A local Congressman confirms the Department of Defense will not award the Medal of Honor to a fallen San Diego Marine who some say used his own body to shield fellow troops from a grenade.
Marine Sgt. Rafael Peralta died eight years ago when he was caught in crossfire during an assault in Fallujah, Iraq.
He was honored with the Navy Cross but was denied the Medal of Honor because a previous Defense Secretary cited forensic evidence that Peralta was not conscious when he smothered a grenade with his body in Iraq in 2004, saving the lives of other Marines.
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The case was reopened earlier this year after U.S. Rep. Duncan Hunter obtained a video of the battle action and a newly-released report by a forensic pathologist that the lawmaker says prove Peralta was conscious and his actions intentional.
One week ago, Navy Secretary Ray Mabus said he was recommending that the Defense Department upgrade Peralta’s award.
However, on Wednesday, the General Counsel of the Department of Defense, Jeh Johnson informed Hunter that there would be no Medal of Honor for Peralta.
Among the reasons for his decision, Johnson said he questioned eyewitness accounts and felt the 2008 forensic review was still reliable.
More information will be released in the coming days according to a spokesperson for Rep. Hunter.