Manuel John Pimentel
|HOME OF RECORD:
8-A Edwards Street, Boston, MA
|NEXT OF KIN:
Guardian, Mr. Harold Pimentel
|DATE OF BIRTH:
October 11, 1939
|DATE OF DEATH:
September 24, 1942
|CAUSE OF DEATH:
|LAST KNOWN RANK:
|STATUS OF REMAINS:
Buried in the field, vicinity of Matanikau River, Guadalcanal
Manila American Cemetery and Memorial
Birth and Early Life:
Manuel Pimentel was born in Cambridge, Massachusetts around the year 1922. His early life is difficult to trace; his parents were natives of the Azores, and Manuel received only a seventh-grade education before leaving school. At the time of his enlistment, his next of kin was a guardian named Harold Pimentel.
Enlistment and Boot Camp:
Pimentel enlisted in Boston on October 11, 1939. After completing boot camp at Parris Island, he was sent to the Marine Barracks at the navy yard in Washington, D. C.
Service Prior to World War 2:
Private Pimentel was dispatched to the Naval Air Station at Anacostia, and spent nine months on guard duty. He was promoted to Private First Class on September 28, 1940, but was busted back to private for “neglect of duty” just one week later. Following his unknown transgression, Pimentel was transferred to the Fifth Marines, then stationed at Guantanamo Bay.
Pimentel spent two months in Cuba, first with Headquarters and then with Company A of the Fifth Marines. By April 1941, he was back in Virginia serving with Company A, Seventh Marines – the group that would become his home unit. For the remainder of the year, Private Pimentel stayed at the Marine Base, Quantico.
Pimentel was promoted to Private First Class shortly after the war began; the 7th Marines needed to be brought up to full strength, and he was senior at least to the flood of fresh recruits. Leadership agreed with him, and just four months later Pimentel was a corporal.
The 7th Marines left the United States early in 1942; unlike the other regiments of the First Marine Division, they traveled to Samoa for additional training and acclimatizing. Although eager to get into the fight, the 7th was composed mostly of men who had never seen combat – one notable exception being Pimentel’s battalion commander, Major Lewis “Chesty” Puller.
After landing on Guadalcanal on September 18, 1942, Pimentel experienced the war first-hand. His regiment was shelled by Japanese ships the night after landing; the next morning, they were off on a combat patrol – Puller wasted no time. Marines in Pimentel’s Company A learned to deal with the humidity, how to conserve water, and how to react under fire – but real combat was still to come.
Date Of Loss:
Corporal Pimentel, along with nearly 600 Marines of 1/7, departed friendly lines early in the morning of September 23, 1942. After six days on Guadalcanal, the green unit had figured out a few lessons, but the trek they undertook on this day – a reconnaissance from their base of operations to the headwaters of the Matanikau River – was given to them only because the brass thought Puller the only officer who could motivate a battalion to get that far. They struggled for miles through the heat and against rugged terrain, before an advance patrol surprised some Japanese troops cooking their evening meal on September 24. In the firefight that followed, Company A – the leading unit of the mission – was completely pinned down in the growing darkness, and had to be extricated by Companies B and C. This was successfully done, though not before ten Marines lost their lives.
One of the dead was Corporal Pimentel. He was buried with his comrades in a temporary grave near the Matanikau; the site was overgrown in the months following the battle, and has been lost.
Next Of Kin:
Guardian, Mr. Harold F. Pimentel
Status Of Remains:
Buried on Guadalcanal