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Great Gear for Marines and Families
Sgt. Peralta MOH Update
MOH Petition Fails
PHHS-E Celebrates Christmas at Walter Reed
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January 8, 2014

Happy New Year!

If this is the first edition of the Marine Parents newsletter you have received, WELCOME! If you are a returning reader we are glad you have joined us and are thankful for your support. 

Last month, we informed you of the efforts of Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-Calif.) to get Sgt. Rafael Peralta's Navy Cross upgraded to the Medal of Honor. Our first article provides an update on his mission.

During a 2008 attack on a joint American and Iraqi checkpoint in Ramadi, Iraq, two young Marines stepped into the path of a truck driven by a suicide bomber and sacrificed their lives to save those of their comrades. A recent petition to get their Navy Crosses upgraded to Medals of Honor failed due to not obtaining enough signatures. Read more about it in our second piece.

Last month, our PHHS-East volunteers went to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center to celebrate Christmas with our Wounded Heroes. PHHS-East manager Susan Kristol provides a recap in our third piece.

Finally, we end with a few "quick read" articles. To learn more about the book on leadership being written by former Marine Commandant Gen. James Mattis, why the Semper Fi Bowl has been cancelled, a former Marine who was named Reno, Nevada's Citizen of the Year, or to look at the latest military pay charts, please read our fourth and final piece.

God bless and Semper Fi!


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Tracy Della Vecchia

Founder and Executive Director, Inc.
Sgt. Peralta Medal of Honor Update
New Testimony May Result in Award Upgrade for Fallen Marine

Thanks to the efforts of Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-Calif.) Sgt. Rafael Peralta, shown here in an undated Marine Corps photo, may become the newest Medal of Honor recipient.
Last month, in our December 11 newsletter, we ran a piece about the efforts of Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-Calif.) to get Sgt. Rafael Peralta's Navy Cross, awarded for actions in Fallujah, Iraq in 2004, upgraded to the Medal of Honor. Hunter has been advocating on Peralta's behalf since 2012 and in December received a call from Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel saying that he (Hagel) was taking a "serious" look at the petition. Now, thanks to new eyewitness testimony, Hunter may be one step closer to success.

Reports from the Marines who were with Sgt. Peralta state that despite being severely wounded, Peralta reached out and pulled the grenade to his body, absorbed the blast and shrapnel, and instantly lost his life, allowing the Marines on his team to survive. However, despite the Marine Corps' recommendation at the time that Sgt. Peralta be awarded the Medal of Honor, then-Secretary of Defense Robert Gates questioned whether Peralta had acted consciously to absorb the blast, as he had also received a ricocheting rifle round to the head.

Now, in new witness statements sent from Hunter to Hagel last week, a former Navy corpsman and a former Marine amphibious assault vehicle section leader both have both written that what they observed that day is in line with the claims by Peralta's fellow Marines that he knowingly sacrificed his life for those of his brothers.

In his statement, the then-corpsman wrote that, "Upon inspection of Sergeant Peralta, I noticed that his torso had several shrapnel wounds, which appear to be consistent with the claim that he had reached for the grenade and pulled it under his body before it went off," while the then-section leader wrote that Peralta's flak jacket "looked like a mangled mess of fibers...The front ballistic plate was riddled with holes and [was] barely being held in place with fibers of the garment. The back of the jacket seemed to be untouched by any damage."

Click here to read more... 
Medal of Honor Petition Falls Shor Petition Unable to Obtain Required Signatures

A petition posted on the White House website asking President Obama to award two fallen Marines with the Medal of Honor has expired due to its failure to reach the required 100,000 signatures in 30 days.

