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Navy destroyers named after Hawaii heroes

By Star-Advertiser staff

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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Gibsons1girl wrote:
What an amazing honor! A big mahalo to everyone in the armed forces for keeping our country safe!
on February 15,2012 | 08:49AM
frontman wrote:
Scared me for a moment..thought it was named after BHO a real Hawaii hero. NOT
on February 15,2012 | 12:10PM
Kaimiloa wrote:
You dishonor the valor of these Marines when you use them to make a sarcastic political remark.
on February 15,2012 | 04:01PM
H50FOREVER wrote:
Such brave men! It is delightful to see them remembered in this way.
on February 15,2012 | 09:08AM
kainalu wrote:
Mahalo! A great "feel good" report! A pleasure to be informed.
on February 15,2012 | 09:33AM
Bothrops wrote:
They still owe Peralta the Medal of Honor but this isn't too shabby in the meantime. All three were just doing what Marines do for their country and for their fellow Marines, bless their thick heads and big hearts.
on February 15,2012 | 11:08AM
ejkorvette wrote:
Always Faithful. A Lesson is Selfless Sacrifice, one that Many Many Americans can learn from and start to pratice Immediately!! Siemper Fidelis, Warrior Spirits. May you find the Peace In Heaven, that was not Present on Earth. Bless your Families. I Love you.
on February 15,2012 | 03:50PM
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