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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 ...

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Even The Devil Can't Fool A Dog - Part 5

In the days following the suicide car bombing in 2004, Carlos didn’t feel angry. He didn’t feel frightened. He didn’t even mourn the men who were so brutally killed that day. Carlos didn’t feel anything at all. He was completely numb.

He learned to detach himself from his own well-being. He accepted what he assumed was his impending death; it was clear to him he would ...

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Even The Devil Can't Fool A Dog - Part 4

There was a shyness about Carlos, despite his intimidating appearance. Muscles earned from years of required physical fitness bulge under his black shirt, his sleeves pushed up to his elbows to reveal a maze of tattoos covering both of his forearms.

Shiny rhinestones rested in each of his earlobes, and a steal post pierced the area below his lower lip.

Carlos nodded bashfully, and greeted me in a quiet voice ...

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Even The Devil Can't Fool A Dog - Part 2

“A man, well, he'll walk right into Hell with both eyes open. But even the devil can't fool a dog.” -Earl Hamner, Jr.


PART II

The Mercedes, filled with what turned out to be 200 pounds of explosives, smashed into the Humvee. The blast incinerated both vehicles. The only part of the Humvee that remained was its sizzling engine block.

The force of the explosion knocked Carlos unconscious ...

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Even The Devil Can't Fool A Dog - Part 1

“A man, well, he'll walk right into Hell with both eyes open. But even the devil can't fool a dog.” -Earl Hamner, Jr.


PART I

“It wasn’t the best idea.”

Carlos Cruz was part of a three-vehicle convoy patrolling the scorching, silent Iraqi desert.

Carlos, a Marine lance corporal at the time, was in the rear of the convoy, lying down in the back seat of a ...

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Even The Devil Can't Fool A Dog - Prologue

“A man, well, he'll walk right into Hell with both eyes open. But even the devil can't fool a dog.” -Earl Hamner, Jr.

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) have been called the hallmark wounds of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. According to a 2008 Rand study, one in five American service members who’ve been deployed in the post-9/11 wars suffer from ...

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Supreme Court: Electrocution And Burn Pit Lawsuits Can Proceed

The U.S. Supreme Court has rejected the attempt by military contractors KBR Inc. and Halliburton Co. to block lawsuits against them that deal with electrocution and burn pits on bases in Iraq and Afghanistan, according to The Associated Press reports. The contractors hoped to curtail the lawsuits with appeals.

One of the lawsuits concerns the 2008 death of Staff Sgt. Ryan Maseth in Iraq, who was electrocuted while taking ...

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San Diego-Based Marines Training Iraqis In Fight Against ISIS

More than 300 U.S. troops from the newly formed Special Purpose Marine Air Ground Task Force are helping to rebuild Iraq’s disintegrated army in the fight against the Islamic State, also known as ISIS.

The unit, made up of troops from Camp Pendleton, Marine Corps Air Station Miramar and Twentynine Palms, is training as many as 1,200 Iraqis in six-week blocks to prepare them for a counteroffensive ...

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USS Peleliu Decommissioning Ceremony Slated For March

The U.S. Navy will hold a special decommissioning ceremony for the USS Peleliu on the morning of March 31, at Naval Base San Diego's Pier #7.

The Peleliu is the last ship of its kind (a Tarawa-class amphibious assault ship) and has been in service for almost 35 years.

During that service, the Peleliu embarked on 17 deployments, and covered more than one million miles.

According to the ...

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Oscar Nominations For Chris Kyle Biopic 'American Sniper' And Star Bradley Cooper

"American Sniper" — the movie based on Navy SEAL Chris Kyle's bestselling memoir of the same name — has been nominated for Best Picture by The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

Bradley Cooper, who portrayed Kyle in the movie, got a nomination for Best Actor.

Kyle's widow, Taya, wrote recently on Facebook about what it was like for her to watch "American Sniper":

"I guarantee you will see ...

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How War Brings About Medical Advances - Part V

So, military doctors wondered, how to relieve the pressure within the soldier’s skull without killing him? The answer was something called a craniectomy. The inventor was an Army neurosurgeon named Col. Rocco Armonda.

All Armonda ever wanted was to be an officer in the Army Medical Corps. At age 17 he joined the Army by attending the United States Military Academy at West Point. He earned his medical degree ...

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How War Brings About Medical Advances - Part IV

So, how did medicine evolve so rapidly that the chance of dying in the war in Afghanistan shrank to ten percent?

Most medical advances in war usually happen by accident, with a military doc facing a traumatically injured patient he’s not sure how to fix, according to Dr. Fred Mading, a Navy veteran (and my brother-in-law). Fred told me the doctor or medic tries everything he or she can ...

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Three-Legged Marine Corps Dog Subject Of New Book (Video)

A retired Marine Corps bomb-sniffing dog with a local connection is the subject of a new book, Top Dog: The Story of Marine Hero Lucca.

Maria Goodavage, the author of the bestseller Soldier Dogs, also penned Top Dog.

Gunnery Sgt. Chris Willingham, Lucca's first handler and current owner, says the canine Purple Heart recipient saved countless lives during her 400 patrols while deployed to Iraq twice and once to ...

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U.S. Air Force Pilot Killed In Middle East ID'ed As Capt. William Dubois

The Department of Defense has identified the U.S. Air Force pilot killed Dec. 1 as Capt. William H. Dubois, 30, of New Castle, Colorado.

Dubois lost his life when his F-16 Fighting Falcon crashed "near a coalition air base" in the Middle East.

According to the Air Force Times:

The jet was tasked to bomb targets in support of Operation Inherent Resolve, the campaign against the Islamic State group ...

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