Hagel declines to reopen Medal of Honor case

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WASHINGTON (AP) — Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel says he will not reopen a Medal of Honor nomination for Marine Sgt. Rafael Peralta, killed in the Iraq war in 2004.

Members of Congress had asked Hagel to reopen the matter, but a Pentagon statement on Friday evening said that after familiarizing himself with the history of the case, Hagel decided the evidence does not meet the standard of proof required for a Medal of Honor.

The Marine Corps nominated Peralta for the award posthumously, and it was approved by the Navy Department. But it was turned down by then-Defense Secretary Robert Gates in 2008. He said the evidence was inconclusive.

Peralta was awarded the Navy Cross.

Gates' successor, Leon Panetta, affirmed Gates' decision in December 2012 after reviewing further evidence.

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