Marine praised by Bush won't get Medal of Honor

pardus

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By CHELSEA J. CARTER, AP Military Affairs Writer
Thu Sep 18, 5:52 AM ET



A Marine sergeant singled out by President Bush for throwing his body on a grenade to save his comrades in Iraq will receive the prestigious Navy Cross rather than the nation's highest military award, military officials said.

The family of Sgt. Rafael Peralta, who was posthumously nominated for the nation's highest military honor, told the North County Times of Escondido, Calif., they were disappointed he was not receiving the Medal of Honor.

"I don't understand why if the president has been talking about him," his mother, Rosa Peralta, told the newspaper, which was the first to report the bestowing of the Navy Cross.

Rosa Peralta said she was informed during a meeting with Marine Corps Lt. Gen. Richard Natonski that a committee could not agree on awarding the Medal of Honor to her son, who Marine Corps officials say was first wounded by friendly fire. She said the general mentioned the friendly fire aspect as part of her son's death during the discussion.

Marine Corps spokesman Mike Alvarez confirmed the meeting, saying only that it was a personal briefing between Natonski and Rosa Peralta to inform her that the secretary of the Navy would award the Navy Cross posthumously for extraordinary heroism.

The Navy Cross is the second highest honor for combat heroism a Marine can receive.

The secretary of the Navy's public affairs office in Washington, D.C., did not immediately return an after-hours telephone call Wednesday seeking comment.

Headquarters Marine Corps spokesman Maj. David Nevers told The Associated Press that the Navy Cross for Peralta "is not bestowed lightly."

Nevers said only 23 sailors and Marines out of the thousands who have served in combat in Iraq and Afghanistan have received the Navy Cross.

"The awarding of a medals of valor is a methodical process and carefully conducted to ensure the sacrifice and service of our Marines and sailors is appropriately honored," he said.

Peralta was shot several times in the face and body during a house-to-house search in Fallujah on Nov. 15, 2004, during some of the fiercest fighting of the war.

According to a report by a Marine combat photographer who witnessed the act, Peralta lay wounded on the floor of a house and grabbed a grenade that had been lobbed by an insurgent. He absorbed the blast with his body, dying instantly.

In 2005, Natonski, then-commanding general of the 1st Marine Division, ordered an investigation to determine the source of a bullet fragment recovered from Peralta's body.

"Following multiple and exhaustive reviews, the evidence supports the finding that Peralta was likely hit by 'friendly fire,'" the Marine Corps said Wednesday in a press release. "This finding had no bearing on the decision to award the Navy Cross medal."

Bush cited Peralta's heroism in a Memorial Day speech in 2005, saying the Marine "understood that America faces dangerous enemies, and he knew the sacrifices required to defeat them."

Peralta, who was assigned to Hawaii's 1st Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment, moved to San Diego from Tijuana as a teenager. He was 25.


http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20080918/ap_on_re_us/death_by_grenade
 

ROS

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The Medal of Honor is the highest military decoration awarded by the United States government. It is bestowed on a member of the United States armed forces who distinguishes himself "conspicuously by gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty while engaged in an action against an enemy of the United States"

I believe he more than qualifies.
 

Ex3

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I don't get it. The MoH was award to PO Monsoor and he did practically the same thing.

Monsoor was part of a sniper security team on Sept. 29, 2006, in Ramadi with three other SEALs and eight Iraqi soldiers, according to a Navy account. An insurgent fighter threw the grenade, which struck Monsoor in the chest before falling in front of him. Monsoor, according to the account, then threw himself on the grenade.
 

HoosierAnnie

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"grabbed a grenade that had been lobbed by an insurgent. He absorbed the blast with his body, dying instantly."

"insurgent fighter threw the grenade . . .then threw himself on the grenade."

QUICK without looking, which comment is about which man?

Gee, ya can't tell them apart can ya?
 

car

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Medics on the review board are discounting the eye-witness testimony.
Bunch of Bullshit, BTW- George Casey led the review board.

I've thought about this since it was posted, so let me play devil's advocate.

What I'm about to say is certainly not what I think - just tryin to put myself in the heads of the people who made/recommended the decision.

The kid was shot up already, apparently by friendly fire (WTF?) So, he may have been bleeding out already - prolly was. I can only imagine what was going through his mind at that time.

"Fuck! I'm gonna die in this shithole....."

So, in rolls a grenade.

"I'm not gonna make it, and I'm really hurting. Fuck it....."

