Sgt. Rafael Peralta, 25, died during the Battle of Fallujah in 2004. He was posthumously awarded the Navy Cross, the Marine Corps' second-highest honor for valor. (Marine Corps via AP)
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HONOLULU — Fellow Marines will appeal to President-elect Barack Obama to award the Medal of Honor to a Hawaii-based Marine who witnesses say threw himself on a grenade to save his colleagues during combat in Iraq.
But they may struggle to get the nation's highest military honor for Kaneohe Marine Sgt. Rafael Peralta.
Peralta has already been denied the Medal of Honor after Defense Secretary Robert Gates recommended he be awarded the Navy Cross, the second-highest combat honor.
Former Marine Robert Reynolds says Peralta saved his life and those of four other Marines during the battle for Fallujah in 2004.
A group of five independent experts reviewed the forensic evidence and unanimously found they couldn't be sure Peralta acted deliberately.