By Debbie Gregory.
Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus is recommending that two service members, either Sailors or Marines, be upgraded to the Medal of Honor following an extensive review of medals awarded since Sept. 11, 2001. The names of the two service members were not made public.
To end his near-record seven-and-a-half year tenure, Mabus has made the recommendations as part of a Defense Department review of all service crosses and Silver Stars awarded to troops to determine if any of them are eligible for upgrade.
Some 1,100 combat awards meet those criteria.
The Pentagon’s official military awards database shows that nine sailors and 38 Marines have received the Navy Cross.
Among those being considered for the upgrade are: Navy Cross recipient Marine Sgt. Rafael Peralta, who posthumously received the award in 2008 for throwing himself on a grenade in Fallujah to save the lives of fellow Marines during a 2004 battle; Navy Cross recipients Cpl. Jonathan Yale and Lance Cpl. Jordan Haerter, who sacrificed their lives to keep a truck loaded with explosives from entering the base they were guarding in Ramadi, Iraq in 2008; and Navy Cross recipient Lance Cpl. Brady Gustafson, who courageously engaged enemy fighters as a turret gunner in Afghanistan in 2008 despite sustaining grievous wounds to his leg.
Chief Petty Officer Nicolas Checque, a member of Naval Special Warfare Development Group, was posthumously awarded the Navy Cross for his actions during a December 2012 raid in Afghanistan to rescue an American doctor, Dilip Joseph, who had been captured by the Taliban. Senior Chief Petty Officer Edward Byers Jr., another member of the team, received the Medal of Honor for his heroism in subduing the Taliban captors and rescuing Joseph.