Manuel “Mannie” E. Reams - American Legion Post 182
By Harley L. Davidson, Ph.D.
Veterans Services Historian, United States World War One Centennial Commission
American Legion Post 182 is named after Manuel “Mannie” E. Reams, who served in the American Expeditionary Force during the First World War. Reams was born in February 1890 in Suisun, California. He attended local schools in the area and, between the years 1910 and 1915, made a name for himself playing semi-pro baseball where his teammates gave him the nickname “Babe.”
After being drafted in 1917, he was assigned to the newly organized 91st Division at Camp Lewis, Washington. In June 1918, the entire division was on the move to New Jersey before it finally set sail for England, then on to France in July. There, Reams fought in the Meuse-Argonne Offensive, where he was seriously wounded in the arm.
For three days, Reams was reported as “Missing in Action” but was later found hiding in a former German dugout in “No Man’s Land” with several other wounded soldiers.
“No Man’s Land” was the unoccupied, contested area between opposing frontline trenches occupied by the Allied nations, and the Imperial German Army. After the Battle of the Marne during the opening stages of the First World War, British, French, and German armies began to “dig in” to avoid the murderous machine-gun and artillery fire that covered the Western Front. The trench network stretched from the North Sea to the Swiss border. It is believed that if all the trenches that were dug on the Western Front were laid end-to-end, the distance would stretch some 35,000 miles.
After being recovered from “No Man’s Land”, Reams rejoined his unit which was moved to Ypres, Belgium. There, he and his unit took part in the Ypres-Lyson Offensive, a joint American, British, Belgian, and French operation. Reams perished in battle on the offensive’s first day on October 31, 1918.
The offensive was a success for the Allied forces, and it helped to bring the war to an end just 11 days later.
Reams’ body was originally laid to rest in Belgium, but in 1922 his body was relocated to Arlington National Cemetery.