Peralta Family Accepts Navy Cross For Their Late Son At Camp Pendleton
The family of Marine Sgt. Rafael Peralta accepted their late son's Navy Cross Monday, even though they would have preferred the Medal of Honor.
San Diegan Peralta was killed in Falluja, Iraq in 2004. He was shot in the head and then, his fellow combatants say he smothered a grenade with his body to absorb the blast.
A host of veterans, including Rep. Duncan Hunter, R-Calif., pushed to have him awarded the military's highest honor. But the Department of Defense refused, saying the bullet wound killed him instantly and he couldn't have acted to cover the grenade.
Peralta's sister, Karen, told KPBS the family never refused the Navy Cross. But in a 2012 interview, she said they were disappointed his bravery didn't merit a medal of honor.
"It's something he deserves. And I believe not only my family but many many people believe the same thing," Karen said.
Members of Congress and veterans leaders called for federal action to absolve the debts of nearly 10,000 soldiers in California alone who have been ordered by the Pentagon to repay enlistment bonuses a decade after they signed up to serve in Iraq and Afghanistan.