CAMP PENDLETON, Calif. - Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus awarded
the Navy Cross to Rosa Peralta, the mother of the late Sgt. Rafael
Peralta, aboard Camp Pendleton, Calif., June 8, 2015.
According to the award citation, Sgt. Rafael Peralta was awarded the
Navy Cross posthumously after sacrificing his life by absorbing the
blast of an enemy grenade and shielding fellow Marines only feet
away while serving with Regimental Combat Team 7, 1st Marine
Division, in Fallujah, Al Anbar province, Iraq, on Nov. 15, 2004.
Throughout the ceremony several people stepped forward to
talk about Peralta and to express their gratitude for his
actions. The first to speak was Rafael's brother, Ricardo
Peralta. Ricardo enlisted in the Marine Corps in 2010 as an
infantryman to follow in his brother's footsteps.
Ricardo spoke for his family when he said there's nothing
that can replace the sense of pride they have for Rafael and
“Regardless of any sort of award,
buildings or ships being named after him, it doesn't take
away from the sense of pride that we all share,” Ricardo
said. “Those of us that have worked beside him and worn the
uniform have a sense of pride [and nothing can take that
Ricardo also said his brother didn't care
about medals or decorations; he just wanted to serve as an
CAMP PENDLETON (June 8, 2015) Secretary of the Navy (SECNAV) Ray Mabus poses for a group photo with the family members of Marine Sgt. Rafael Peralta before presenting them with a Navy Cross, the Navy and Marine Corps' second highest medal for valor at Camp Pendleton. Mabus posthumously awarded the medal for actions Peralta took in 2004. (U.S. Navy photo by Chief Mass Communication Specialist Sam Shavers)
“In the end, Navy Cross, Medal of Honor,
it doesn't matter,” he stated. “It's all good.”
Sergeant Adam Morrison, one of the Marines with Peralta when
the grenade detonated, stated that if it wasn't for the
Peralta's actions, he would have been fatally wounded.
The Peralta family said they have appreciated the
support the Navy and Marine Corps has given in order to
preserve the memory of the fallen warrior.
legacy will live on through the stories and memorabilia left
behind. This fall, the U.S. Navy will christen an Arleigh
Burke-class destroyer with his name, and his battle-worn
rifle along with a letter written to Ricardo will be
displayed in the National Museum of the Marine Corps in
More photos available in frame below
By U.S. Marine Corps Cpl. William Perkins
Comment on this article