A new report in the Washington Post today raises enormous new questions about a fallen Marine sergeant whose story has for nearly a decade has been at the center of controversy.
Sgt. Rafael Peralta was killed in action in Iraq during the 2004 battle of Fallujah. Since that time, the public’s understanding of how he was killed was that he was shot while attempting to clear a house, and with his last act of breath, reached out and pulled in an enemy hand grenade that was about to explode near his men.
But the Pentagon and the White House resisted awarding him the Medal of Honor, the nation’s highest award for valor, saying that there was inconclusive evidence that he consciously pulled the grenade into his body, and that some of his wounds were from friendly fire.
Nonetheless, Peralta was awarded the Navy Cross, the second-highest award for gallantry in combat. He has a U.S. Navy destroyer and a building aboard Marine Corps Base Okinawa, Japan, named for him.
“Without hesitation and with complete disregard for his own personal safety, Sergeant Peralta reached out and pulled the grenade to his body, absorbing the brunt of the blast and shielding fellow Marines only feet away.”
But the Washington Post report quotes two Marine who were there on the day of that fateful battle, and they claim that story of circumstances of the death of the 25-year-old sergeant was manufactured by the Marines immediately after the battle.
The grenade detonated near Peralta, they say, not beneath him. Additionally, and damningly, one Marine also says that a young Marine told him immediately after the battle that he killed Peralta with “a three-burst round to the face.”
“He ran right in front of my line of fire,” the Marine reportedly said.
The Marines cited by the Post, Davi Allen and Reggie Brown, say that the story was concocted in the aftermath of the incident by the Marines in the unit, several of whom feared that they shot Peralta.
The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs paid $13,000 over a three-month period for a senior official's biweekly commute to Washington from his home in California, according to expense reports obtained by ProPublica.
Staff Sgt. John Eller conducts pre-flights check on his C-17 Globemaster III Jan. 3 prior to taking off from Hickam Air Force Base, Hawaii for a local area training mission. Sgt. Eller is a loadmaster from the 535th Airlift Squadron. (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Shane A. Cuomo)
CUCUTA, Colombia — The Trump administration ratcheted up pressure Saturday on beleaguered Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro, dispatching U.S. military planes filled with humanitarian aid to this city on the Venezuelan border.
U.S. Secretary of Defense Patrick Shanahan speaks at the annual Munich Security Conference in Munich, Germany February 15, 2019. REUTERS/Andreas Gebert
ABOARD A U.S. MILITARY AIRCRAFT (Reuters) - Acting U.S. Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan said on Saturday he had not yet determined whether a border wall with Mexico was a military necessity or how much Pentagon money would be used.
President Donald Trump on Friday declared a national emergency in a bid to fund his promised wall at the U.S.-Mexico border without congressional approval.
A pair of U.S. Navy Grumman F-14A Tomcat aircraft from Fighter Squadron VF-211 Fighting Checkmates in flight over Iraq in 2003/Department of Defense
Since the sequel to the 1986 action flick (and wildly successful Navy recruitment tool) Top Gun, was announced, there's been a lot of speculation on what Top Gun: Maverick will be about when it premieres in June 2020. While the plot is still relatively unclear, we know Tom Cruise will reprise his role as Naval aviator Pete "Maverick" Mitchell, and he'll be joined by a recognizable costar: The iconic F-14 Tomcat.
It looks like the old war plane will be coming out of retirement for more than just a cameo. A number of recently surfaced photos show an F-14 Tomcat aboard the USS Theodore Roosevelt, alongside Cruise and members of the film's production crew, the Drive's Tyler Rogoway first reported earlier this week.