Skip to comments.Michael Anthony Monsoor Story
Posted on 04/24/2008 4:48:24 PM PDT by stfassisi
11April2008: Recently at the White House, President George W. Bush awarded posthumously the Congressional Medal of Honor to Michael Anthony Monsoor, a devout Catholic and American patriot of Christian Arab descent.
He was the third of four children born to George and Sally Monsoor. Both his father and his brother served as Marines, and his Grandfather served in the Navy. As an avid military history buff, specifically World War II and the Vietnam War, Michael eventually earned the title Navy SEAL.
Michael was known by family and friends as a protector and defender, a quality well suited for the Navy SEAL he was.
Born in Long Beach, CA, his family moved to Garden Grove. In high school, he was neither an A student nor a star athlete. What set him apart, what former teachers remember most, was his resolve- he studied hard to earn his grades, and treated teachers and students alike with courtesy and respect. Michael's ethics and leadership inspired others to meet and often exceed their own expectations. He typically had a profoundly positive influence on those around him.
His firm resolved served him well when training as a Navy Special Warfare SEAL (SEa, Air, Land). His first attempt was thwarted when a broken heel caused him to withdraw. Undeterred, he tried again and succeeded in 2004, this time graduating at the top of his class.
Stationed in Ramadi, Michael typically carried gear weighing one hundred pounds in 110+ degree scorching heat. Within two months of arriving in Iraq, he was saving lives and dragging a fellow wounded SEAL to safety while under enemy fire. Monsoor participated in eleven combat operations, and attended Mass before each. His bravery and life-saving efforts underfire earned him the nations highest awards: the Bronze Star, Silver Star, Purple Heart and Congressional Medal of Honor. Fr. Paul Halladay, a chaplain stationed in Ramadi at the time, remembers Michael as "a man with a depth of courage and spirituality." Present with Michael as he died, Chaplain Halladay knows Michael's faith motivated his military service and ultimate sacrifice.
"When it came down to laying down his life for his friends, his faith life allowed him to be able to do that without a moment's hesitation," the chaplain said.
The US Navy reports his summary of action as follows:
Petty Officer Second Class (SEAL) Michael A. Monsoor For actions on Sept. 29, 2006
Petty Officer Michael A. Monsoor, United States Navy, distinguished himself through conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty as a Combat Advisor and Automatic Weapons Gunner for Naval Special Warfare Task Group Arabian Peninsula in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom on 29 September 2006. He displayed great personal courage and exceptional bravery while conducting operations in enemy held territory at Ar Ramadi Iraq. During Operation Kentucky Jumper, a combined Coalition battalion clearance and isolation operation in southern Ar Ramadi, he served as automatic weapons gunner in a combined SEAL and Iraqi Army (IA) sniper overwatch element positioned on a residential rooftop in a violent sector and historical stronghold for insurgents. In the morning, his team observed four enemy fighters armed with AK-47s reconnoitering from roads in the sector to conduct follow-on attacks. SEAL snipers from his roof engaged two of them which resulted in one enemy wounded in action and one enemy killed in action. A mutually supporting SEAL/IA position also killed an enemy fighter during the morning hours. After the engagements, the local populace blocked off the roads in the area with rocks to keep civilians away and to warn insurgents of the presence of his Coalition sniper element. Additionally, a nearby mosque called insurgents to arms to fight Coalition Forces. In the early afternoon, enemy fighters attacked his position with automatic weapons fire from a moving vehicle. The SEALs fired back and stood their ground. Shortly thereafter, an enemy fighter shot a rocket-propelled grenade at his building. Though well-acquainted with enemy tactics in Ar Ramadi, and keenly aware that the enemy would continue to attack, the SEALs remained on the battlefield in order to carry out the mission of guarding the western flank of the main effort. Due to expected enemy action, the officer in charge repositioned him with his automatic heavy machine gun in the direction of the enemys most likely avenue of approach. He placed him in a small, confined sniper hide-sight between two SEAL snipers on an outcropping of the roof, which allowed the three SEALs maximum coverage of the area. He was located closest to the egress route out of the sniper hide-sight watching for enemy activity through a tactical periscope over the parapet wall. While vigilantly watching for enemy activity, an enemy fighter hurled a hand grenade onto the roof from an unseen location. The grenade hit him in the chest and bounced onto the deck. He immediately leapt to his feet and yelled grenade to alert his teammates of impending danger, but they could not evacuate the sniper hide-sight in time to escape harm. Without hesitation and showing no regard for his own life, he threw himself onto the grenade, smothering it to protect his teammates who were lying in close proximity. The grenade detonated as he came down on top of it, mortally wounding him.
Petty Officer Monsoors actions could not have been more selfless or clearly intentional. Of the three SEALs on that rooftop corner, he had the only avenue of escape away from the blast, and if he had so chosen, he could have easily escaped. Instead, Monsoor chose to protect his comrades by the sacrifice of his own life. By his courageous and selfless actions, he saved the lives of his two fellow SEALs and he is the most deserving of the special recognition afforded by awarding the Medal of Honor.
Michael Anthony Mosoor was laid down his life September 29th, 2006, on the feast day of St. Michael and the Archangels:
St. Michael the Archangel, defend us in battle! Be our protection against the wickedness and snares of the devil. May God rebuke him, we humbly pray And do thou, O Prince of the heavenly Host, by the power of God Cast into hell satan and all evil spirits who prowl throughout the world seeking the ruin of souls. Amen.
He was a magnificent human being.
May he rest in peace. Amen!
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