Congressman Duncan Hunter, Republican from California, has sent a letter to Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis asking him to upgrade a Silver Star award to a Navy Cross for Marine 1st Lt. Travis Manion in light of what he called "new material evidence."

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U.S. Marine Corps/Cpl. Jacob Farbo

Editor’s Note: This article by Hope Hodge Seck originally appeared on Military.com, the premier source of information for the military and veteran community.

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U.S. Marine Corps photo by Sgt. Courtney G. White

An infantry Marine’s combat heroism in Iraq is getting an upgrade this afternoon.

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Task & Purpose photo illustration by Matt Battaglia.

Sgt. Rafael Peralta was one of the first Marine Corps heroes of the Global War on Terror that most Marines had heard of. When I cycled through boot camp in 2008, his name was uttered along with a host of legendary Marines like Smedley Butler and Chesty Puller. Peralta’s battered rifle and body armor are part of an upcoming display at the Marine Corps Museum, and his story of sacrifice is often regarded as a testament to what it means to be a Marine. In the years since, it’s come to light that the story we were told in recruit training may not have been entirely true.

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Is there less courage on the battlefield today than during previous wars? If you only looked at the number of awards for valor presented to service members, you might get that impression. There’s been a noticeable decrease in valor citations issued during the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, compared with previous conflicts. There are plenty of reasons for this, but a lack of bravery isn’t one of them.

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