Manuel Rivera, Jr. bigraphy, stories - United States Marine Corps officer and Eagle Scout

Manuel Rivera, Jr. : biography

September 24, 1959 - January 22, 1991

Captain Manuel Rivera, Jr. (September 24, 1959-January 22, 1991), was the first serviceman of Puerto Rican descent to die in Operation Desert Shield.

Early years

In the 1950s, Rivera's parents moved from Puerto Rico to the United States in search of opportunities. They settled down in the borough of the South Bronx in New York City, where Rivera was born and rented a low income apartment in a public housing project. At a young age Rivera became interested in obtaining a good education and in becoming a pilot. He was a good student and as a young man joined the Boy Scouts, eventually becoming an Eagle Scout. After finishing his primary education, he enrolled and attended Aviation High School pursuing his ambition of becoming a pilot. After graduating from high school, Rivera attended Dowling College in Long Island and earned his Bachelors Degree.

Awards and decorations

Among Rivera's military decorations are the following:



On January 30, 1991, the United States House of Representatives paid tribute to Capt. Manuel Rivera and on May 9, 1991, the Hon. James H. Scheuer of the House of Representatives also paid tribute to the fallen Marine. P.S. 279 (Public School 279) was renamed P.S. 279 Capt. Manuel Rivera, Jr honoring his memory. Also, a street, park and public housing project were named after him in the South Bronx. In March 1995, the United States Marines donated a McDonnell-Douglas TA-4F, a Marine Corps fighter jet, to Aviation High School in memory of Rivera Jr.. The students at the school will use the jet to learn inspection and maintenance procedures. His name was engraved in "El Monumento de la Recordación" (Monument of Remembrance), dedicated to Puerto Rico's fallen military members and situated in front of the Capitol Building in San Juan, Puerto Rico, and unveiled by Puerto Rico Senate President Kenneth McClintock and PR National Guard Adjutant General Col. David Carrión on Memorial Day, 2007.

Marine service

He joined the United States Marine Corps in 1981, following in the footsteps of his father, Manuel Rivera, Sr. who was a Marine during the Vietnam War. He was sent to Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island, South Carolina where he underwent basic training. From there he was sent to the Marine Corps Officer Candidate School at Marine Corps Base Quantico in Virginia. He graduated as a 2nd Lieutenant and continued his training at the Naval Aviation Flight Training School where he earned his pilot "wings."

Operation Desert Shield

Rivera, who was eventually promoted to the rank of Captain, had planned on applying for admission to NASA as an astronaut candidate. However, he was assigned to VMA-331 upon the outbreak of Operation Desert Shield. He served as personnel officer, intelligence officer and logistics officer and as such flew in many support missions.

On January 22, 1991, Capt. Manuel Rivera died while conducting a training mission over the Persian Gulf when his AV-8B Harrier smashed into the Omani coastline while approaching the deck of the amphibious assault ship USS Nassau (LHA-4) for a landing. The real cause of the crash was not settled. Investigators believed condensation on the AV-8B's canopy could have interfered with the pilot's vision, or maybe that he just became disorientated by the horizon

Living octopus

Living octopus

In countries which are located near sea coasts, sea food is an important part of national cuisine