Latino Alliance Contributing Writer & Advisory Board Member
Latino Alliance is thrilled to highlight our "Champion of Character" Tony "The Marine" Santiago, prominent Latino historian, writer, and strong advocate for Latino achievement, leadership, and success!
Tony's goal has been to furnish younger Latinos with inspiration by providing information on the significant contributions that numerous Latinos have made in many fields, including US military service, science, business, and education. Latinos everywhere can be inspired by Tony's illustrious efforts and accomplishments as well!
Tony grew up in a rough and tumble barrio in New York City where he was a gang leader as a youth.
"The only role models and heroes we Latino kids had were "El Zorro", the "Cisco Kid", and "Speedy Gonzales. In school, our history books failed to make mention of the numerous contributions which Hispanics have made to the formation of our country," he notes.
He had asked himself what contributions have Latinos made besides being entertainers? That is when he made it his objective in life to write about the positive contributions which Latinos have made, including the accomplishments and sacrifices that Latinos have made in every military conflict that our nation has been involved. He believes that by providing our youth with the stories of positive Latino role models, that our youth can be inspired to seek a higher level of education and achievement, and continue to make positive contributions to our country and the world in general.
After completing his high school education in the borough of the Queens, Tony joined the US Marine Corps in 1969, and served with the 2nd Batallion 9th Marines, 3rd Marine Division in the Vietnam war as Gunner in the 81 MM Mortar, and later, in the Military Police. Honorably discharged from the Marine Corps, Tony then moved to Puerto Rico where he married Milagros Rivera.
He enrolled in the Interamerican University of Puerto Rico, and as a ''magna cum laude'' student majored in business administration and accounting. He also studied in the Puerto Rico Real Estate Academy, the American Banking Institute, and the Polytechnical Institute of Caguas, Puerto Rico, and worked in business for many years.
As a historian and writer, Tony has written more than 600 articles for Wikipedia, and contributes stories to El Boricua, Somos Primos, us here at Latino Alliance, and other media outlets. In addition, "The Marine" serves as the Official Historian of the Association of Naval Service Officers (ANSO). He also serves on the national steering committee of Borinqueneers Congressional Gold Medal Alliance and is a Latino Alliance Advisory Board member.
In 2007, to help fulfill a debt of honor at the request of the grateful Kouts family, Tony searched for and reunited with them the family of David M. Gonzales, the Medal of Honor recipient who died saving the life of William Kouts in World War II (See Wikipedia article on David M. Gonzales).
Tony has received numerous awards for his tireless work, and has been recognized by Wikipedia, many US military officials, and by the Governor, Senate, and Secretary of State of Puerto Rico.
Tony and his wife Milagros now reside in the Phoenix, Arizona area. They have three children and four grandchildren.
Latino Alliance proudly salutes Tony "The Marine" Santiago for his own service to his country, and for his continuing efforts on behalf of preserving and promoting the achievements, heroism, and success of Latinos!
See Tony's Latino Alliance stories: