Robert J. Manuel

  • Second Lieutenant
  • Korea


Robert Joseph Manuel was born in Newport, Rhode Island on 5 July to Anthony and Nora Manuel. He was a 1947 graduate of De La Salle Academy, Newport, Rhode Island where he was an outstanding scholar.

Robert entered Rhode Island State College (RISC) in September 1947 with the class of 1951, majoring in Accounting. He was a member of Phi Kappa Theta Fraternity and the Accounting Association. Robert participated in the Rhode Island State College Army ROTC program and was commissioned a Second Lieutenant of Infantry upon graduation in June 1951. Immediately following graduation, he attended the Basic Infantry Office Course, Fort Benning, Georgia and deployed to Korea for assignment to the 31st Infantry Regiment, 7th Infantry Division in October 1952.

Upon arriving in Korea, Lieutenant Manuel was immediately involved in combat operations. The Battle of White Horse began on 6 October 1952. The battle was fought to gain control over a strategic transportation route in the central region of the Korean peninsula. During ten days of battle, the hill would change hands 24 times after repeated attacks and counterattacks for its possession. It was one of the most intense position-grasping battles of the Korean War.

Firepower was certainly on the side of the United Nations forces, while troop strength was the key to tactical success. When the UN firepower and experience went head to head with brunt Chinese force, the UN came out on top. There were eight artillery battalions firing for the UN Forces. Each averaged 15,000 to 20,000 rounds fired in the ten day battle. One battalion, the 213th fired over 26,000 rounds. All of this amounted to over 150,000rounds of artillery being fired by the UN. The Chinese launched 28 separate attacks and counter-attacks to take Hill 395, all of which eventually met with failure. The Chinese would need to look for another route to Seoul.

Second Lieutenant Robert J. Manuel was killed during the Battle of White Horse on 14 October 1952, only one week after arriving in Korea. He was posthumously awarded the Purple Heart Medal and the Combat Infantryman’s Badge. His body was returned to the United States for burial with full military honors in the Braman Cemetery, Newport, Rhode Island.

Second Lieutenant Robert J. Manuel was a son of Rhode Island State College who answered the call to service during the Korean War and gave his life in service to Rhode Island and America.