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  • More backlash from un-rewarded Medal of Honor....

    ‘In the end, he did save his brothers’



    Former Marine protests decision to not give Peralta Medal of Honor
    By Gidget Fuentes - [email protected]
    Posted : October 06, 2008

    With a flag in one hand and a hand-scrawled sign in the other, retired Sgt. Catcher Cuts The Rope stood outside the main gate at Marine Corps Base Hawaii, Kaneohe Bay and thought about his friend Sgt. Rafael Peralta.
    Military police and security guards watched closely but said nothing to him. The night before, on Sept. 17, Cuts The Rope learned his fallen comrade would not receive the coveted Medal of Honor, the country’s highest award for combat valor, for smothering a grenade with his body four years ago in Fallujah, Iraq, and that instead his family would be given a Navy Cross.
    To Cuts The Rope — himself severely wounded in an intense firefight a week after Peralta’s death on Nov. 15, 2004 — the Defense Department’s decision is a mistake. Peralta earned the Medal of Honor, he said, for saving the lives of several fellow Marines.
    Upset at the perceived slight, he decided to act.
    “I was really angry about the decision,” said Cuts The Rope, who grew up in Fort Belknap, Mont., and now lives with his wife in Kailua, Hawaii, just a few miles from Kaneohe Bay. “I know there’s a lot of controversy. No matter what happened, in the end, he did save his brothers, and that’s why I’m mad and I’m hurt.”
    The controversy is this: Navy Secretary Donald Winter endorsed Peralta’s Medal of Honor nomination, but Defense Secretary Robert Gates rejected it after consulting with outside experts who determined the ailing Peralta could not have knowingly reached for the grenade after sustaining a fatal gunshot wound to the head. Winter then approved the prestigious Navy Cross, the nation’s second-highest combat medal for valor.
    Peralta’s family, friends and fellow Marines weren’t just disappointed, they were outraged. Cuts The Rope considered giving up his own Purple Heart in protest. Instead, he dangled the medal from a thick-beaded necklace, scribbled “Sgt. Peralta Didn’t Rate?!” on one side of a strip of cardboard and “Honor Peralta” on the other, and headed for the base.
    “If they’re not going to honor his sacrifice — if they’re not going to honor what he did — then this whole thing is going to be a lie,” Cuts The Rope said, his voice choking.
    By discounting the testimonies of the Marines who say they saw Peralta scoop the grenade toward his body as he lay wounded, the Defense Department is calling those men liars, Cuts The Rope said. To him, Peralta’s final act is “that last surge of hope and desperation, or love, in this case,” he said. “We were friends, all of us were.”
    With no permit to protest outside the base gate, Cuts The Rope moved to a busy intersection about a quarter-mile away. He stood there holding his sign for several hours Sept. 22-24 and planned to continue his protest through the weekend, when other combat veterans from all four services were expected to join him, he said.
    He hopes his protest will convince the Pentagon to reconsider its decision.
    Still, Cuts The Rope and others who knew Peralta worry their battle to get him the Medal of Honor will fade away with time as the upcoming presidential election and other news events sidetrack the public’s interest.
    A car zooms by Cuts The Rope, tooting its horn. “Oorah!” he yells back to the motorist, noting, “It’s happening quite a bit now.”
    Cuts The Rope points out that Peralta’s citation for his Navy Cross “says in black and white that (Peralta) used his body to shield his buddies,” an act of sacrifice that often spurs a Medal of Honor.
    “How honorable do you have to be when you die?” he asked.
    sigpic

    ...And shephards we shall be. For thee my lord, for thee. Power hath descended forth from thy hand. That our feet may swiftly carry out thy command. So we shall flow a river forth to thee. And teeming with souls shall it ever be. E Nomini Patri, E Fili, E Spiritu Sancti.

  • #2
    Is there any place we can call or write to help get this man get the deserves?
    Courage is just fear that has said it's prayers.

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