“Rafael Peralta pulled the grenade to him and smothered it with his body.” “Everyone should know his name.”


Rosa Peralta wore a button with a photo of her son, Marine Sgt. Rafael Peralta, who was killed in Iraq in December, 2004. (Photo by Don Boomer – staff photographer)

At an Apr. 26, 2006 ceremony aboard MCAS Miramar, Chief William Lansdowne presents Rosa Peralta with the plaque and mounted department badge signifying Rafael’s designation as an honorary San Diego police officer. Applauding is Col. Paul Christian, USMC, the air station’s commanding officer. (Photo by Don Boomer, North County Times)


A San Diego lawyer who has been acting as an intermediary for the family, George Sabga, said he was extremely disappointed by the decision, which he termed “b.s.”

“It was approved by the Department of the Navy and the Marine Corps and Central Command,” Sabga said of the nomination for the Medal of Honor. “The only ones that had a problem with it was the Department of Defense and I think that was because he was shot by another Marine.”


“MILITARY: Heroic Marine will receive Navy Cross”



Much of the support for him to receive the Medal of Honor came because his actions occurred in front of military correspondent Marine Lance Cpl. T.J. Kaemmerer, who penned an account of his death.

Datelined on Dec. 2, 2004, the story of Peralta’s heroism appeared on the Marine Corps Web site.

Kaemmerer reported that he put down his camera and volunteered to join fellow Marines, rifle in hand, on a mission to clear buildings that lined the streets of the battle-gripped Iraqi city.

Kaemmerer was part of a six-man group, dubbed a “stack.” Peralta was a part of the same group. Two stacks teamed up that morning, going house to house to ferret out insurgents.

A platoon scout, Peralta could have stayed behind in safety, but instead joined the mission.

Kaemmerer wrote of watching as Peralta pulled the grenade to him and smothered it with his body.

“I watched in fear and horror as the other four Marines scrambled to the corners of the room and the majority of the blast was absorbed by Peralta’s now lifeless body,” Kaemmerer wrote. “His selflessness left four other Marines with only minor injuries from the smaller fragments of the grenade.”

As a fire began to consume the house, the Marines pulled out Peralta’s body.

See also:

“Sgt. Rafael Peralta, American Hero”


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