Family of fallen Marine accepts Navy Cross instead of Medal of Honor

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

CAMP PENDLETON, Calif. – The family of a Marine from San Diego who was killed in Iraq accepted a Navy Cross on his behalf Monday, despite their campaign to get him the Medal of Honor.

The family of Sgt. Rafael Peralta reluctantly agreed to accept the Navy Cross at a ceremony at Camp Pendleton Monday.

“It clearly shows his devotion to God, country and the corps," said his brother Ricardo Peralta.

During the ceremony Ricardo read from letters written by his brother days before he was killed.

“In his letter he says, be proud of me bro. I am going to make history.”

Peralta was 25 years old when he was killed in November 2004 in Fallouja. He volunteered for a mission with other Marines to clear houses of heavily armed insurgents.  Peralta was the first Marine to go into a house.

Other Marines stormed into the house where they found Peralta mortally wounded. It was unknown if he was shot by friendly fire.

“Myself and another Marine were trapped in the room where the grenade was thrown in, where he was lying on the floor, so me standing here is the testimony that he did save my life," said Marine Adam Ryan Morrisson.

Marines who were in the house said Peralta scooped up an enemy grenade and absorbed the blast in order to save the lives of fellow Marines.  Since, Marine brass nominated him for the Medal of Honor.

The controversy involving Peralta's death has gained the attention of Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-Alpine), who served in Iraq and Afghanistan as a Marine officer.

"The fight to upgrade the award will continue when the time is right, and I'll be honored to lead that fight," Hunter told Los Angeles Times Friday. "But the difference between the Navy Cross and Medal of Honor doesn't change the fact that Rafael Peralta is a Marine Corps legend and hero."

Pathologists determined Peralta could not have acted voluntarily, that he was clinically dead and "any actions were the involuntary spasms of a lifeless body." Their finding has been the main point of contention.

Then-Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates wrote in his memoir that he initially approved the Medal of Honor for Peralta but rescinded his decision after a protest from the department of Defense's inspector general. Instead he awarded the Navy Cross.

The family has decided to donate the Navy Cross award to displayed on the destroyer currently under construction to be named  Peralta.

“I didn’t understand that his goodbye might have been a permanent farewell. If I could go back I would tell him how proud I am of him for stepping up like that," said Ricardo Peralta.

https://twitter.com/EllinaFOX5/status/607949395057704960/video/1

1 Comment

  • You can take this medal and shove it!!!

    I would have told Mr Gates where to put (sideways) the medal of honor this guy deserved!… Really, This dead hero should not have his honor trashed groveling to a secretary of defense who spent no real time in the military and only as an intel weenie! His colleagues said Peralta was a hero, they lived to tell the story, what more honorable thing could a person do! Peralta, I hope you are painting your new home red and yellow and flipping birds to the selfish persons denying you what you really deserved. RIP!

Comments are closed.

Notice: you are using an outdated browser. Microsoft does not recommend using IE as your default browser. Some features on this website, like video and images, might not work properly. For the best experience, please upgrade your browser.