Archived: Secretary of the Navy: Insensitive or Just Dumb?


The late Texas Governor Ann Richards belted out one of the better political lines in her attempt to denigrate U.S. President George Herbert Walker Bush when she said he just couldn’t help himself because “He was born with a silver foot in his mouth.” Ha! Ha!

What would she say now that President Obama’s Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus has stuck an entire U.S. Navy ship into his befuddled mouth in an effort to please his boss, President Barack Obama and Democratic women?

The Navy is naming a Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) for recently retired Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords who has survived a lunatic’s attempt to kill her a year ago, shooting her in the head in Tucson, Arizona.

Giffords has amazed the medical world with her recovery as few expected her to live. Others present died. Nonetheless, considering that Giffords never served in the military, many an eyebrow was raised when Secretary Mabus announced the naming of the USS Gabrielle Giffords.

Objections ranged from the fact that ships of this class were usually named for cities, and not normally for living people or politicians other than a president, and none had ever been named for a woman. For example, the Navy has named a new aircraft carrier for President George H.W. Bush, the very Bush Governor Richards demeaned. He, of course, is still alive.

In 2011, Secretary Mabus named a Navy cargo ship for Mexican American agricultural labor leader and union founder, Cesar Chavez, a Navy veteran in a brazen political effort to gain Mexican American political support for his president.
There were some objections at the time, but not because of Chavez, but because Mabus had ignored a real Mexican American Iraq War hero.

Staff Sergeant Rafael Peralta had recently been insulted by a civilian Pentagon Committee that nixed his awarding of a Medal of Honor as recommended by the United States Marine Corps Commandant. The Committee claimed that it was possible SSgt. Peralta was clinically dead when he threw himself on a live grenade during the Battle of Fallujah in Iraq. To make up for this insult, they instead awarded SSgt Peralta the Navy Cross, the country’s second highest military award. His family in San Diego and its neighboring city, Tijuana, Mexico, was crushed.

So was San Diego area U.S. Congressman Duncan Hunter, himself an Iraq War Marine veteran. Hunter started a campaign to reverse the decision and to award Peralta the medal he was entitled to: The lives of five of his fellow Marines were saved by Peralta’s actions.

Peralta’s story
He was born in Tijuana, Mexico. He applied for a student visa to attend San Diego high schools (granted) and lived with his aunt (a legal immigrant) in San Diego. He fell in love with the USA and the Marines, influenced as he was by meeting some. In his last year in high school he applied for a Permanent Resident Card (Green Card), sponsored by his aunt. The very day it was granted, on his 18th birthday, he enlisted in the Marines. He was among the Marines who invaded Iraq in 2003.

Sgt. Peralta and his squad were fighting house-to-house in the war’s fiercest battle, the 2nd Battle of Fallujah, when they found themselves in a small house under fire from all sides. Through a shot-out window came a live sputtering grenade. Peralta, already mortally wounded, threw himself on the grenade and saved the lives of five of his fellow Marines.

With five live witnesses swearing to Peralta’s act of valor, the recommendation for the country’s highest military honor, the Medal of Honor, worked its way up through the Marine Corps to the Commandant who personally recommended awarding the Medal. A civilian committee, however, disagreed that Peralta’s act was conscious and voluntary, despite five witnesses.

Many in San Diego, the Marines, family and Mexican Americans were enraged at the insult. I was one. I wrote an Op-Ed about the disappointing drama and was rewarded with pushback when an idiotic anti-Mexican in Idaho wrote the newspaper that had published my article stating that this country should not allow illegal aliens like Peralta into the military because they are illegal. Peralta, of course, was legal. But to racists and Mexican haters, all illegals are Mexican, therefore all Mexicans are illegal.

Thanks to President George W. Bush, Peralta was posthumously made a U.S. Citizen. There’s more: In the wake of the huge backlash for naming a Navy combat ship for a recovering Gabrielle Giffords, Navy Secretary Mabus announced this week that an LCS ship named for Staff Sergeant Rafael Peralta would soon sail, with thanks going to Rep. Hunter (R-CA) and a huge Semper Fi:

The U.S.S. Rafael Peralta…has a nice ring to it, doesn’t it?

Contreras has authored 12 books, now available at

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