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This is an amazing story.

http://nationalreview.com/lowry/lowry.asp

Sgt. Rafael Peralta, American Hero
Everyone should know his name.

You probably don't know Rafael Peralta's name. If we lived in a country that more fully celebrated the heroics of its men in uniform, you would. He was a sergeant in Company A, 1st Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment for Operation Dawn, the November offensive to retake the Iraqi city of Fallujah, which had become a haven for terrorists. What he did on the day of Nov. 15 was an awe-inspiring act of selfless sacrifice and faithfulness to his fellow Marines.

The only way we can honor Sgt. Peralta's heroism is to tell his story and remember his name. What follows is mostly drawn from the reporting of Marine combat correspondent Lance Cpl. T.J. Kaemmerer, who witnessed the events on that day.

Sgt. Peralta, 25, was a Mexican American. He joined the Marines the day after he got his green card and earned his citizenship while in uniform. He was fiercely loyal to the ethos of the Corps. While in Kuwait, waiting to go into Iraq, he had his camouflage uniform sent out to be pressed. He constantly looked for opportunities to help his Marine brothers, which is why he ended up where he was on Nov. 15. A week into the battle for Fallujah, the Marines were still doing the deadly work of clearing the city, house by house. As a platoon scout, Peralta didn't have to go out with the assault team that day. He volunteered to go.

According to Kaemmerer, the Marines entered a house and kicked in the doors of two rooms that proved empty. But there was another closed door to an adjoining room. It was unlocked, and Peralta, in the lead, opened it. He was immediately hit with AK-47 fire in his face and upper torso by three insurgents. He fell out of the way into one of the cleared rooms to give his fellow Marines a clear shot at the enemy. During the firefight, a yellow fragmentation grenade flew out of the room, landing near Peralta and several fellow Marines. The uninjured Marines tried to scatter out of the way, two of them trying to escape the room, but were blocked by a locked door. At that point, barely alive, Peralta grabbed the grenade and cradled it to his body.

His body took most of the blast. One Marine was seriously injured, but the rest sustained only minor shrapnel wounds. Cpl. Brannon Dyer told a reporter from the Army Times, "He saved half my fire team."

Kaemmerer compares Peralta's sacrifice to that of past Marine Medal of Honor winners Pfc. James LaBelle and Lance Cpl. Richard Anderson. LaBelle dove on a Japanese grenade to save two fellow Marines during the battle of Iwo Jima. Although he had just been wounded twice, Anderson rolled over an enemy grenade to save a fellow Marine during a 1969 battle in Vietnam.

Peralta's sacrifice should be a legend in the making. But somehow heroism doesn't get the same traction in our media environment as being a victim or villain, categories that encompass the truly famous Jessica Lynch and Lynndie England respectively. Peralta's story has been covered in military publications, a smattering of papers including the Seattle Times and the San Diego Union-Tribune, ABC News, and some military blogs. But the Washington Post and the New York Times only mentioned Peralta's name in their lists of the dead. Scandalously, the "heroism" of Spc. Thomas Wilson — the national guardsman who asked a tough question of Secretary of Defense Don Rumsfeld that had been planted with him by a reporter — has been more celebrated in the press than that of Peralta.

Kaemmerer recounts how later on the night of Nov. 15, a friend approached him and said: "You're still here; don't forget that. Tell your kids, your grandkids, what Sgt. Peralta did for you and the other Marines today." Don't forget. Good advice for all of us.

— Rich Lowry
 

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He is indeed a true hero! :up:
 

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A good man we will remember with honor.
 

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More Mexican-Americans have been awarded the MoH than any other group in the armed services. Sgt. Peralta came here illegally from what I am reading in this story, and joined the Marines when he could, earned his citizenship, and gave his life defending what he sought, the american way of life.
Damn illegal aliens, if we don't stop them from coming over the border illegally, we may run out of heroes.

Vaya con Dios y gracias, Sgt. Peralta. Muchas gracias.
 

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linskyjack said:
I dont think he was from Mexico--I think somewhere in Central America--could be wrong.
Actually in the story it says he was Mexican.
 

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Infidel_Kastro said:
More Mexican-Americans have been awarded the MoH than any other group in the armed services. Sgt. Peralta came here illegally from what I am reading in this story, and joined the Marines when he could, earned his citizenship, and gave his life defending what he sought, the american way of life.
Damn illegal aliens, if we don't stop them from coming over the border illegally, we may run out of heroes.

Vaya con Dios y gracias, Sgt. Peralta. Muchas gracias.
Maybe you are seeing something I am not...

Sgt. Peralta, 25, was a Mexican American. He joined the Marines the day after he got his green card and earned his citizenship while in uniform.
Doesn't mean he was here illegally. A green card is a perminant work/live visa for the US. It doesn't mean that if you don't have one you are not here legally, it just means that being in the US perminantly is not yet granted.

Am I missing something?

I know not the point of the thread, but your conclusion struck me.....
 

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ComputerFix said:
Maybe you are seeing something I am not...

Doesn't mean he was here illegally. A green card is a perminant work/live visa for the US. It doesn't mean that if you don't have one you are not here legally, it just means that being in the US perminantly is not yet granted.

