Chula Vista city council proclaims Tuesday as ‘Sergeant Rafael Peralta Day’
CHULA VISTA (KUSI) – The Chula Vista city council proclaimed Tuesday as “Sergeant Rafael Peralta Day” and held a special ceremony to commemorate the local hero.
Peralta was stationed in Fallouja in November of 2004. He was among the Marines ordered to clear out houses of heavily armed and barricaded insurgents.
Peralta was the first Marine to enter the house when he was mortally wounded by suspected friendly fire.
Marines who witnessed the incident insist that Peralta reached out and scooped up an enemy grenade, absorbing the blast and saving the lives of his fellow Marines as he lay dying.
Peralta, an immigrant from Mexico, enlisted on the day he received his green card. From Iraq, he wrote letters to his younger brother, Ricardo, urging him to have pride in their adopted country.
He is buried at Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery, where his grave is kept fresh with flowers left by family members and Marines.
In his mother’s Chula Vista home, there are mementos of his service, photos and some of his clothing.
There is also a framed illustration of the Navy Destroyer that will bear his name, the USS Peralta is being built in a shipyard in Maine.