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Navy destroyers named after Hawaii heroes

By Star-Advertiser staff

POSTED:
LAST UPDATED: 10:17 a.m. HST, Feb 15, 2012


Two of the Navy’s newest Arleigh Burke class guided missile destroyers will bear the name of a Pearl Harbor Medal of Honor recipient and a Kaneohe Marine who was killed in Iraq in 2004 when he used his body to save members of his unit.

The Navy announced today that two destroyers will be named after John Finn and Marine Staff Sgt. Rafael Peralta,

Finn, who retired as a lieutenant, received the Medal of Honor from Adm. Chester Nimitz for displaying "magnificent courage in the face of almost certain death" during the 1941 Japanese attack on military installations in Hawaii during Pearl Harbor.

Peralta was posthumously awarded the Navy Cross for covering a grenade with his body to save his fellow Marines from the blast in the Battle of Fallujah in Iraq on Nov. 15, 2004. Fellow Marines said they saw the short and stocky Marine nicknamed "Rafa" pull an enemy grenade to his body after he had been wounded in an Iraqi house. Peralta was killed. The 25-year-old Peralta was with the 1st Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment, out of Kaneohe Bay.

The Navy said three Arleigh Burke class guided-missile destroyers will be named the USS John Finn, the USS Ralph Johnson, and the USS Rafael Peralta, and two littoral combat ships (LCS), the USS Sioux City and the USS Omaha.

Marine Private 1st Class Ralph Henry Johnson was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor for shouting a warning to his fellow Marines and hurling himself on an explosive device, saving the life of one Marine and preventing the enemy from penetrating his sector of the patrol's perimeter during the Vietnam War.






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