By Debbie Gregory.
Petty Officer 2nd Class Michael A. Monsoor was described by his mother as being “very loyal, silent and determined,” but a character none the less.
Michael Monsoor was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor in 2008 for his actions in Iraq
On September 29, 2006, an insurgent threw a grenade onto a rooftop where Monsoor and several other SEALs and Iraqi soldiers were positioned. Monsoor quickly smothered the grenade with his body, absorbing the resulting explosion and saving his comrades from serious injury or death. The 25 year old died about 30 minutes later from serious wounds caused by the grenade explosion.
“The grenade hit him in the chest and bounced on the ground before he dove on it,” U.S. Sen. Angus King said. “It was knowing and deliberate. He was completely conscious of the sacrifice he was about to make.”
At Monsoor’s funeral, as the coffin was moving from the hearse to the grave site, Navy SEALs were lined up forming a column of twos on both sides of the pallbearers route. As the coffin passed each SEAL, they slapped down the gold Trident each had removed from his own uniform and deeply embedded it into the wooden coffin. For nearly 30 minutes the slaps were audible from across the cemetery as nearly every SEAL on the West Coast repeated the act.
President Bush, who attended the funeral, spoke about the incident later, saying: “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.”
The future USS Michael Monsoor , a DDG 1001 guided-missile destroyer, was christened by Michael’s mother Sally, before a crowd gathered next to the Kennebec River at Bath Iron Works named for the Medal of Honor recipient.
Sally Monsoor, her daughter and her daughter-in-law were escorted to the bow of the destroyer by members of SEAL Team 3, Delta Platoon, with which Michael served.
The 610-foot-long destroyer features two advanced gun systems that fire long-range, land-attack projectiles up to 63 nautical miles, designed to support ground troops.