Am I missing something?

I know not the point of the thread, but your conclusion struck me.....
CF, I am speculating. Joining the armed forces is the quickest way to get your green card and citizenship here. You can have authorization to be here, which is a green card, but you are issued a green card to be here legally, not necessarily authorized to work.
http://uscis.gov/graphics/howdoi/PermRes.htm#card
 

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Infidel_Kastro said:
CF, I am speculating. Joining the armed forces is the quickest way to get your green card and citizenship here. You can have authorization to be here, which is a green card, but you are issued a green card to be here legally, not necessarily authorized to work.
http://uscis.gov/graphics/howdoi/PermRes.htm#card
Got it. I am not familiar with the fine points of immigration, but I seemed to recall you were knowledgable, so was just wondering.....
 

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Let us not forget these men who were "heroes" in their own right....how terribly, terribly sad! :( :(

Louisiana mourns 8 guardsmen killed in Iraq
Thursday, January 13, 2005 Posted: 10:44 AM EST (1544 GMT)

HOUMA, Louisiana (AP) -- In civilian life, Bradley Bergeron was an air conditioning technician. Kurt Comeaux was a probation officer and Warren Murphy a tugboat deckhand.

You could find Christopher Babin behind the wheel of his truck. Armand Frickey and Huey Fassbender III worked in restaurants. Each of the six also had another job: Members of the Louisiana National Guard
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All were killed last week in a single bomb blast in Iraq. They came from the same company and grew up in towns along the bayous of southeast Louisiana. :(

Their bodies were returned home Wednesday. Dozens of family members sobbed and hugged each other as the flag-draped caskets were unloaded from a cargo plane and carried into hearses.

"They trained together, they fought together, they went to war together, they died together. The families wanted them to come home together," said Hunt Downer, assistant adjutant general in the National Guard.

Full media coverage was allowed, including photographers and television news crews :up: --an exception to a Pentagon edict generally banning media coverage of America's war dead as their remains arrive.

More bodies are on the way: Two more Louisiana guardsmen were killed Monday. Ten from the Louisiana guard have died in Iraq in less than a month, from a total of 4,000 members in Iraq.

The deaths have given the rest of Louisiana a stark reminder that its National Guard members -- men and women once considered "weekend warriors" -- are now soldiers on the front lines.

"When you sign up with the Guard, you're in the Guard with family and friends and people you grew up with, people you went to school with," said Anthony Manuel, a former Louisiana guardsman whose brother, Bill, was killed in Monday's explosion.

When one soldier is killed, he said, "It's a big family that gets hurt. It's all of us."

In honor of the hometown heroes, flags have been at half staff in all parts of the state, from the capital city of Baton Rouge to Houma, a fishing and oil city near the Gulf of Mexico, to Bossier City, near the Arkansas state line.

"This is a sad time for Louisiana," Gov. Kathleen Blanco said Wednesday. "The families have a lot of grieving to do and we grieve with them. We appreciate them, we love them and we remember them in our prayers."

In all, Louisiana has lost 29 soldiers in Iraq: the 10 guardsmen, plus 15 U.S. Army soldiers and four Marines.

But the sudden killings of six soldiers at once -- all from the same part of the state -- was particularly stunning. That news, with banner headlines in newspapers around the state, was followed four days later by another explosion that killed two more. :( :(

In interviews, relatives of the killed soldiers have maintained a common theme: Their sons loved their work in the guard, thought of their fellow guardsmen as family and believed strongly in their mission.

"He loved his country and never gave a second thought to what he was doing in Iraq," Angela Bergeron, of Houma, said of her son Bradley, a specialist killed in the Jan. 6 explosion. "He talked about the National Guard as if it were his extended family. Those men were like his brothers."

Bill Manuel, a staff sergeant who was killed Monday, was one of three brothers who spent time in the guard. The Manuel brothers grew up fishing for bass in the Calcasieu River, and hunting rabbit and squirrel in woods around Oberlin, their tiny hometown about 175 miles west of New Orleans.

Then one by one, they enlisted. Part of the guard's appeal was the money, to pay for college. But the military also offered a chance to spend some time away from their small hometown.

"You got away from the farming community, you were able to experience something a little different, experience a piece of the military," Anthony Manuel said. "At the same time it was good because we were able to go off and do our training, then we were back at home in Oberlin."

Kermit and Anthony later left the military. Bill stayed in.

"My brother stayed in for the love of it, knowing he's fighting for our country," said Kermit, 33, Bill's youngest brother. "That's why most of the young men sign up, and that's why most of the young men stay in."
 

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It would be nice if we didn't cut their combat pay 30 days after leave the theater and that we gave them a little more then the 13,000 dollars in life insurance (they pay for of course) that they get now. I hear that Liberman (or someone else?) has proposed a bill to raise that to 100,000 dollars.
 

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linskyjack said:
It would be nice if we didn't cut their combat pay 30 days after leave the theater and that we gave them a little more then the 13,000 dollars in life insurance (they pay for of course) that they get now. I hear that Liberman (or someone else?) has proposed a bill to raise that to 100,000 dollars.
:up:
 
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