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Sgt. Rafael Peralta died while smothering a grenade during the battle for Fallujah.

I just came across a story the other about Pfc. Ricardo Peralta, who joined the Marines to carry on the legacy of his brother, Navy Cross Recipient Sergeant Rafael Peralta.

Sgt. Peralta died very much like Michael Monsoor when he led a group of other Marines through a series of house clearings, during the November 2004 Battle for Fallujah. They were successful in the first three house, but things went bad in a hurry as they charged the fourth.

The Landstuhl Hospital Care Project describes how Sgt. Peralta “found two rooms empty on the ground floor, but upon opening a third door he was hit multiple times with AK-47 fire that left him severely wounded. He dropped to the floor and moved aside in order to allow the Marines behind him to return fire.”

Moments later terrorist inside the room threw a grenade at the Marines. Sgt. Peraldas Wickapedia page describes how “The two Marines with Sgt. Peralta tried to get out of the room, but could not. Sgt. Peralta was still conscious on the floor and reports indicate that, despite his wounds, he was able to reach for the grenade and pull it under his body absorbing the majority of the lethal blast and shrapnel which killed him instantly, but saved the lives of his fellow Marines.”

In a Newsweek article about the event, Cpl. Robert Reynolds explained how Sgt. Peralta collapsed onto the floor in a “pool of blood,” after being shot. “Then Reynolds spotted what is the dread of every infantryman: a grenade bouncing toward the squad. “It was yellow and it came from a room to our side,” he says. Reynolds says he watched Peralta reach out and drag the grenade under his body.”

Pfc Ricardo Peralta was only 14 when his brother died in such a selfless way, but is quoted in the above article as saying, “I knew what I had to do, and that was to enlist in the Marine Corps.”

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While most Americans mourn the death of our brave warriors, Westboro Baptist Church goes so far as the "Thank God for IED's" that kill them.

Take a moment and compare the news brief below with the last article posted on this blog, about the Marine Corps Body Bearers. Westboro Baptist Church,  and its founder, Fred Phelps,  are known for protesting at the funeral of America’s servicemen. This group had the insensitivity to protest at the funeral of St. Joseph Missouri Native, Army Spc. Edward L. Myers, who was killed in Samarra, Iraq when an IED (Improvised Explosive Device) detonated near his Humvee. Imagine the pain and suffering Myer’s family were forced to endure. Not only had they lost their son (who died serving his country) they were also forced to tolerate a group of people holding signs in support of the very ones who killed him.

Marines Corps Body bearers, featured in the last post, treat the mortal remains of deceased service members with the respect and dignity they deserve and one which resonates with the majority of Americans. Westboro Baptist Church, on the other hand, is allowed to dishonor American Heroes, because of freedom of speech. Isn’t there something very wrong about this? What will our young people think if we continue to allow our heroes to be treated in such a way? Is freedom of speech so absolute that it trumps the dignity and sacredness of a last tribute to someone who died for his country? And tramples on the sorrow and pain of his grieving family and friends?

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Washington (CNN) — Missouri’s tight restrictions on protests and picketing outside military funerals were tossed out by a federal judge Monday, over free speech concerns.

A small Kansas church had brought suit over its claimed right to loudly march outside the burials and memorial services of those killed in overseas conflicts. The state legislature had passed a law to keep members of the Topeka-based Westboro Baptist Church from demonstrating within 300 feet of such private services.

To read more click here.

conversation overheard on the VHF Guard (emergency) frequency 121.5 MHz while flying from Europe to Dubai

FA-18 Fighter Jet.

Iranian Air Defense Site: ‘Unknown aircraft you are in Iranian airspace. Identify yourself.’
Aircraft:
‘This is a United States aircraft. I am in Iraqi airspace.’
Air Defense Site:
‘You are in Iranian airspace. If you do not depart our airspace we will launch interceptor aircraft!’
Aircraft:
‘This is a United States Marine Corps FA-18 fighter.  Send ’em up, I’ll wait!’
Air Defense Site:
( …. total silence)

God bless our troops.
There is something about a Marine that makes other countries listen to reason
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After Sgt. Daniel Shaw was killed in Iraq on November 5, 2007 his wake back in West Seneca Falls New York was held on Veterans Day. I happened to be town and could not think of a better way to spend Veterans day than by paying my final respects to a soldier and convey my gratitude to his family.

What most impressed me that day, besides the statue like soldiers that stood guard by the flag drapped coffin, was the conversation I had with Sgt. Raleigh Heekin. He was the officer assigned to escort the body of Sgt. Shaw back to Western NY. I was inspired by his stories of combat and his calm resolve to continue the fight.

Beside the coffin of Sgt. Shaw there was an easel, upon which was drapped his uniform. Sgt. Heekin explained the meaning of the crest on the shoulder of the uniform and the words “Keep up the fire” .

You can find out the meaning of that phrase and the rest of my impressions by clicking here: http://www.tfp.org/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=518&Itemid=101