Thursday, December 8, 2016

Navy Cross review complete

Navy recommends 2 for Medal of Honor;
Navy Cross review complete
By TARA COPP | STARS AND STRIPES
Published: December 6, 2016
WASHINGTON

Two Navy Cross recipients honored for acts of valor in Afghanistan or Iraq instead deserved the Medal of Honor for their actions and are being nominated for an upgrade, the Navy said Tuesday.

The announcement,

first reported by USA Today, is part of a review of all Silver Stars and service crosses awarded since Sept. 11, 2001.

As part of the review, the Navy has also determined that an unspecified number of Silver Stars will be upgraded to Navy Crosses.

The names of the two service members awarded the Navy Crosses, the service’s second-highest medal, have not been made public.

The department-wide medals review was directed by former Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel in 2014

after questions arose about how there appeared to be so few Medal of Honor recipients from more than a decade of combat in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The Navy is the first to announce its findings. The service did not specify whether the Medal of Honor nominees were Marines or sailors.

Rosa Peralta accepts the Navy Cross from Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus on behalf of her son USMC Sgt. Rafael Peralta on Jun 8, 2015 at a ceremony at Camp Pendleton, Calif.

Peralta was 25 when he was killed Nov. 15, 2004, in Fallouja, Iraq.

Marines who were there insist that,

as he lay dying, Peralta reached out and scooped up an enemy grenade, absorbing the blast and saving the lives of fellow Marines.

Many say he deserved the Medal of Honor.

Don Bartletti/Los Angeles Times/TNS

Slain Marine's family accepts Navy Cross after fight for Medal of Honor

Sgt. Rafael Peralta U.S. Marine Corps

Lawmakers say new evidence shows Marine deserves Medal of Honor

To date,

there have been four Medal of Honor recipients for actions in Iraq, all awarded posthumously.

There have been 14 Medal of Honor recipients for actions in Afghanistan.

Earlier this year, the services told Stars and Stripes that a total of 1,357 medals were being reviewed to determine whether they should be upgraded.

The Army is reviewing 785 Silver Star and Distinguished Service Cross awards; the Navy, including the Marines, reviewed 425 Navy Cross and Silver Star medals, and the Air Force is reviewing 147 medals, including 135 Silver Stars and 12 Air Force Crosses. None of the medals under review would be downgraded,

officials said.

Capt. Patrick McNally,

a spokesman for Navy Secretary Ray Mabus, said

the secretary had

“recommended that two Navy Cross recipients be considered for the Medal of Honor.”

Those recommendations would have to be approved by the president

and

the Pentagon might need to get a waiver from Congress

depending on when the act of valor took place, because law stipulates Medals of Honor must be awarded within five years of the action.

McNally also said the Navy has completed its review of potential Silver Stars that will be upgrades to Navy Crosses.

Upgrading an award from Silver Star to a service cross only needs approval from the service secretary.

“Those are complete and will be awarded in individual ceremonies,”

McNally said.

He could not say how many Navy Crosses would be awarded or when it will happen.

Copp.tara@stripes.com

Twitter:@TaraCopp

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