The office of Rep. Duncan Hunter has told U-T San Diego that the Department of Defense will not reconsider awarding San Diego Marine Sgt. Rafael Peralta the Medal of Honor.
Hunter spokesman Joe Kasper told the U-T that general counsel for the DoD, Jehcq Johnson, informed Hunter's office of the decision:
“The message from Mr. Johnson, in addition to questioning the eyewitness accounts, was that the forensic review conducted by (former Defense Secretary Robert) Gates, which led to the 2008 decision to downgrade the MoH to the Navy Cross, is still reliable. He also indicated that upgrading the award now would require overturning the decision of a previous secretary.”
As Home Post reported in June, the issue at stake was whether or not Peralta was conscious when he pulled a grenade to his body during a battle in Iraq in 2004, saving the lives of the men around him. The initial review of Peralta's case found Peralta did not knowingly cover the grenade with his body, as he had already been mortally injured.
But Hunter, and members of the California congressional delegation, called on Navy Secretary Ray Mabus and Defense Secretary Panetta to review new medical evidence that they believed proved Peralta was conscious at the time of his live-saving actions - thus making him worthy of the Medal of Honor.