Michael Monsoor

Michael A. Monsoor—December 2006 Shipment Honoree

DDG 1001 named for MoH recipient Monsoor

Source: Navy Times  October 31, 2008
By Christopher P. Cavas and Philip Ewing – Staff writers
Posted : Friday Oct 31, 2008 7:30:41 EDT

One of the Navy’s largest new surface warships will bear the name of a Navy SEAL who received the nation’s highest award for valor.

“DDG 1001, the second ship in our newest class of destroyers, will be named after Michael Monsoor,” Navy Secretary Donald Winter said remarks prepared for an address to be given Wednesday night in New York.

“Michael Monsoor’s name will now be linked with one of our nation’s most visible examples of military power — a U.S. Navy warship,” Winter said in the address prepared for a Navy SEAL Warrior Fund dinner.

The Michael Monsoor will be the second DDG 1000 Zumwalt-class advanced destroyer. Northrop Grumman Shipbuilding is expected to begin construction of the ship next year at its Ingalls shipyard in Pascagoula, Miss., with delivery projected to take place in 2014.

Master-at-Arms 2nd Class (SEAL) Michael Monsoor is one of two sailors awarded the Medal of Honor since the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan began. The first, Lt. Michael Murphy, is the namesake of DDG 112, now under construction at General Dynamics Bath Iron Works of Bath, Maine, and is expected to be delivered in 2011.

Monsoor was one of about 32s SEALs fighting with U.S. Army, Marine Corps and Iraqi troops to take the insurgent-controlled city of Ramadi in September 2006, Dick Couch, author of “The Sheriff of Ramadi,” told Navy Times earlier this year. Rather than make a traditional invasion sweep through the dangerous capital of Anbar province, as U.S. forces had done in the battle of Fallujah, regular and special operations troops advanced piecemeal through neighborhoods in the city, cleared out enemies and held the territory in an “ink-blot strategy,” Couch said.

Monsoor and his SEAL teammates provided reconnaissance and cover for other troops as they fought in the city, and often bore the brunt of intense enemy attacks, Couch said.

On Sept. 29, the day he died, Monsoor was stationed with his machine gun on a rooftop between two SEAL snipers providing cover for an Army unit working in a rail yard. The two men were lying prone, aiming their rifles through holes blasted in the wall, when a grenade sailed onto the rooftop and bounced off Monsoor’s chest.

According to the official Navy biography, there was no way either of the teammates could have escaped.

“He had a clear chance to escape, but in his mind, it was not a choice at all,” President Bush said in April when presenting the medal to Monsoor’s family.

Monsoor dove on the grenade and smothered its explosion, saving the lives of the two SEALs.

Monsoor is the first SEAL to receive the Medal of Honor for service in Iraq. Murphy was posthumously given the award last year after he was killed in Afghanistan making a last radio call to save his four-man squad after an ambush. Monsoor is the fifth service member to receive the Medal of Honor for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Monsoor’s other decorations included the Silver Star, the Bronze Star with combat “V” and the Purple Heart.

Sally Monsoor, Michael’s mother, was expected to attend the New York dinner.

Navy SEAL Dies Saving Comrades

Source:  Associated Press, October 14, 2006

Michael MonsoorCORONADO, Calif. – A Navy SEAL sacrificed his life to save his comrades by throwing himself on top of a grenade Iraqi insurgents tossed into their sniper hideout, fellow members of the elite force said.

Petty Officer 2nd Class Michael A. Monsoor had been near the only door to the rooftop structure Sept. 29 when the grenade hit him in the chest and bounced to the floor, said four SEALs who spoke to The Associated Press this week on condition of anonymity because their work requires their identities to remain secret.

“He never took his eye off the grenade, his only movement was down toward it,” said a 28-year-old lieutenant who sustained shrapnel wounds to both legs that day. “He undoubtedly saved mine and the other SEALs’ lives, and we owe him.”

Monsoor, a 25-year-old gunner, was killed in the explosion in Ramadi, west of Baghdad. He was only the second SEAL to die in Iraq since the war began.

Two SEALs next to Monsoor were injured; another who was 10 to 15 feet from the blast was unhurt. The four had been working with Iraqi soldiers providing sniper security while U.S. and Iraqi forces conducted missions in the area.

In an interview at the SEALs’ West Coast headquarters in Coronado, four members of the special force remembered “Mikey” as a loyal friend and a quiet, dedicated professional.

“He was just a fun-loving guy,” said a 26-year-old Petty Officer 2nd Class who went through the grueling 29-week SEAL training with Monsoor. “Always got something funny to say, always got a little mischievous look on his face.”

Other SEALS described the Garden Grove, Calif., native as a modest and humble man who drew strength from his family and his faith. His father and brother are former Marines, said a 31-year-old Petty Officer 2nd Class.

