Several readers have written to point out this excellent article by Oliver North on a genuine hero, Marine Sgt. Rafael Peralta:
On the morning of November 15, 2004, the men of 1st Battalion, 3rd Marines awoke before sunrise and continued what they had been doing for seven days previously – cleansing the city of Fallujah of terrorists house by house.
At the fourth house they encountered that morning the Marines kicked in the door and “cleared” the front rooms, but then noticed a locked door off to the side that required inspection. Sgt. Rafael Peralta threw open the closed door, but behind it were three terrorists with AK-47s. Peralta was hit in the head and chest with multiple shots at close range.
Peralta’s fellow Marines had to step over his body to continue the shootout with the terrorists. As the firefight raged on, a “yellow, foreign-made, oval-shaped grenade,” as Lance Corporal Travis Kaemmerer described it, rolled into the room where they were all standing and came to a stop near Peralta’s body.
But Sgt. Rafael Peralta wasn’t dead – yet. This young immigrant of 25 years, who enlisted in the Marines when he received his green card, who volunteered for the front line duty in Fallujah, had one last act of heroism in him.
As Sgt. Rafael Peralta lay near death on the floor of a Fallujah terrorist hideout, he spotted the yellow grenade that had rolled next to his near-lifeless body. Once detonated, it would take out the rest of Peralta’s squad. To save his fellow Marines, Peralta reached out, grabbed the grenade, and tucked it under his abdomen where it exploded.
The saddest part of this inspiring story, in my view, is not Sgt. Peralta’s death, tragic and noble though it was. The saddest fact, as Col. North notes, is that Peralta’s act of heroism has received only a fraction of the media coverage accorded to another young soldier, Pablo Paredes, who became a media darling by refusing to board his ship bound for Iraq along with 5,000 other sailors and Marines. Instead, he showed up on the pier wearing a black tee shirt that read, “Like a Cabinet member, I resign.”
How clever. In the mainstream media, that cheap stunt merits far more notice than the sacrifice of the patriotic Sgt. Peralta.