A Marine who was killed after his unconscious body fell on a live grenade during the Iraq War will not receive a posthumous Medal of Honor, it was revealed today. Sgt Rafael Peralta was 25 years old when he fell on the grenade in Fallouja, Iraq in 2004.
Though he perished, his body shielded other American soldiers and saved the lives of other Marines.
Sgt. Rafael Peralta-Act of Honor pt 1 of 5
September 18, 2008
No Medal Of Honor For Marine Who Saved Others
Some upset at lesser honor for sergeant who covered grenade
By Gregg Zoroya, USA Today
WASHINGTON — A rare decision by Defense Secretary Robert Gates to reject a Marine Corps recommendation that one of its heroes receive the Medal of Honor has angered Marines who say Sgt. Rafael Peralta sacrificed his life to save theirs.
Peralta’s family was notified of the decision Wednesday by Lt. Gen. Richard Natonski, a top Marine Corps commander. Col. David Lapan, a Marine spokesman, said he was unaware of any recent award nomination that was denied in this way.
A Gates-appointed panel unanimously concluded that the report on Peralta’s action did not meet the standard of “no margin of doubt or possibility of error,” Pentagon spokesman Bryan Whitman said. The argument about whether to award Peralta the nation’s highest military honor centers on whether a mortally wounded Marine could have intentionally reached for the grenade after suffering a serious head wound.