Siddhesh Joshi (Editor)

Tony Santiago

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Nationality  American
Ethnicity  Puerto Rican

Nickname(s)  Tony the Marine
Name  Tony Santiago
Tony Santiago
Full Name  Antonio Santiago Rodriguez
Born  March 9, 1950 (age 65) (1950-03-09) New York City, New Yorkminor fix
Known for  writing, military history, editing Wikipedia
Home town  New York City, New York
Allegiance  United States of America

Antoine tony santiago concours de chant mallemort le 19 07 2012 mpg

Antonio Santiago Rodríguez (born March 9, 1950) — better known as Tony the Marine or as Tony Santiago — is a United States Marine veteran, writer, and military historian from New York City, New York, focused mostly on the military history of Puerto Rico and its service members.


Tony Santiago Tony Santiago

For his work, Santiago was recognized by the 23rd Senate of Puerto Rico for being "one of the main contributors of content related to Puerto Rico in the open online encyclopedia known as Wikipedia". The Senate also recognized him as one of the main writers on subjects which relate to Puerto Rico, and an important historian of the Puerto Rican military experience. According to Phoebe Ayers, member of the Board of Trustees of the Wikimedia Foundation, this may be the first time that English Wikipedia has been mentioned in a parliamentary or congressional resolution of this type. She also stated that it's probably the first time that contributions to English Wikipedia have been cited in a formal governmental award, too.

Tony Santiago Tony Santiago

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Early years

Santiago was born in New York City, New York to Joaquín Santiago and Hilda Rodríguez-Mattei, both of Puerto Rican origin. Santiago graduated from high school in New York City and after being accepted to Columbia University, Santiago chose to serve in the U.S. Marine Corps instead.

Military service

Santiago saw active combat in the Marines. He served with the 2nd Battalion 9th Marines, 3rd Marine Division in the Vietnam War in the 81 MM Mortar, and later in the Military Police as well.

While in the Marines (hence his nickname), Santiago perceived significant ethnic, racial, and national origin discrimination. In response to this, he formed an organization composed of American soldiers of Latino descent. The organization, named Latin Power in Unity, included soldiers of Puerto Rican, Mexican, Central American and other Latino backgrounds.

Santiago also developed a close friendship with Leroy Reese who had formed a similar organization named "Black Power" for Black soldiers. Both men worked closely for the equal treatment of minorities and to improve relations between their members and the members of other ethnic groups in their company. An interview about Santiago’s experience in the military, made by author Greg Boudonek, was published in the book "Puertorriquenos Who Served With Guts, Glory, and Honor: Fighting to Defend a Nation Not Completely Their Own".

Upon finishing his tour with the U.S. Marine Corps in 1975, Santiago enrolled at the Interamerican University in Bayamon, Puerto Rico. He graduated magna cum laude with a degree in Business Administration in 1979. In Puerto Rico, he met Milagros, the woman that would become his wife. They married in 1971 and had three children together.

Military historian

In 1990, Santiago moved to Phoenix, Arizona, with his wife and children. At this point he reflected, "the only role models and heroes for Latino children were El Zorro, the Cisco Kid and Speedy Gonzales and," he said, "school textbooks failed to mention the many contributions that Latinos had made to the formation of our country [the United States]."

In response, Santiago began publishing a series of short articles about the contributions that Puerto Ricans had made to the American society. He is the editor of the Puerto Rican Military History Channel of the monthly internet magazine "El Boricua", a staff writer in the internet magazine "Somos Primos" and the official historian of the Association of Naval Services Officers (ANSO).

His early published work focused on military history, but later he expanded his research and documentation to include many other facets of the Puerto Rican life experience.

One email received from a reader of his articles led to Santiago serving to bridge two families that had lost track of each other for many years. It happened in 2007, when Santiago united U.S. Army veteran William W. Kouts with the family of the late David M. Gonzalez. Gonzalez had sacrificed his life to save Kouts during World War II.

On April 2010, Santiago discovered and wrote about Lt. Augusto Rodriguez a Puerto Rican who served in the American Civil War. It was the first time that a link in the American Civil War was made between Puerto Rico and the United States. Rodriguez was thus the first known Puerto Rican veteran of the United States Armed Forces. The significance of this discovery is that, until then, it was believed that Puerto Ricans had not served in the United States military prior to World War I. Puerto Rico's Secretary of State, Kenneth D. McClintock, named Santiago "Puerto Rico's foremost military historian."

Santiago is among the people who were interviewed and who are featured in the documentary “On Two Fronts: Latinos & Vietnam”; directed and produced by Los Angeles-based filmmaker Mylene Moreno. The documentary, which aired on PBS in September 22, 2015, examines the Latino experience during the Vietnam War. He was interviewed, together with fellow veteran Oscar Urrea, by PBS "Horizante" host Jose Cardenas and Univision newscaster Jorge Valenzuela, where he expressed his personal experiences, prior to the showing of the documentary.

Other works

In addition to his military history research and writing, Santiago is also a free lance photojournalist for The Arizona Republic. He is also a member of the national steering committee of "Borinqueneers Congressional Gold Medal Alliance," which sought the Congressional Gold Medal for Puerto Rico's 65th Infantry Regiment, and serves in the "Latino Alliance Advisory Board."

In page 263 of the acknowledgments section of the book “War Against All Puerto Ricans, Revolution and Terror in America’s Colony” author Nelson Antonio Denis wrote the following:

”Tony (the Marine) Santiago, creator of over six hundred Wikipedia articles on Puerto Rican history and biographies, was a key inspiration and advisor”


  • On 20 November 2007, the Senate of Puerto Rico issued Resolution No. 3603 applauding Santiago's military legacy. The Resolution called Santiago "an important historian of Puerto Rican military contribution, [who] over the years has documented the history of Puerto Rican sacrifice and heroism in the battlefields using the internet, the Puerto Rican Military History Channel, the cultural magazine El Boricua and Somos Primos." According to Phoebe Ayers, member of the Board of Trustees of the Wikimedia Foundation, this may be the first time that Wikipedia has been mentioned in a parliamentary or congressional resolution of this type.
  • On Memorial Day of 2008, Congressman Luis Fortuño read a statement about Tony the Marine into the U.S. Congressional Record.
  • On 10 August 2010, Puerto Rico's Secretary of State, Kenneth D. McClintock, named Santiago "Puerto Rico's foremost military historian."
  • On 28 August 2012, the Latino Alliance named Santiago a "Champion of Character."
  • On 11 November 2013 (Veteran's Day), Kenneth McClintock Hernández, the former Secretary of State and former president of the Senate of Puerto Rico, again gave special recognition to Santiago. McClintock honored him for documenting the sacrifice, and preserving the legacy, of Puerto Rican veterans throughout world history.
  • In January 2014, the Wikimedia Foundation included Mr. Santiago's photo on the cover of their 2012-2013 Annual Report.
  • In 2016, The Wikimedia Foundation revealed the most detailed featured articles in its site. According to the Wikimedia Foundation, Wikipedia’s parent company, the article “The Military history of Puerto Rico” created by Santiago, is ranked #4 among the featured articles in depth and high quality. Santiago is credited by the foundation as being the person who mostly has maintained the articles' length and quality.
  • References

    Tony Santiago Wikipedia