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#923937 --- 11/24/08 10:01 AM Marine Denied Medal of Honor after Covering Grenad
Strawberry Jam Offline
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Registered: 07/11/04
Posts: 34421
Loc: Herkimer County NY
MILITARY: Pentagon reaffirms denial of highest medal to Marine
Camp Pendleton Sgt. Rafael Peralta died during 2004 Fallujah battle

By TERI FIGUEROA - Staff Writer | Wednesday, November 19, 2008 7:31 PM PST ∞



The Department of Defense has reaffirmed its decision not to award the Medal of Honor to Sgt. Rafael Peralta, a Camp Pendleton Marine who witnesses say threw himself on a grenade to save his colleagues in Fallujah, Iraq in 2004.

U.S. Rep. Duncan Hunter said Wednesday he was disappointed by the decision to award Peralta the Navy Cross instead.

Read the Secretary of Defense letter and the Congressional letter to the President.

"Clearly, Sergeant Peralta deserves the Medal of Honor," Hunter, R-Alpine, said in a written statement.

George Sagba, an attorney for Peralta's family, said the family intends to push its appeal after President-elect Barack Obama appoints a new defense secretary.

The battle over whether Peralta should receive the nation's highest military honor came down to differing interpretations of whether the 25-year-old consciously pulled the grenade underneath his dying body to absorb the coming explosion to protect fellow troops, as eyewitnesses said he did.

The Pentagon's decision in September to award Peralta the Navy Cross, the second-highest military honor, caused a furor among Peralta's friends and family, and prompted San Diego County's congressional delegation and California's two U.S. senators to ask President Bush to review the decision.

In a letter to Hunter dated Tuesday, Secretary of Defense Robert Gates said that five independent experts reviewed the evidence and found it did not meet the required standard.

"After careful consideration, I concurred with this conclusion," Gates wrote.

Gates said he'd been asked by Bush to respond to the letter from the congressional delegation.

Peralta's mother, who lives in San Diego, said Wednesday that the decision to deny her son the Medal of Honor was unjust.

"I want him (Gates) to explain to me what his doubt is," Rosa Peralta said. "What doubt does he have? I want an explanation."

A San Diego resident when he joined the Marines, Peralta died Nov. 15, 2004, when he and fellow Marines attached to Camp Pendleton's 1st Marine Division attacked three insurgents inside a house in Fallujah during one of the largest battles of the Iraq war.

Peralta had been wounded by an accidental shot to the head from another Marine and was on the floor when the grenade was tossed into the room.

The Marines with Peralta that day say they saw him reach out with his right arm and drag the grenade to his body moments before it exploded.

In his statement Wednesday, Hunter pointed to those witness accounts in arguing that Peralta deserved the Medal of Honor.

"In matter of fact, many awards for valor in the history of our military have been given for actions which represented the last, fleeting moments of life that, even after medical examination left experts wondering how someone could possibly do what they did," Hunter said. "The answer has always been to trust their comrades in arms and eyewitness accounts.

"In Sergeant Peralta's case, we should do no less."

Staff Writer Edward Sifuentes and the Associated Press contributed to this report.

Contact staff writer Teri Figueroa at (760) 740-5442 or tfigueroa@nctimes.com.




Statement from U.S. Congressman Duncan Hunter (R-CA):

“I am disappointed in Secretary Gates’ decision. I am disappointed because eye witness accounts from Marines involved in the firefight clearly indicate that Sergeant Peralta’s actions were deliberate. One of these Marines said that Sergeant Peralta ‘reached over and pulled the grenade into himself.’ Another said he ‘hugged the grenade and saved the lives of the Marines in the room with him.’

“Given this uncontroverted testimony, which is consistent with the Navy Cross citation, I can not disagree more with DoD’s conclusion. DoD medical experts doubt that Sergeant Peralta had the physical capacity to cover the grenade with his body after being wounded, despite the fact that his squad members said they saw him do it with their own eyes.

“From the information provided by DoD, my understanding is that the neurosurgeon did not say that Sergeant Peralta’s actions were impossible but, rather, that the evidence did not meet the ‘no doubt standard necessary.’ Thus, the statements by those Marines who stood within a few feet of Sergeant Peralta should be given primacy.

