DOD denies Medal of Honor to fallen Marine again

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WASHINGTON — After reviewing new evidence, the Department of Defense has reaffirmed its decision not to award the Medal of Honor to a San Diego Marine killed during a firefight in Iraq.

The decision by Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta means the Navy Cross awarded to Sgt. Rafael Peralta for heroism during the 2004 battle in Fallouja, Iraq, will not be upgraded to the nation’s highest award for combat courage.

Rep. Duncan Hunter Jr. submitted new evidence from witnesses that the already wounded Peralta deliberately pulled a grenade under his body and absorbed the explosion to protect his comrades from the blast.

After several months of reviewing the evidence, a Defense Department official informed Hunter Tuesday that Peralta’s medal will not be upgraded, Hunter’s office said Wednesday. The official said that the reviewers questioned the eyewitness accounts and stood by the review of the case conducted by Secretary of Defense Robert Gates that led to the original decision not to give Peralta the Medal of Honor.

The Gates investigation concluded that Peralta was unconscious when the grenade went off at least a foot away from his left leg.

The Marine Corps and Navy Secretary Ray Mabus have consistently requested that Peralta be awarded the Medal of Honor.

Hunter’s office called the decision “disappointing” and said that the congressman remains committed to seeing that Peralta is awarded the highest medal for military valor. The congressman was reserving comment on the Defense Department decision until he receives a detailed explanation from department officials in the coming days, a spokesman said.


  • joe

    how is it there decision most say 99 percent of those pussies in washington would not fight the fight the marines go through every day…stay up bro..your my hero..semper fi…

  • Navychick

    Either way, he died protecting our county, so give him the dang medal. They talk about the technicalities, yet they would never do a job like this. I was in Afghanistan last what.

  • NavyWife

    How disrespectful. This guy DESERVES the Medal of Honor. No matter how the grenade blew up and if he was awake or not. He's already sacrificing his life (among the other thousand soldiers/sailors/marines) for us and the pretty Congressmen to sit nice and safely in an office all whilst making 6 figure incomes. He gave up his life for this country. Period. If that doesn't deserve the Medal of Honor, then I don't know what does. Shame on America for not honoring their heroes. :(

  • Anna

    This is BS!… This man deserves his respect and his honor that was earned!. The medal is something he DESERVES!!!.. it shouldn't be of question!!… I bet if he was of "white" race, the "white privilege" in America would have given him the medal NO QUESTIONS ASKED!!! but as we can see, he is of Hispanic/Latin race and therefore he deserves NOTHING!! Inequality and racism still exists and will always exist!…. this is just a perfect example of it!

    • syahj04

      It is people like you that keep stirring the race pot. Get a life and stop screaming skin color, he was an American Marine that died because of a screwed up war we should not be involved in. I am sure if he was still alive he would not give a shit about a damn medal. As service members we already have given our life to protect and serve stupid people like you. I hope you dont reproduce.

  • Calla Wambulance

    So every soldier that dies in combat gets a metal of honor? This metal is reserved for personal acts of valor above and beyond the call of duty. When you enlist you know you may die in service. So simply dying does not meet the criteria if this metal, PERIOD.

    • Gil

      You are correct. All of our military men and women deserve metals and the fullest honors. But, the Metal of Honor has been reserved for some of the most historic acts of bravery and courage. Sempre Fi – God, Country, and Corp.

  • C. Hardage, USN

    No one has disputed the fact that a soldier died. No one has said that he did not fight with courage, defending his fellow soldiers to his last breath. This is what we do, this is what sets us apart from those who would place us in harms way. We do it, not for glory, not for attention, but for love – love of our country and of our fellow soldiers and sailors fighting the good fight to protect those we care most about. I do not know this man but I would gladly take a bullet for him or her. That is who we are, that is what we do.

  • RG, USMC MWSS-371

    The highest military medal is reserved for those who have displayed conspicuous gallantry and heroism above and beyond the call of duty. If this Marine did in fact protect fellow Marines from harm or death by pulling a grenade into his body to absorb the blast, then he should be awarded this medal. However, there is always an investigation and if it is proven that these events did not occur, then he should not. He is worthy of the Navy Cross. If he is awarded the MOH simply for his sacrifice, it diminishes the MOH award. For those of you calling it a metal, misspelling Semper Fi and Corps, or not capitalizing Marine, (Gil) it is obvious you have not served.

  • Rachel

    I am not and have never been in the military, but I am thankful for those who do choose to serve. whether you are Marine, Army, Air Force or Navy. You deserve respect for putting your life on the line every day. Everyday we see stories on the news of our troops being injured or killed, and all people do is bicker and use the race card. I don't think it should matter what color of skin you have, when you put that uniform on you are Red, White and Blue all the way through. People when you see a military man or woman in uniform or out , shake their hand and say thank you. And if you can't do that or have no respect , then put your head down and keep your mouth shut. Because these are the men and women who give their lives, to keep you free and safe. And keep in your prayers the mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, husbands, wives, children and friends who lose their loved ones in war so you can have your freedom and happiness.

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