Marine Sgt. Rafael Peralta has been denied the Medal of Honor, for the second time. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta cites “Reasonable Doubt” as his motivation for the soldier not receiving the honor, post-mortem.
Peralta lost his life in Iraq, in 2004, Inquisitr informs. He was shot in the head during alleged “friendly fire” where he was stationed, in Fallujah.
Witnesses to the event claim that, after being struck and knowing he didn't have much more to live, he marched towards the enemy line and threw a grenade.
He allegedly used his own body to make a final blow and divert attention to himself, and away from the American troops.
Panetta had a medical panel analyze the gravity of his injuries. The conclusion was that it would have been physically impossible for the Army man to perform his final heroic gesture; therefore, it would be unjust for him to be awarded the Medal.
“In light of the strict standards that have been established for awarding the Medal of Honor and the fact that a thorough review of the evidence has not indicated ‘proof beyond a reasonable doubt,’ I cannot in good conscience change the recommendation of Secretary Robert Gates.
“[Evidence casts] more than a reasonable doubt. To disregard this evidence, or to abandon the beyond-a-reasonable-doubt standard for the MOH, would also be unfair to all others considered for the MOH but whose heroic actions fell just short of this rigorous evidentiary standard,” he states.
The decision has left many disappointed, including House Rep. Duncan Hunter, who lobbied for the decorated Marine to be recognized as a hero. He goes as far as to accuse Secretary Robert Gates of manufacturing arguments against the sergeant.
“For the first and only time on record, Secretary Gates formed a scientific panel consisting of several forensic experts to refute the findings and recommendation of both the Marine Corps and the Navy.
“Until then, there was absolutely no disagreement that Sergeant Peralta’s actions were in the spirit and tradition of the Medal of Honor. Secretary Gates manufactured the doubt — the same doubt that led Secretary Panetta not to award the Medal of Honor,” he explains in a statement.