A new guided missile destroyer named after a Hawaii Marine sergeant killed in fighting in Iraq in 2004 will be commissioned today at Naval Air Station North Island in San Diego.
The USS Rafael Peralta honors the Marine who grew up in San Diego and was posthumously awarded the Navy Cross for actions during combat operations in Operation Iraqi Freedom. Peralta is credited with saving the lives of fellow Marines during the second battle of Fallujah in 2004.
Gen. Robert Neller, commandant of the Marine Corps, will deliver the ceremony’s principal address, the Navy said. Rosa Maria Peralta, Sgt. Peralta’s mother, is the ship’s sponsor. The destroyer will be homeported in San Diego.
“This commissioning memorializes the life of Sgt. Rafael Peralta and marks the beginning of what will be decades of exceptional service for this ship,” acting Secretary of the Navy Sean Stackley said in a release. “During Operation Iraqi Freedom, Sgt. Peralta acted heroically and sacrificed himself for his fellow Marines. He was proud to be an American, proud to be a Marine, and we are proud to welcome USS Rafael Peralta to the fleet.”
Peralta, a Mexican immigrant who joined the Marine Corps right after getting his green card, was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment out of Kaneohe Bay.
The ship naming followed a torturous review of Peralta’s actions on Nov. 15, 2004 to see if he should receive the Medal of Honor. Peralta was killed when several insurgents fired on seven Marines as they went room-to-room in house-clearing operations in Fallujah. According to an investigation, Peralta was shot in the back of the head by friendly fire — possibly a ricochet — and fell to the ground.
At least four Marines with Peralta stated in written reports that they saw the short and stocky 25-year-old nicknamed “Rafa” then pull a yellow grenade to his body when it bounced into the room, absorbing the deadly blast and saving the lives of others.
A Medal of Honor recommendation passed examinations by the Marine Corps, U.S. Central Command and the Department of the Navy before being rejected in 2008 by five individuals appointed in an unusual move by Robert Gates, then defense secretary, to review the nomination.
Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel said in 2014 that he would not reopen the Medal of Honor nomination for Peralta, but calls to do so have persisted.
In a Washington Post story published in 2014, meanwhile, two of the Marines with Peralta said the extraordinary valor was made up shortly after he was wounded.
The USS Rafael Peralta will be capable of engaging in air, surface and subsurface battles simultaneously. The ship is equipped with the Aegis Baseline 9 Combat System which includes an integrated air and missile defense with ballistic missile shoot-down capability.
Islamic state members walk in the last besieged neighborhood in the village of Baghouz, Deir Al Zor province, Syria February 18, 2019. (Reuters/Rodi Said)
NEAR BAGHOUZ, Syria (Reuters) - The Islamic State appeared closer to defeat in its last enclave in eastern Syria on Wednesday, as a civilian convoy left the besieged area where U.S.-backed forces estimate a few hundred jihadists are still holed up.
U.S. Air Force Airmen assigned to the 317th Airlift Wing walk to waiting family members and friends after stepping off of a C-130J Super Hercules at Dyess Air Force Base, Texas, Sept. 17, 2018 (U.S. Air Force/Airman 1st Class Mercedes Porter)
The U.S. Air Force has issued new guidelines for active-duty, reserve and National Guard airmen who are considered non-deployable, and officials will immediately begin flagging those who have been unable to deploy for 12 consecutive months for separation consideration.
A small unmanned aerial vehicle built by service academy cadets is shown here flying above ground. This type of small UAV was used by cadets and midshipmen from the U.S. Air Force Academy, the U.S. Military Academy and the U.S. Naval Academy, during a Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency-sponsored competition at Camp Roberts, California, April 23-25, 2017. During the competition, cadets and midshipmen controlled small UAVs in "swarm" formations to guard territory on the ground at Camp Roberts. (U.S. Air Force photo)
Drones have been used in conflicts across the globe and will play an even more important role in the future of warfare. But, the future of drones in combat will be different than what we have seen before.
The U.S. military can set itself apart from others by embracing autonomous drone warfare through swarming — attacking an enemy from multiple directions through dispersed and pulsing attacks. There is already work being done in this area: The U.S. military tested its own drone swarm in 2017, and the UK announced this week it would fund research into drone swarms that could potentially overwhelm enemy air defenses.
I propose we look to the amoeba, a single-celled organism, as a model for autonomous drones in swarm warfare. If we were to use the amoeba as this model, then we could mimic how the organism propels itself by changing the structure of its body with the purpose of swarming and destroying an enemy.