“In matter of fact, many awards for valor in the history of our military have been given for actions which represented the last, fleeting moments of life that, even after medical examination, left experts wondering how someone could possibly do what they did. The answer has always been to trust their comrades in arms and eyewitness accounts. In Sergeant Peralta’s case, we should do no less.

“Clearly, Sergeant Peralta deserves the Medal of Honor. I hope the Secretary will immediately reconsider this decision.”

Both the article and the statement can be seen at:



http://nctimes.com/articles/2008/11/19/military/z642ecba607a103198825750700054c7c.txt

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#923973 --- 11/24/08 10:39 AM Re: Marine Denied Medal of Honor after Covering Grenad [Re: Strawberry Jam]
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Registered: 01/09/06
Posts: 17154
Un freakin' believable.

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#923987 --- 11/24/08 10:52 AM Re: Marine Denied Medal of Honor after Covering Grenad [Re: ]
Senecamom Offline
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Registered: 02/03/06
Posts: 7411
Loc: On a journey......
Robert Gates- real upstanding guy.....

As deputy director and director of America's leading intelligence agency for many years, Gates and his CIA staff have been faulted for failing to accurately gauge the decline and disintegration of the Soviet Union. More particularly, Gates has been criticized for concocting evidence to show that the Soviet Union was stronger than it actually was, and also for repeatedly skewing intelligence to promote a particular worldview.[32] Also, according to Newsweek, Gates, as deputy director of CIA, allegedly vouched for the comprehensiveness of a CIA study presented to the Senate and President Reagan alleging that the Soviet Union played a role in the 1981 shooting of Pope John Paul II. A CIA internal review later denounced the report as being skewed, but that Gates did not try to influence the report's conclusions.


Level of involvement in the Iran-Contra scandal
Because of his senior status in the CIA, Gates was close to many figures who played significant roles in the Iran-Contra Affair and was in a position to have known of their activities. In 1984, as deputy director of CIA, Gates advocated that the U.S. initiate a bombing campaign against Nicaragua and that the U.S. do everything in its power short of direct military invasion of the country to remove the Sandinista government .

The evidence developed by Independent Counsel did not warrant indictment of Gates for his Iran-Contra activities or his responses to official inquiries.

Gates was an early subject of Independent Counsel's investigation, but the investigation of Gates intensified in the spring of 1991 as part of a larger inquiry into the Iran/contra activities of CIA officials.

This investigation received an additional impetus in May 1991, when President George H.W. Bush nominated Gates to be Director of Central Intelligence (DCI). The chairman and vice chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence (SSCI) requested, in a letter to the Independent Counsel on May 15, 1991, any information that would “significantly bear on the fitness” of Gates for the CIA post.

Gates consistently testified that he first heard on October 1, 1986, from Charles E. Allen, the national intelligence officer who was closest to the Iran initiative, that proceeds from the Iran arms sales may have been diverted to support the Contras. Other evidence proves, however, that Gates received a report on the diversion during the summer of 1986 from DDI Richard Kerr.[

The issue was whether the Independent Counsel could prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Gates was deliberately not telling the truth when he later claimed not to have remembered any reference to the diversion before meeting with Allen in October.

Grand Jury secrecy rules hampered Independent Counsel's response. Nevertheless, in order to answer questions about Gates' prior testimony, Independent Counsel accelerated his investigation of Gates in the summer of 1991. This investigation was substantially completed by September 3, 1991, at which time Independent Counsel determined that Gates' Iran-Contra activities and testimony did not warrant prosecution.