Rolls up on the grenade.

I have no idea what happened that day, I'm just speculating. But I'm thinking (and this is just car's opinion) that that's prolly what the "reviewers" of the recommdation were thinking - "It's not like he suddenly decided to sacrifice his life for his buddies. He already knew he was gonna die that day."

That makes it no less heroic - just an easier (although less rational) decision.

Folks, I'm not saying this is what I think or believe - I don't - he deserves the Medal. But I'm struggling to figure out what the hell the logic was in not awarding it to him.

/Running for hide hole and awaiting incoming indirect fire.
 

ROS

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That's just it, the board obviously wasn't thinking.

If say presidential intervention is highly unlikely, especially considering his inaction on other black-and-white matters of reward/punishment.
 

pardus

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Has the POTUS got any say in this? It is the Congressional Medal of Honor after all, not the POTUS's MOH.

I'm asking, I don't know.
 

pardus

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I think the Marine deserves a medal absolutely, I don't necessarily think he's entitled the the MOH. :2c:
 

car

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Has the POTUS got any say in this? It is the Congressional Medal of Honor after all, not the POTUS's MOH.

I'm asking, I don't know.

It's no longer the "Congressional......" It's the MOH, so Congress(wo)men couldn't pander to constituents.

Never mind the politics at the Pentagon - Sodom-on-the-Potomac. :uhh::doh: But honestly, I don't know the process for a that award.
 

Gypsy

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The kid was shot up already, apparently by friendly fire (WTF?)


Read a post elsewhere from a medic in the area at the time. To paraphrase, the Marines pulled out of that building and thought he was already dead...as they were spraying fire into the building he was obviously hit by friendly fire.

I get what you were saying in your post...
 

AWP

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Okay, someone is either lying or being misquoted.

From Pardus' first post:
"Following multiple and exhaustive reviews, the evidence supports the finding that Peralta was likely hit by 'friendly fire,'" the Marine Corps said Wednesday in a press release. "This finding had no bearing on the decision to award the Navy Cross medal."

The update, also from Yahoo:
"There was conflicting evidence in the case of Sgt. Peralta as to whether he could have performed his final acts given the nature of his injuries," said Capt. Beci Brenton, spokeswoman for Navy Secretary Donald Winter.

He said that because there was some contradictory evidence, Gates instead took the extra step of asking five other individuals to review the case — a former commander of U.S. forces in Iraq, a Medal of Honor recipient, a civilian neurosurgeon who is retired from the military and two forensic pathologists who also are military retirees.

The five were given medical reports that had not been available in the initial review. They thoroughly reviewed the case again, including inspecting the evidence and re-enacting the event, Whitman said.

"Each independently recommended to the secretary that the evidence did not support the award of Medal of Honor," he said.

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20080919/ap_on_re_us/death_by_grenade;_ylt=ApKMWGB1R8mrRAI97lES0W.s0NUE

Unreal.
 

Swill

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They're lawyering this way too much. There is no way to disprove that the Marine didn't know he was mortally wounded. Should've awarded him the MOH. SECDEF jacked this one up.

464 MOHs were awarded for WWII, 133 for Korea, and 246 for Vietnam.

Five MOHs have been awarded for OEF + OIF.

Five.
 

ROS

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From FoxNews:
"There was conflicting evidence in the case of Sgt. Peralta as to whether he could have pents, Peralta lay mortally wounded on the floor of a house and grabbed a grenade lobbed by fleeing insurgents. His body absorbed the blast and he died immediately.In a rare move, the Marine Corps Thursday released a redacted copy of the Medal of Honor nomination by Lt. Gen. Richard Natonski and a investigative report detailing the "friendly fire" shooting of the sergeant.The report found sufficient evidence existed to believe that Peralta was probably shot by a fellow Marine and that a gunshot wound to the head and injuries to the head from a grenade caused his death.The nomination, which relies on witness statements, forensics, bomb fragment analysis and an autopsy, concluded that although Peralta was shot in the head, he made "a conscious, heroic decision to cover the grenade and minimize the effects he knew it would have on the rest of his Marine team."The nomination details Peralta's actions in the final minutes of his life, with several witnesses recounting how the Marine lay face down and used his arm to pull the grenade to him. It also says a forensic analysis of Peralta's clothing and flak jacket show the grenade was underneath him when it exploded.

Friendly fire or not, he sacrificed himself for his brothers.
 
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