Thursday, September 18, 2008

Peralta to be given Navy Cross posthumously

I think you deserved the Medal of Honor, Sergeant. Semper Fi. Rest in Peace.

Peralta to be given Navy Cross posthumously - Marine Corps News, news from Iraq - Marine Corps Times: "Navy Secretary Donald C. Winter will award the Navy Cross medal — the nation’s second-highest combat award for valor in combat — to Sgt. Rafael Peralta, who pulled an enemy grenade to his body before it exploded, the Marine Corps announced Wednesday.
Discussion: If Peralta's actions don't rate a Medal of Honor, what does?

Peralta, 25, died Nov. 15, 2004, while he and members of Alpha Company of 1st Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment, were in the second week of fighting in the Battle of Fallujah when he barged into a house with a rifle squad. They immediately came under fire from insurgents inside the house.

“Peralta was caught in a deadly crossfire between insurgents and his Marines, leaving him mortally wounded,” officials said in an announcement released by I Marine Expeditionary Force at Camp Pendleton. “After the initial exchange of gunfire, the insurgents broke contact, throwing a fragmentation grenade as they fled the building.” The grenade stopped near Peralta’s head, they said, and “without hesitation and with complete disregard for his own safety, Peralta reached out and pulled the grenade to his body, absorbing the brunt of the blast and shielding fellow Marines only feet away. Peralta succumbed to his wounds.”

Officials did not say when the Navy Cross would be presented to Peralta’s family. In making the announcement, they acknowledged that the fatal blow may have come from another Marine’s weapon.

“Following multiple and exhaustive reviews, the evidence supports the finding that Peralta was likely hit by ‘friendly fire,’” officials said in the statement. “This finding has no bearing on the decision to award the Navy Cross medal.”"

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