Independent Counsel made this decision subject to developments that could have warranted reopening his inquiry, including testimony by Clair E. George, the CIA's former deputy director for operations. At the time Independent Counsel reached this decision, the possibility remained that George could have provided information warranting reconsideration of Gates's status in the investigation. George refused to cooperate with Independent Counsel and was indicted on September 19, 1991. George subpoenaed Gates to testify as a defense witness at George's first trial in the summer of 1994, but Gates was never called.
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#923994 --- 11/24/08 10:59 AM Re: Marine Denied Medal of Honor after Covering Grenad [Re: Senecamom]
LaughinWillow Offline
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Registered: 04/12/01
Posts: 1950
Loc: State of Emergency
Why would this even be a big deal to the administration? What, do they have to give lifetime health insurance to the family of MOH recipients or something? I mean, why NOT just give the guy the medal?
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#923997 --- 11/24/08 11:01 AM Re: Marine Denied Medal of Honor after Covering Grenad [Re: Senecamom]
Strawberry Jam Offline
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Registered: 07/11/04
Posts: 34421
Loc: Herkimer County NY

...In a letter to Hunter dated Tuesday, Secretary of Defense Robert Gates said that five independent experts reviewed the evidence and found it did not meet the required standard....

Required standard?

The guy died to save others....period.

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#923998 --- 11/24/08 11:01 AM Re: Marine Denied Medal of Honor after Covering Grenad [Re: LaughinWillow]
Senecamom Offline
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Registered: 02/03/06
Posts: 7411
Loc: On a journey......
It's deplorable that they do not honor him.
_________________________
~Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing, there is a field. I'll meet you there.~

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#924001 --- 11/24/08 11:05 AM Re: Marine Denied Medal of Honor after Covering Grenad [Re: Senecamom]
Strawberry Jam Offline
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Registered: 07/11/04
Posts: 34421
Loc: Herkimer County NY
I found a site for a petition to give Peralta the medal, but found out that the petition had been closed by whomeever started it.

You can read the 3754 signatures here:

http://www.petitiononline.com/mod_perl/signed.cgi?rp2008&1

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#924003 --- 11/24/08 11:06 AM Re: Marine Denied Medal of Honor after Covering Grenad [Re: Strawberry Jam]
Strawberry Jam Offline
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Registered: 07/11/04
Posts: 34421
Loc: Herkimer County NY

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#924006 --- 11/24/08 11:16 AM Re: Marine Denied Medal of Honor after Covering Grenad [Re: Strawberry Jam]
Strawberry Jam Offline
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Registered: 07/11/04
Posts: 34421
Loc: Herkimer County NY
From the homepage for Marine:


"Tomorrow, at 1900 hours, we are going to declare war in the holy city of Fallujah. We are going to defeat the insurgents. Watch the news, it's going to be all over. Be proud of me, bro, I'm going to make history and do something that I always wanted to do.... If anything happens to me, just remember I lived my life to the fullest and I'm happy with what I lived."
-- Nov. 6, 2004 letter to brother, Ricardo, then 14



http://www.rafaelperalta.org/biography.htm

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#924095 --- 11/24/08 04:20 PM Re: Marine Denied Medal of Honor after Covering Grenad [Re: Strawberry Jam]
Brightday Offline
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Registered: 08/31/05
Posts: 1501
Very baffling. Hope they try again for the Medal of Honor for this soldier.

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#924110 --- 11/24/08 04:35 PM Re: Marine Denied Medal of Honor after Covering Grenad [Re: Brightday]
Brightday Offline
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Registered: 08/31/05
Posts: 1501
Criteria for Medal of Honor: It is bestowed on a member of the US Armed Forces who distinguishes himself "conspiciously 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 US". (wikipedia.org)

Sounds like Sgt Peralta meets the criteria.

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#924111 --- 11/24/08 04:36 PM Re: Marine Denied Medal of Honor after Covering Grenad [Re: Brightday]
Brightday Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 08/31/05
Posts: 1501
Criteria for Medal of Honor: It is bestowed on a member of the US Armed Forces who distinguishes himself "conspiciously 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 US". (wikipedia.org)

Sounds like Sgt Peralta meets the criteria.

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#924117 --- 11/24/08 04:46 PM Re: Marine Denied Medal of Honor after Covering Grenad [Re: Brightday]
reilley Offline
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Registered: 01/17/05
Posts: 11744
Loc: between here and there
I want those people to look at the mother in the eye and tell her why ... cause he can't do it , none of them can!
He is a Hero ..Secretary of Defense Robert Gates is a coward
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#924123 --- 11/24/08 04:50 PM Re: Marine Denied Medal of Honor after Covering Grenad [Re: reilley]
Night prowler Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 10/31/06
Posts: 690
Loc: ny
Al Gore gets a Nobel prize for a sack of garbage and this guy gets a slap in the face for giving his life to save others. UNREAL!

