Roberto Clemente:
A Veteran Worthy of Honor

Roberto Clemente was a great ballplayer, humanitarian, husband, father, and son. What many don’t realize is that he was also a veteran of the United States Marine Corps.

Like all Puerto Ricans, Roberto was born an American citizen. After the 1958 baseball season, Roberto made the decision to enlist in the Marines, entering into a rich history of Puerto Rican military service.

Photo: Clemente family

Setting the example
for the world to follow

In the 1958-59 off season, while many major league players wintered in Puerto Rico and played ball, Clemente enlisted in the United States Marine Corps Reserve, spending the next six years in the military as an infantryman.

Roberto spent six months on active duty at Parris Island, South Carolina and Camp LeJeune, North Carolina. He ended up serving until 1964.


Photo: Clemente family

a lifetime of service

Today, Roberto’s military legacy is being recognized. He was inducted into the Marine Corps Sports Hall of Fame in 2003, and was inducted into the Puerto Rican Veterans Hall of Fame 15 years later.

In 2015, a bust of Roberto was unveiled at the Puerto Rican Veterans Memorial in Boston. The military was an important part of his life and his pride as a Puerto Rican and an American. Along with only 6 others out of the 130-member platoon, he was promoted to private first class.

Photo: U.S. National Archive

We value our
military partners

The Clemente Foundation has a long history of working with various military branches in our relief and community outreach endeavors.

One key player on our team is Foundation Board Member Victor Rivera-Collazo, a retired Command Sergeant Major in the U.S. Army. He is one of our primary speakers and organizers of community outreach and baseball clinic programs.

We at the Roberto Clemente Foundation are committed to honoring and serving both active-duty and retired members of the armed forces.

Photo: U.S. National Archive