No Posthumous Medal of Honor for Local Marine

Thursday, Nov 20, 2008  |  Updated 8:26 AM PDT
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No Posthumous Medal of Honor for Local Marine

The Department of Defense has rejected a request to award the Medal of Honor to a San Diego Marine who witnesses say threw himself on a grenade to save his colleagues in Iraq.

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The Department of Defense has rejected a request to award the Medal of Honor to a San Diego Marine who witnesses say threw himself on a grenade to save his colleagues in Fallujah, Iraq in 2004.

Rep. Duncan Hunter, who along with other politicians appealed the decision to award Sgt. Rafael Peralta the Navy Cross instead, said Wednesday he was disappointed.

Peralta's nomination was tainted by reports he was accidentally shot by a fellow Marine shortly before an insurgent lobbed the grenade. Eyewitnesses described how the Marine deliberately used his body to protect fellow troops from a grenade blast.

But Secretary of Defense Robert Gates says five independent experts reviewed the evidence and found it did not meet the required standard.

Peralta was assigned to the 3rd Marine Expeditionary Force in Hawaii. Originally from Mexico, Peralta signed up for the Marines as soon as he received legal residency. 

Read more about this story in the San Diego Union-Tribune.

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