Langley, USS Mississippi, USS New Mexico, and others at anchor off Culebra island, Puerto Rico, 18 Mar 1926
See all 44 photographs of Puerto Rico in World War II

Puerto Rico in World War II Interactive Map

Did you enjoy this article or find this article helpful? If so, please consider supporting us on Patreon. Even $1 per month will go a long way! Thank you.

Share this article with your friends:


Stay updated with WW2DB:

 RSS Feeds

Visitor Submitted Comments

1. Stephen McKenna says:
29 Feb 2020 09:53:58 AM

I'm researching a great uncle of mine who may have carried out military work in Puerto Rico in '42/'43. I have his draft registration car which states as his employer 'War Department (engineering)'. He was 40 at the time so I doubt he was enlisted in the military. My research on the 'Ancestry' genealogy site generated immigration details only. I'd be interested to know of any other lines of query I could pursue. SMcK
2. Stephen McKenna says:
1 Mar 2020 10:55:20 AM

Just to add some clarity to my previous post. My great uncle was originally from Ireland and his name was Ulick James McKenna. His christian name is from the gaelic but maybe Norse in origin. He arrived in San Juan Puerto Rico by the USAT Thomas H Barry 5 Nov. 1941 and appears to have been posted there till July 1943. On being drafted he would have been 40 working for the 'War Department' in some engineering capacity. His previous employment history doesn't point to any skill, so he might just have been a paper shuffler. Impossible on the limited information to say whether he was involved in support work for the Airforce or the Navy. His DOB/D are: 01/09/1901 - 23/11/1948
3. Carlos Olivares says:
20 Aug 2020 11:43:03 AM

I am also looking for information on why WWII US army soldiers, from the States, would have been sent Puerto Rico.
My Grand Uncle was sent there after basic training around 1942-43.
4. S Sutherland says:
13 Dec 2022 06:43:52 PM

I am seeking flight path from San Juan PR to North Africa as it relates to January 24, 1943 missing flight:

Col. Walter Sumpter Smith, AC, Chief
of Transport and Facilities Division, Di-
rectorate of Air Support Command, Hq.,
AAF; Maj. Lewin B. Barringer, AO,
chief of the glider production and train-
ing unit, Division of Air Support Com-
mand, Hq., AAF; 1st Lt. John L. D’Azzo,
AC: 1st Lt. Anees K. Khoury, AC; 2nd
Lt. John T. Torrillo, AC; 2nd Lt. Albert
O. Bain, AC; 2nd tt. John G. Marvin,
AC; T. Sgt. Joseph Dragelis, AC; and
Sgt. John A. Miller, AC.

All visitor submitted comments are opinions of those making the submissions and do not reflect views of WW2DB.

Posting Your Comments on this Topic

Your Name
Your Email
 Your email will not be published
Comment Type
Your Comments
Security Code



1. We hope that visitor conversations at WW2DB will be constructive and thought-provoking. Please refrain from using strong language. HTML tags are not allowed. Your IP address will be tracked even if you remain anonymous. WW2DB site administrators reserve the right to moderate, censor, and/or remove any comment. All comment submissions will become the property of WW2DB.

2. For inquiries about military records for members of the World War II armed forces, please see our FAQ.

Change View
Desktop View

Search WW2DB & Partner Sites
Puerto Rico in World War II Photo Gallery
The US NavyUSS Langley, USS Mississippi, USS New Mexico, and others at anchor off Culebra island, Puerto Rico, 18 Mar 1926
See all 44 photographs of Puerto Rico in World War II

Famous WW2 Quote
"All right, they're on our left, they're on our right, they're in front of us, they're behind us... they can't get away this time."

Lt. Gen. Lewis B. "Chesty" Puller, at Guadalcanal

Support Us

Please consider supporting us on Patreon. Even $1 a month will go a long way. Thank you!

Or, please support us by purchasing some WW2DB merchandise at TeeSpring, Thank you!