Rafael Peralta was a hero, the citation on his Navy Cross confirmed this and so did his squad mates. He was a served in Fallujah in 2004, the hellhole battlefield of a city in Iraq where blood was flowing. The Marines were given the job to engage in urban warfare. They had to clear tightly packed neighborhood slums house by house and room by room.
It was in one of these rooms that Peralta and his team were ambushed. According to accounts from fellow Marines, Peralta was wounded in the head, a grenade was thrown into the room and Peralta scooped it under his body, saving lives. The action cost Peralta his life and the U.S. Navy gave the fallen Marine the Navy Cross, the second highest award a Marine can receive. Also the Navy announced it was naming a destroyer after the fallen Marine.
Peralta’s commander submitted his name for the Congressional Medal of Honor, but it was denied three times for a very strange reason. Some Marines in that room claimed the whole thing was made up to honor Peralta. A special inquiry team of the Department of Defense stated that Peralta was brain-dead from the head wound. The team went on to surmise that it was involuntary body movements that caused the grenade to be scooped under Peralta. Because of these conflicting accounts, the medal was denied.
Peralta supporters are upset because a combat photographer was there to capture what happened up to the firefight, but he did get the immediate after math. According to the video Peralta’s body showed injuries consistent with a grenade blast and the fuse was embedded in his flak vest. There was no video of Marines deciding to make up a story.
The Marine’s mom and dad are proud of their son’s sacrifice and want him honored, but they claim that race has nothing to do with the decision in this matter. According to the family, some members of the press are implying their son is being denied this medal because he is Hispanic.