Pictured is the Navy Cross which was awarded to Sgt. Robert J. Mitchell Jr. at Marine Corps. Base Camp Pendleton Friday, July 28, 2006 in Camp Pendleton, Calif. Mitchell received the medal for his actions in Fallujah, Iraq while serving as a squadron leader for Company K of the 3rd Battalion 1st Marine Regiment. (AP Photo/Chris Park)
A Marine would be posthumously awarded the Navy Cross for his valor while he was in Iraq nearly four years ago, Navy officials announced Wednesday, September 17.
According to a news release, Marine Sgt. Rafael Peralta was a member of a unit assigned to the 1st Marine Division during in an assault on the insurgent-held city of Fallujah. After clearing houses the previous three days, he agreed to join an under-manned squad and volunteered to stand post during the night of Nov. 14, 2004, which allowed his fellow Marines some time to rest.
The following morning, after clearing a house, Peralta was caught in crossfire between insurgents and Marines, leaving him mortally wounded.
The insurgents threw a fragmentation grenade as they left the building, and Peralta reached out and pulled the grenade to his body. Peralta absorbed the brunt of the blast, shielding his fellow Marines only feet away. Peralta then succumbed to his wounds, according to the news release.
Details on the award presentation were to be announced at a later date, according to the news release.