Manuel Pérez, Jr. was born on March 3, 1923 in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. He grew up living with his father in Chicago, Illinois. His enlistment record is not one preserved by the National Archives, but by February 13, 1945, Pérez was a Private First Class in the United States Army‘s Company A, 1st Battalion, 511th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 11th Airborne Division.
The motto of the United States Army‘s 148th Infantry Regiment is “We’ll do it”. Seventy years ago today on February 9, 1945 as part of the 37th Infantry Division during the Battle of Manila in the Philippines, three soldiers of the regiment’s 1st Battalion did their duty above and beyond the normal call and received the Medal of Honor for their heroic deeds.
They were Privates First Class Joseph J. Cicchetti and John N. Reese, Jr., and Private Cleto Rodríguez. All three men were 21 years old.
Robert M. Viale was born in Bayside, California on April 21, 1916. He was a member of the California National Guard who was federalized for service in the United States Army on March 3, 1941 in the days before our entry into World War II. What would have been a one-year call-up obviously became much longer.