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#924148 --- 11/24/08 05:47 PM Re: Marine Denied Medal of Honor after Covering Grenad [Re: Night prowler]
Reinhart Faust Offline
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Registered: 07/18/03
Posts: 6953
Loc: This Island Earth
Originally Posted By: Night prowler
Al Gore gets a Nobel prize for a sack of garbage and this guy gets a slap in the face for giving his life to save others. UNREAL!


What's unreal is how you can lament how unfairly we dastardly liberals have treated poor, misunderstood George Bush over the last eight years out of one side of your mouth, while using this family's tragedy and the subsequent injustice they've endured as an opportunity to take a cheap shot at Al Gore, who has nothing in the least to do with any of this, out of the other side of your mouth.
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#924161 --- 11/24/08 06:17 PM Re: Marine Denied Medal of Honor after Covering Grenad [Re: Reinhart Faust]
Night prowler Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 10/31/06
Posts: 690
Loc: ny
Al Gore was given something that he did not deserve! This family deserves the highest honor for his actions that saved lives of others whether you like it or not.

Cheap shot towards Gore? I don't think so.

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#924168 --- 11/24/08 06:33 PM Re: Marine Denied Medal of Honor after Covering Grenad [Re: Night prowler]
Reinhart Faust Offline
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Registered: 07/18/03
Posts: 6953
Loc: This Island Earth
Originally Posted By: Night prowler
Al Gore was given something that he did not deserve!


Then take it up with the Nobel committee. Your axe to grind with Al Gore has nothing whatsoever to do with this family's tragedy, and you dishonor all of them when you exploit their pain to take a cheap shot (whether you choose to call it that or not) at Al Gore.

An awful lot of people who are or were in Washington in recent years got a lot of things they didn't deserve. You don't see me exploiting what happened to this soldier and his family as an excuse to grouse about it. Grow up.

Originally Posted By: Night prowler
This family deserves the highest honor for his actions that saved lives of others whether you like it or not.


Nice try, you pathetic punk. Only a delusional nut or an unscrupulous liar would take what I said as a suggestion that this soldier didn't deserve to be honored for his sacrifice. My guess is that you're both. That's why I can't be a conservative. There are some core values I agree with, but in practice conservatives like you bleat about morality and values while having none of your own.
_________________________
Your proposition may be good, but let's have one thing understood, whatever it is; I'm against it.

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#924176 --- 11/24/08 06:43 PM Re: Marine Denied Medal of Honor after Covering Grenad [Re: Reinhart Faust]
Night prowler Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 10/31/06
Posts: 690
Loc: ny
You live off mommy and daddy and you have the nerve to call me a punk? You need to go back to school, cause you wasted your parents hard earned money. You don't know anything.

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#924180 --- 11/24/08 06:49 PM Re: Marine Denied Medal of Honor after Covering Grenad [Re: Night prowler]
Reinhart Faust Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 07/18/03
Posts: 6953
Loc: This Island Earth
Originally Posted By: Night prowler
You live off mommy and daddy and you have the nerve to call me a punk? You need to go back to school, cause you wasted your parents hard earned money. You don't know anything.


1) I have a job and live on my own and pay my own bills, thanks very much.

2) My parents helped me out some with college, but I also took out loans which have my name on them and which I pay every month, thanks very much again.

If you're looking to paint me as the conservatives' delusional stereotype of the liberal blogger living in his parents' basement or something of that sort, you're barking up the wrong tree. I earn my money and pay my own way, so find someplace else to stick your righteous indignation.
_________________________
Your proposition may be good, but let's have one thing understood, whatever it is; I'm against it.

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#924181 --- 11/24/08 06:49 PM Re: Marine Denied Medal of Honor after Covering Grenad [Re: Night prowler]
past tense Offline
Diamond Member

Registered: 03/05/03
Posts: 29711
Loc: Houston, TX
LOLOLOL

Now you're an expert on our family finances?

Cllllllllassic!
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