Previously unreleased photo shows Peralta’s shrapnel-battered flak jacket


Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-Calif.) made news this week when his office staff unearthed the war-beaten rifle of late Marine Sgt. Rafael Peralta, evidence that he believes will support a push to grant Peralta the Medal of Honor some ten years after he was killed in combat in Iraq.

Along with photographs of the rifle and its mangled bullets, Hunter sent Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel four photos showing Peralta’s battle-torn flak jacket, the front of which shows shrapnel damage.

In a new eyewitness account put forward by Hunter’s office, a Marine amphibious assault vehicle section leader describes seeing the vest after the detonation of a low-yield grenade. Peralta’s Medal of Honor recommendation claimed he grabbed the live grenade and placed it under himself to protect his fellow Marines.

“I was about 10 to 20 feet away when (Peralta’s) flak jacket was removed from the transport vehicle and it looked like a mangled mess of fibers,” the Marine witness wrote in a statement. “The front ballistic plate was riffles with holes and barely being held in place with fibers of the garment. The back of the jacket seemed to be untouched by any damage. There was blood all over the garment.”

While the photos of the jacket were part of the award package initially submitted to Defense Secretary Robert Gates in 2008, none have ever been publicly released. With permission from Hunter’s office, we have posted one of them here.

This image, provided courtesy of Rep. Duncan Hunter's office, shows the front of Sgt. Rafael Peralta's damaged and battered flak jacket.

This image, provided courtesy of Rep. Duncan Hunter’s office, shows the front of Sgt. Rafael Peralta’s damaged and battered flak jacket.

Hunter argues that the damage the front of the jacket sustained proves Peralta consciously acted to pull the grenade underneath him, despite having been wounded in the head by a ricocheting bullet fragment.

“Evidence and professional opinion indicate he pulled the grenade into his body,” Hunter spokesman Joe Kasper said.

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel’s office has said Hagel is familiarizing himself with the facts of the the incident, though Peralta’s case remains closed for now.

What do you think Hagel should do?


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  1. give the man the medal of honour, i’ve seen enough evidence between the jacket, the bullets, and his m-16. america should show her gratitude towards this HERO!

  2. Steven P Parmenter on

    Sgt. Peralta sacrificed himself not for the CGA but for those Marines at his side. Therefore it becomes our solemn duty to insure that his sacrifice not be forgotten. He gave all, so should we in remembrance.

  3. This man deserves the Medal of Honor with out a doubt in my mind! The man should never ever be forgotten! May God bless him forever!!

  4. Sure, all the dead should have medals of honor . They are more honorable than any politician could ever be. Do notvthink they should have that right to judge acts of heroism since they are usually cowards themselves, have never been to war, and have never put themselves in harms way. So that’s up to the soldiers he was with , not some pencil pushing suit wearing grease ball with no life experience….

  5. Here’s the thing, either he did it, which his Navy Cross citation states, or he did not. They can’t have it both ways. He should have received the MOH or nothing at all. That’s controversial but he either saved his fellow Marine’s lives or he simply collapsed on a grenade after being killed by the ricochet. Upgrade this award to the MOH.

  6. Obviously this Marine should be awarded the Medal of Honor! I believe that waiting from 2008 till now is not only long overdue, but shows Total Disrespect for this Marine and all the others who are in battle and protecting our freedoms. I demand an immediate award and all who have held up this award should be removed from office. This is outrageous! Semper Fi!!!!!!

  7. If you were not there…you don’t know!

    Why was he awarded the Navy Cross? Quit screwing around and award this American Hero the MOH. Bring in all of your suit and tie thumb suckers and let them have their eternal meetings. What more do you want from Peralta and/or his family?

    Get some balls and do the right thing.

  8. Many American servicemen have been awarded the CMOH for the same actions attributed to Sgt. Peralta. Why is he awarded a different decoration for the same action as PO2 Michael Monsoor or CPL Jason Dunham? This stinks and the Awards and Decs officer should be given some written counseling and perhaps an unsatisfactory performance review on his incompetent performance on this incident.

  9. I don’t understand what the issue is: I guess the debate is whether he was of sound mind to have pulled the grenade under his chest and absorb the blast? Whether he was of sound mind or not, the Marine absorbed the grenade blast that saved multiple Marines’ lives. Not to long ago, a soldier was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor because he picked up a grenade that rolled near him and attempted to throw it back but it blew up in his hand and he lost part of his arm. Really??? Sgt Peralta absorbed this blast with his entire body and paid the ultimate sacrifice in doing so but he doesn’t rate the Medal Of Honor? Unacceptable….. Maybe the soldier should have gotten the Navy Cross and Sgt Peralta, the Medal of Honor…….back-asswards….

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