The MSM has been very low key about this one (natch), but we in the blogosphere don’t have to abide by MSM constraints. I therefore wanted to make sure all of you knew the story of Michael Monsoor, the first Naval hero to be awarded a Medal of Honor in the Iraq War. As you know, the Medal of Honor is the highest award America offers for combat bravery. Sadly, as here, it’s often an award given posthumously. Here is the pivotal event that earned Monsoor the award:
On Sept. 29, the platoon engaged four insurgents in a firefight. Anticipating further attacks, Monsoor and other SEALs had taken up a rooftop position. Civilians aiding the insurgents blocked off the streets, and a nearby mosque blared out a message for people to rise up against the Americans and the Iraqi soldiers.
Monsoor’s duty was to protect three SEAL snipers, two of whom were 15 feet away. His position made him the only SEAL on the rooftop with quick access to an escape route.
But when the grenade hit him and fell onto the roof, he “chose to protect his comrades by the sacrifice of his own life,” according to a Navy report.
The two SEAL snipers nearest to Monsoor were injured in the blast. Monsoor was immediately evacuated for medical care, but it was too late.
Monsoor’s is not the first story I’ve heard of a person throwing himself into certain death to save others. As I’ve recounted before on this blog, when my Dad was in training in the Israeli Army during the 1948 War of Independence, he attended a briefing about grenades. He and about a dozen other people stood in the hot desert sun as the instructor explained to them the finer points of grenade use. (I suspect this was a review for my Dad, who had served 5 years in North Africa in the RAF.) In his hand, the instructor had a glass jar filled with grenade detonators. As he spoke, he shifted the jar back and forth, from hand to hand. My Dad found himself mesmerized by the motion. Watching, my Dad’s battle savvy suddenly kicked in, and he realized that something bad was about to happen. He hollered a warning, and threw himself on top of the soldier next to him (he was pretty brave too). He needn’t have bothered. The instructor realized the problem at the same time my Dad did and threw himself on top of the jar, absorbing the entire blast. He died; everyone else walked away scot-free.
I’ve always wondered in the years since my Dad first told that story what type of a man would have the courage to walk into certain death to save his comrades. Monsoor’s story gives us some useful insight into one of those men.
First, he lives life to the fullest and comes from a family with a commitment to bravery and service:
Born in Long Beach, Monsoor played football at Garden Grove High School, graduating in 1999. He enjoyed snowboarding, body-boarding and spearfishing, as well as riding his motorcycle and driving his Corvette. His father and one of his brothers were Marines, but he decided to enlist in the Navy in 2001.
Next, he has an overwhelming drive to succeed in the toughest arenas:
Monsoor completed the grueling 25-week SEAL training in 2004 on his second try. A broken heel had forced him to drop out on his initial attempt. The dropout rate for many SEAL trainee classes exceeds 50%.
He has probably engaged in other acts of bravery, but was low key about them, rather than boastful:
Monsoor has also been awarded a Silver Star for rescuing a wounded SEAL during the same deployment. While under continuous fire, he dashed into a street to drag his comrade to safety. He never told his family about his heroism. They learned about it the month before his death, while attending another SEAL’s funeral.
And lastly, he might be part of a tight knit community, with each member feeling a strong sense of responsibility for the others:
The SEALs, a tough and close-knit, group, were deeply affected by his death, Stone said.
Rest in peace, Michael Monsoor. You’ve earned that honor.Email This Post To A Friend
4 Responses to “Michael Monsoor — hero”
Leave a Reply
You must be logged in to post a comment.