Prior to his death, Monsoor had already demonstrated courage under fire. He has been posthumously awarded the Silver Star for his actions May 9 in Ramadi, when he and another SEAL pulled a team member shot in the leg to safety while bullets pinged off the ground around them.

Monsoor’s funeral was held Thursday at Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery in San Diego. He has also been submitted for an award for his actions the day he died.

The first Navy SEAL to die in Iraq was Petty Officer 2nd Class Marc A. Lee, 28, who was killed Aug. 2 in a firefight while on patrol against insurgents in Ramadi. Navy spokesman Lt. Taylor Clark said the low number of deaths among SEALs in Iraq is a testament to their training.

Sixteen SEALs have been killed in Afghanistan. Eleven of them died in June 2005 when a helicopter was shot down near the Pakistan border while ferrying reinforcements for troops pursuing al-Qaida militants.

There are about 2,300 of the elite fighters, based in Coronado and Little Creek, Va.

The Navy is trying to boost that number by 500—a challenge considering more than 75 percent of candidates drop out of training, notorious for “Hell Week,” a five-day stint of continual drills by the ocean broken by only four hours sleep total. Monsoor made it through training on his second attempt.

Petty Officer 2nd Class Michael A. Monsoor, 25, Garden Grove, California; Navy SEAL Killed in Combat in Ramadi

Source:  By David Reyes, LA Times, October 8, 2006

Navy SEAL Michael A. Monsoor told his family in Garden Grove before he went to Iraq that he knew the dangers of war but he believed in himself and others on his SEAL team, who were like brothers to him.

“He knew what he believed in and would stand by what he believed in. Of this, he couldn’t be corrupted,” said Monsoor’s younger brother, Joe.

Petty Officer 2nd Class Michael Monsoor, 25, was killed in combat Sept. 29 in Ramadi, Iraq, west of Baghdad. Not much is known of the circumstances surrounding his death, family members said.

Last week, family members spoke of his life and military duty, including his dedication to becoming a SEAL, a goal he achieved after initially dropping out of the training course.

He was expected to return in another week to see his family and watch his 21-year-old brother play in an upcoming football game at North Dakota’s Minot State University, where he is a junior and tight end.

Although they chatted on the telephone, the last time the brothers saw one another was during spring break. That was when they drove cross-country to the university and Michael spoke about the discipline it took to overcome pain during his first SEAL training, which he had to quit.

“Michael had a broken heel and he still had to pass more physical tests,” his brother said. “He was running hard in sand and the pain mounted, but he told himself, ‘Don’t pass out, I can’t pass out.’ But he couldn’t continue.

“He rang the bell,” his brother said, a signal that a trainee has quit the program.

Michael Monsoor stayed in the Navy and waited for another chance. He was assigned to Europe for two years, and when his mother, Sally, visited him in Italy, she said she found him focused, “working out, swimming and running,” so he could reenter the SEAL program.

For Monsoor, it was his chance to join one of the nation’s elite forces, she said, adding that when he finally graduated, it was her son’s and the family’s proudest moment.

The 25-week Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL training in Coronado, Calif., is one of the most grueling training programs in the military, and the dropout rate exceeds 50%.

As one of the U.S. military’s most elite and secretive fighting units, the SEALs almost never reveal their missions to the public, even long after completion.

In August, when the Pentagon announced the death of Petty Officer 2nd Class Marc Alan Lee, who was the first SEAL to die in the Iraq war, it was the first recognition that the SEALS are involved in the battle to wrest Ramadi from insurgent control.

The loss has shaken the proud Marine family—Michael’s father, George Monsoor, and older brother, Jim, 27, are both former Marines—which has sought solace in knowing that Michael did not die in vain.

Relatives, neighbors and friends have visited the family’s home and left flowers. Neighbors tacked yellow ribbons that read “Support our Troops” on trees and sign posts in recognition of Monsoor.

“He was friendly and would wave whenever he did the lawn outside,” said neighbor Patricia Stanton. “He was nice, very sweet and I know he was dedicated to the service.”

Monsoor enlisted in the Navy in March 2001 and graduated from SEAL training in March 2005, said Lt. Taylor Clark, a Navy spokesman.

Rear Adm. Joe Maguire, a SEAL and commander of the Naval Special Warfare Command, issued a statement praising Monsoor, who died “conducting some of our military’s most important missions.”

“We hope that in time Michael’s family is comforted in knowing that he died fighting for what he believed in and we will not forget his sacrifice,” Maguire said.

Monsoor attended Garden Grove High School, where he played on the Argonaut football team as a tight end and graduated in 1999.

Michael Monsoor

Michael Monsoor shipment

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