PUERTO RICO VETERANS MOURN PASSING OF HORACIO RIVERO, FIRST HISPANIC FOUR-STAR OFFICER IN U.S. MILITARY
Puerto Rican veterans were saddened this week by the passing on Sunday, September 24, of Admiral Horacio Rivero, United States Navy (Retired). He was 90 years old. Admiral Rivero reached the highest rank of any Puerto Rican in the U.S. military.
In his lengthy career of service to his country, Horacio Rivero not only attained the rank of Admiral in the Navy, but subsequently served as U.S. Ambassador to Spain.
He was born in the city of Ponce, Puerto Rico, in 1910. At that time, residents of Puerto Rico a possession of the United States since the Spanish-American War in 1898 were not U.S. citizens and were ruled by a civilian governor appointed by the President of the United States.
Horacio Rivero received an appointment to the U.S. Naval Academy in 1927, ten years after the people of Puerto Rico attained U.S. citizenship. Four years later, he graduated third in his class of 441. Rivero was a veteran of World War II and the Korean War. In 1962, as Commander of Amphibious Forces, Atlantic Fleet, he played a key role in the Cuban Missile Crisis.
In 1964, Horacio Rivero made history as the first Hispanic to become a four-star Admiral in the United States Navy. From 1968 until his retirement from the Navy in 1972, Admiral Rivero was the Commander of Allied Forces in Southern Europe. After bringing to a close a military career spanning six decades, Admiral Rivero remained in public life as the U.S. Ambassador to Spain from 1972 until 1975.
Admiral Rivero served since last November as the Honorary Chairman of The American Veterans Committee for Puerto Rico Self-Determination, an independent, non-profit national veterans organization working to help Puerto Rico obtain a permanent political status. The Chairman of the Veterans Committee, Major General William A. Navas, U.S. Army (Retired), said, "the passing of Admiral Rivero closes a brilliant chapter of Puerto Ricos military history. Admiral Rivero epitomized the dedication, commitment and loyal service of Puerto Ricans to our Nation. He will be missed, his service honored and his legacy remembered."