3. Veterans

Moderator: Dr. Harry Franqui-Rivera, Professor, Bloomfield College (Bloomfield, NY)
Gabriel Botero Jr., Readjustment Counselor, U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, Hartford Vet Center (Hartford, CT)
Lieutenant Colonel Lesbia I. Nieves, Connecticut Army National Guard (Manchester, CT)
Lieutenant Colonel Jose O. Torres, Bronze Medal Recipient, UPRAA Board Member (Washington, DC)


Dr. Harry Franqui-Rivera

Gabriel Botero Jr.

Lieutenant Colonel
Lesbia I. Nieves

Lieutenant Colonel
Jose O. Torres


Dr. Harry Franqui-Rivera studies the experience of the Puerto Ricans in the U.S. military, focusing on the 20th century and, among other interests, addresses the issues of nation building, national identities, citizenship, military institutions and imperial-colonial relations. Dr. Franqui-Rivera also researches and writes on the experience of Puerto Ricans during the Korean War, the socio-economic impact of the G.I. Bill in Puerto Rico and among the emigrants, the condition of the Puerto Rican veteran and the linkages between military service, manhood, race and decolonization in Puerto Rican history.

Gabriel Botero Jr.

Lieutenant Colonel Lesbia I. Nieves says the most important thing she has learned from serving in the military is “If you dream and dream big, anything is possible.”

Now, Nieves is the first Hispanic woman to serve as Lieutenant Colonel in the Connecticut Army National Guard and has recently received another prestigious honor. She has been chosen to serve as one of three honorary grand marshals in this year’s Connecticut Veterans Parade, the biggest veterans parade in New England and one of the largest in the country. More...

Lieutenant Colonel Jose O. Torres is a retired U.S. Army military officer currently working as a Senior Information Technology Systems Analyst with the Department of the Army Chief Information Officer, The Pentagon, Washington, DC. He is responsible for planning of communication systems and their integration into the Army’s communications network. Throughout his military career he held positions of increased responsibilities, from leading small units to commanding an Army Battalion.

JT graduated from the University of Puerto Rico – Ponce and received his officer commission through the University of Puerto Rico ROTC program, Rio Piedras. He holds Masters Degrees in Computer Information Systems and in Military History. More...