Medal of Honor
MSNBC: “….Navy SEAL Michael A. Monsoor had fast thinking to do when a live grenade came out of nowhere to bounce off his chest: Take the clear path to safety that he had but his comrades didn’t, try to toss it safely away, or throw himself on top of it. With barely an instant’s hesitation on that Iraqi rooftop, Monsoor took the last course, sacrificing his life to save the men around him. For that, President Bush on Tuesday awarded him the Medal of Honor.
“In an East Room ceremony, Bush presented the nation’s highest military honor to Monsoor’s still-grieving parents, Sally and George Monsoor. About 250 guests, including his sister and two brothers, fellow SEALS, other Medal of Honor winners, many friends and GOP Sen. John McCain and other members of Congress, looked on quietly.
“‘The Medal of Honor is awarded for an act of such courage that no one could rightly be expected to undertake it,’ Bush said. ‘Yet those who knew Michael Monsoor were not surprised when he did.’ …Monsoor is only the third [Medal of Honor recipient] from the Iraq war, and Bush’s lip trembled and tears streamed down his cheeks as the official citation was read with the details of his bravery. The emotional proceedings at the White House came as the top U.S. general and diplomat in Iraq opened two days of testimony across town on Capitol Hill on the status of the war, which has killed more than 4,020 U.S. military personnel…
“…on Sept. 29, 2006, Monsoor and his two American teammates, plus members of the Iraqi Army, were on a rooftop in a Ramadi residential area known as a stronghold for the Sunni insurgency. They were providing early warning and sniper cover for a mission aimed at trying to clear the neighborhood. After a long day of back-and-forth engagement and evidence that the enemy was closing them off, Monsoor and the two other SEALS moved to a confined outcropping of the roof for a better lookout position. An unseen insurgent lobbed a grenade, which hit Monsoor in the chest and landed on the floor in front of him. He yelled a warning, but quickly saw that his fellow SEALS, not positioned near the exit like he was, wouldn’t be able to get clear in time. Monsoor fell onto the grenade just as it exploded, absorbing the blast with his body and dying from the injuries about 30 minutes later. Others suffered shrapnel wounds, but no one else was killed. The Garden Grove, Calif., native, was 25 years old. ‘Mr. and Mrs. Monsoor: America owes you a debt that can never be repaid,’ Bush said. ‘This nation will always cherish the memory of your son.'”
Quotes from the press release:
“He earned their confidence with his attention to detail and quiet work ethic. One of Mike’s officers remembers an instructor once asking after an intense training session, ‘What’s the deal with the Monsoor guy? He just says, “Roger that,” to everything.’ “
“Perhaps the greatest tribute to Mike’s life is the way different service members all across the world responded to his death. Army soldiers in Ramadi hosted a memorial service for the valiant man who had fought beside them. Iraqi Army scouts — whom Mike helped train — lowered their flag, and sent it to his parents. Nearly every SEAL on the West Coast turned out for Mike’s funeral in California. As the SEALs filed past the casket, they removed their golden tridents from their uniforms, pressed them onto the walls of the coffin. The procession went on nearly half an hour. And when it was all over, the simple wooden coffin had become a gold-plated memorial to a hero who will never be forgotten.”
White House press release video (approx. 14 mins)
Navy Website Link: This website gives a full summary of MA2 Monsoor’s actions, his biography, complete citation of his award, and some photos from his military service.
Thank you to MA2 Monsoor and his family for their sacrifice for a grateful nation, as well as for all those who just complain.