PFC Manuel Perez was born in Oklahoma City in 1923, and entered the military service while living in Chicago. In the military he was soon assigned to Company A of the 511th Parachute Battalion of the 11th Airborne Division. It was on February 13, 1945 that this Private First Class single-handedly secured the last of 12 Pillboxes from the Japanese, killing 18 enemy soldiers, but died the next day from wounds he received. For this action he was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor.
The Citation reads, in part: "Private Perez, on 13 February, 1945, was lead scout for Company A, 511th Parachute Infantry, which had destroyed eleven of twelve pillboxes in a strongly fortified sector defending the 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 machine guns, he took a circuitous route to within twenty yards of the position, killing two of the enemy in his advance. He threw a grenade into the pillbox and, as the crew started withdrawing through a tunnel, he shot and killed four before exhausting his clip."
In his honor, the Manuel Perez, Junior Army Reserve Center was dedicated at 3021 West Reno in his honor in 1961.