LCpl. Jordan Haerter, right, and Cpl. Jonathan Yale, left, posthumously received the Navy Cross medal at a ceremony February 20, 2009 at the National Museum of the Marine Corps near Quantico, Va.
On April 22, 2008, two Marine riflemen, Cpl. Jonathan Yale and LCpl. Jordan Haerter, were manning a security checkpoint in Ramadi, Iraq when a suicide bomber driving a tanker truck filled with explosives began to speed toward the gate they were guarding. As the Iraqi policemen who were on guard duty with them fled, the two Marines ran into the truck's path and opened fire, prompting the driver to slow down and detonate the approximately 2,000 lbs of explosives in the truck. The two Marines were killed in the explosion but by preventing the driver from reaching the gate, they saved the lives of more than 50 people.  
PHHS-East Celebrates Christmas With Wounded Heroes
Volunteers Spread Holiday Cheer at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center  
Last month, to celebrate Christmas, our PHHS-East volunteers went to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center to spread some holiday cheer to Wounded Heroes and their families. Here's a recap of the day from PHHS-East manager Susan Kristol:

"The gifts for the baby and kids and all the other items you (Marine Parents) sent were a big hit tonight at Walter Reed Bethesda. We still have things to give away in January, but anything Christmas-related went right away.

When we were setting up, a wounded Army patient wheeled out of his room and was looking things over. "Do you want a Christmas tree for your room," I asked, "we have two white and one pink, but I'm pretty sure you don't want the pink one." To my surprise, he told me, "my wife is flying in tomorrow from California and she would love the pink tree," So he immediately took it and set it up on his window sill. "It will need fluffing out" I told him. "I'll do some manly things to it," he replied before asking me to look it over to make sure it was properly fluffed."

Quick Reads
Mattis Writing Book, Semper Fi Bowl Canceled, Marine Veteran Named Citizen of Year, Latest Pay Charts  
  • Former Commandant Gen. James Mattis (USMC  Photo)
    Retired General James "Chaos" Mattis has recently announced that he will be collaborating on a book with military author, retired Marine, and former Assistant Secretary of Defense Bing West. The book will be on the topics of leadership and strategy and will provide future generations of warriors with lessons and insight garnered over the more than four decade career of the Marine Corps icon. 
    Click here to

  • Due to military-wide budget cuts, this past Sunday, January 5, saw the last-ever edition of the Semper Fidelis All-American Bowl take place in San Diego, California. The
    A Marine Corps Drill Instructor speaks to players participating in the Semper Fi Bowl (Govt. Photo) 
    Semper Fi bowl was launched in 2011 as a showcase for high school football players from around the country who bring more to the field than just athletic ability, with personal character, academic performance, and leadership also factoring into the selection process.  In addition to the game itself, this week long event also allowed Marine recruiters, drill instructors and senior leaders to interact with the players, their families, and other important figures in the athletes' lives.
    Click here to learn more...                                  

  • When a 12-year-old student opened fire at Sparks Middle School in Reno, Nevada, former Marine Michael Landsberry ran toward the danger (Photo courtesy of Nevada Air National Guard) 
    Michael Landsberry, a Marine veteran, member of the Nevada Air National Guard, and teacher who tragically lost his life in a Nevada school-shooting last year has been posthumously honored as the Reno  (Nevada) Gazette-Journal's Citizen of the Year for 2013. Landsberry, a math teacher at Sparks Middle School, was shot in the chest on October 21, 2013, after stepping in front of the gunman, a 12 year old student, allowing other students time to flee. Click here to read more...                   

  • To view the latest pay charts from Military Times, please click here... 


We hope this week's edition of our email newsletter has been useful for you and your family. If there are topics you would like us to address, or if you have other suggestions for the newsletter, please contact us.  


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Anderson Air Base, Yigo, Guam - F/A-18C Hornets fly from Andersen Air Base, Guam, during exercise Forger Fury II, 5 December, 2013. Exercise Forger Fury II improves the aviation combat readiness of Marine Aircraft Group 12 and 1st Marine Aircraft Wing and simulates operations in a deployed environment. The Hornets are with Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 232, MAG-11, 3rd MAW, currently assigned to MAG-12, 1st MAW under the unit deployment program. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Richard Currier/Released), Inc., is a 501(c)(3) public charity., Inc., was founded in January 2003 in response to parents' needs to find information and to have "a place to connect and share" with one another during their Marine's career. Our free online services and connections have expanded to support and educate Marine moms and dads, spouses, families and friends. We've helped 400,000 Marine and recruit families during boot camp, training, active duty and deployments. We've shipped more than 34,000 care packages overseas to our Marines in Iraq and Afghanistan, sent 60,000 prayers and letters to injured Marines and served thousands of meals to wounded heroes and their families on the East and West coasts. You've found "a place to connect and share."