13 July 2010

A Promise Fulfilled

Marine Pfc. Ricardo Peralta, 19, center, graduates from infantry school on Friday. He will now report to a battalion in Twentynine Palms. Photo: LA Times.

Marine hero's brother makes good on his promise

By Tony Perry, Los Angeles Times

Reporting from Camp Pendleton-- At his brother's funeral nearly six years ago, Ricardo Peralta made him a promise: He would join the Marine Corps and carry on in his example.

On Friday, Peralta, now 19, fulfilled that promise as he graduated from the school of infantry.

He will now report to a battalion in Twentynine Palms, Calif., and, like his brother, probably deploy to a war zone as an infantry "grunt."

"I have big shoes to fill," Peralta, a Marine private first class, said quietly.

His brother, Sgt. Rafael Peralta, was killed at age 25 during the battle for Fallouja, Iraq, in November 2004. He is revered by the Marine Corps as one of the true heroes of the long battle in Iraq.

His story is told to every recruit at boot camp in San Diego — how he saved the lives of fellow Marines by smothering an enemy grenade with his body. Marine brass, famously stingy in recommending battle citations, nominated him for the Medal of Honor.

After his brother's death, Ricardo Peralta attended the 10-day Devil Pups program at Camp Pendleton. He enlisted just days after graduating from high school -- over his mother's objections.

"I'm very proud of being a Marine, but sometimes I don't think I deserve this," he said, pointing to his name tag. "My brother is such a part of Marine history. I'm just hoping that I can live up to him."

The entire story can be found here, and you can read more about Sgt Rafael Peralta at Blackfive.

Semper Fi and congratulations, Pfc Peralta!

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