Perez, Manuel, Jr., PFC

Fallen
 
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Last Rank
Private First Class
Last Service Branch
Infantry
Last Primary MOS
745-Rifleman
Last MOS Group
Infantry (Enlisted)
Primary Unit
1945-1945, 745, HHC, 1st Battalion, 511th Infantry (Airborne)
Service Years
1943 - 1945

Private First Class


 Last Photo   Personal Details 


Home State
Oklahoma
Oklahoma
Year of Birth
1923
 
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Casualty Info
Home Town
Oklahoma City
Last Address
Chicago, IL

Casualty Date
Mar 14, 1945
 
Cause
Hostile, Died of Wounds
Reason
Gun, Small Arms Fire
Location
Philippines
Conflict
World War II
Location of Interment
Fairlawn Cemetery - Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
Wall/Plot Coordinates
Catholic Section, Block 12, Lot 4

 Official Badges 




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 Military Association Memberships
World War II Fallen
  2004, World War II Fallen [Verified]3

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 Ribbon Bar

Combat Infantryman 1st Award
Parachutist (Basic)

 
 Unit Assignments/ Advancement Schools
11th Airborne Division1st Battalion, 511th Infantry (Airborne)
  1945-1945, 745, 11th Airborne Division
  1945-1945, 745, HHC, 1st Battalion, 511th Infantry (Airborne)
 Combat and Non-Combat Operations
  1945-1945 Luzon Campaign (1944-45)/Battle for Manila
 Additional Information
Last Known Activity
Private First Class Manuel Perez, Jr. (March 3, 1923‚??March 13, 1945) born in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, was a United States Army soldier who posthumously received the Medal of Honor, the United States' highest military decoration, for his actions in Battle of Luzon during the Philippines campaign of World War II.

Early years: Perez was a Mexican-American born in Oklahoma City. There he received his primary and secondary education. He moved to Chicago, Illinois where he worked before joining the United States Army upon the outbreak of World War II. After his basic training, the Army sent him to paratrooper school.

World War II: Japanese forces had invaded the Philippine islands and had under its control all of the U.S. Military Installations including Fort William McKinley which was located just south of Manila the capital. Fort William McKinley was where USAFFE (United States Army Forces - Far East) had its headquarters for the Philippine Department and the Philippine Division. The bulk of the Philippine Division was stationed here and this was where, under the National Defense Act of 1935, specialized artillery training was conducted.

In 1945, Perez was sent to the Philippines and assigned to Company A 511th Parachute Infantry, 11th Airborne Division whose mission was to take Fort William McKinley. On February 13, as the 11th Airborne Division approached the fort, it encountered a strong enemy fortified sector. The sector was composed of cement pillboxes armed with .50-caliber dual-purpose machineguns which defended the entrance to the fort.

Upon the realization that the pillboxes (Blockhouses) were withholding the advance of his division, Perez took it upon himself to charge the fortifications and blast them away with grenades. He killed 18 of the enemy before he was mortally wounded. Due to his actions his unit was able to advance successfully.

Honors. Perez was buried with full military honors at Fairlawn Cemetery which is located in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. The state government of Illinois honored the memory of Perez by naming a plaza located in Chicago's Little Village Square and a school after him. The Department of the Army the reserve center of the 221st Unit Army Hospital in Oklahoma City, the Manuel Perez Jr Reserve Center.
   
Comments/Citation
 
The President of the United States of America, in the name of Congress, takes pride in presenting the Medal of Honor (Posthumously) to Private First Class Manuel Perez, Jr., United States Army, for conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action above and beyond the call of duty on 13 February 1945, while serving with Company A, 511th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 11th Airborne Division. Private First Class Perez was lead scout for Company A, which had destroyed 11 of 12 pillboxes in a strongly fortified sector defending the approach to enemy-held Fort William McKinley on Luzon, Philippine Islands. In the reduction of these pillboxes, he killed five Japanese in the open and blasted others in pillboxes with grenades. Realizing the urgent need for taking the last emplacement, which contained two twin-mount .50-caliber dual-purpose machineguns, he took a circuitous route to within 20 yards of the position, killing four of the enemy in his advance. He threw a grenade into the pillbox, and, as the crew started withdrawing through a tunnel just to the rear of the emplacement, shot and killed four before exhausting his clip. He had reloaded and killed four more when an escaping Japanese threw his rifle with fixed bayonet at him. In warding off this thrust, his own rifle was knocked to the ground. Seizing the Jap rifle, he continued firing, killing two more of the enemy. He rushed the remaining Japanese, killed three of them with the butt of the rifle and entered the pillbox, where he bayoneted the one surviving hostile soldier. Single-handedly, he killed 18 of the enemy in neutralizing the position that had held up the advance of his entire company. Through his courageous determination and heroic disregard of grave danger, Private First Class Perez made possible the successful advance of his unit toward a valuable objective and provided a lasting inspiration for his comrades.

General Orders: War Department, General Orders No. 124 (December 27, 1945)

Action Date: February 13, 1945
   
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