Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Michael A. Monsoor: Medal of Honor Recipient

Petty Officer Second Class (SEAL) Michael Monsoor (Center)
Michael A. Monsoor was a Petty Officer Second Class (SEAL) of the United States Navy. He was the quintessential warrior with a zest for pushing himself physically and mentally to meet and defeat any challenge placed before him. By all accounts, he was exceptional even for the elite SEALs. He proved that when he laid down his life to save the lives of his fellow SEALs and some Iraq Army soldiers in Ar Ramadi, Iraq on September 29, 2006. Petty Officer Second Class (SEAL) Michael Monsoor was a devout Catholic and it is notable that the day he died in an ultimate act of bravery was also Saint Michael’s Day.

Michael Monsoor was born in Long Beach, California on April 5, 1981 to George and Sally Monsoor. He was raised in Garden Grove, California with his three siblings, James, Sara and Joseph. He was an avid sportsman throughout his school years, despite having a bad case of asthma. He fought through it and strove to better himself physically, and he was successful. He graduated from Garden Grove High School in 1999 and enlisted in the Navy in 2001.

Monsoor graduated from SEAL training in March of 2005 and was deployed to Ar Ramadi, Iraq in April of 2006. He quickly distinguished himself as an astoundingly brave man. He earned himself a silver star when he pulled a wounded man to safety while under heavy enemy fire; he returned fire while he was dragging the man. He also earned a bronze star for “Heroic Achievement from 12 April to 29 September 2006.” He received both medals posthumously.

On September 29, 2006, Petty Officer Second Class (SEAL) Monsoor was on sniper overwatch duty on a rooftop in Ar Ramadi, Iraq with three fellow SEALs and eight Iraqi Army soldiers. The men were keeping watch on the rooftop when a grenade hit Michael in the chest and fell to the ground. He shouted “grenade” to warn his comrades, but Monsoor was the only one of them that was close enough to the exit to escape the blast.

Without removing his eyes from the grenade, Petty Officer Second Class (SEAL) Monsoor dropped to the ground and covered the grenade with his body.  His actions saved the lives of eleven men. Two of the three SEALs he was with were injured, but none severely. One escaped injury altogether. Michael Monsoor died roughly thirty minutes later from the wounds he sustained. He was 25 years old. He is buried in Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery in San Diego, California.

On April 8, 2008, Petty Officer Second Class (SEAL) Michael Monsoor was awarded the Medal of Honor “For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty as automatic weapons gunner for Naval Special Warfare Task Group Arabian Peninsula, in Support of Operation Iraqi Freedom on 29 September 2006.” His parents received the medal for him from President George W. Bush at a ceremony in the White House.


Medal of Honor Recipients; Iraq, retrieved 8/30/09, history.army.mil/html/moh/iraq.html

Petty Officer Second Class (Seal); Michael Anthony Monsoor, retrieved 8/30/09, navy.mil/moh/Monsoor/Bio.html