Arlington, Va. — The grenade hit him in the chest and bounced to the ground. Petty Officer 2nd Class Michael A. Monsoor could have gotten out of harm’s way before it went off, but three other Navy SEALs and eight Iraqi soldiers could not, according to Monsoor’s Navy biography. So Monsoor, 25, dove on the grenade to shield the others from the blast.
Because of his quick thinking, the other SEALs and Iraqi soldiers survived after the grenade exploded, but Monsoor did not. He died 30 minutes later. On Monday, the White House announced that Monsoor would receive the Medal of Honor for his actions on Sept. 29, 2006, in Ramadi, Iraq. His parents, George and Sally Monsoor, will receive the medal on his behalf at an April 8 ceremony at the White House, according to the Navy.
Monsoor embodied the “SEAL ethos,” said the head of Naval Special Warfare Command in San Diego said in a Navy news release.
“He led by example and protected his teammates to the very end,” said Rear Adm. Joseph Kernan in the news release. “But more than that, Mike was a brother in our family. We will honor him every day by upholding the values he shared with us as SEALs.”
During his tour in Iraq, Monsoor served as a heavy weapons machine gunner for his platoon and a SEAL communicator, according to his biography. On 15 operations, he carried his communications gear, machine gun and ammunition, weighing more than 100 pounds. “He bore the weight without a single complaint, even the midst of the 130 degree Western Iraqi summer,” his biography said.
Monsoor had previously been awarded the Silver Star for rescuing another SEAL who had been shot in the leg in May 2006. “He ran out into the street with another SEAL, shot cover fire and dragged his comrade to safety while enemy bullets kicked up the concrete at their feet,” his biography said. Monsoor will become the fourth servicemember — each killed in the line of duty — to receive the nation’s highest military award for the war on terrorism.
By Jeff Schogol, Stars and Stripes
Labels: Heroes, Military, US Navy