Petty Officer 2nd Class Michael Monsoor received the Medal of Honor today in Washington D.C. He wasn’t there to accept, however – he received the award posthumously.
He died a true hero: jumping on a grenade, taking the explosion in order to save his comrades.
On September 29, 2006, Michael Monsoor was part of an operation in Baghdad. He was on a rooftop along with two other SEALs and three Iraqi soldiers when a grenade suddenly came from out of nowhere. It bounced off his chest and landed in an area where it likely would have killed all of them. Next to the door which exited the rooftop, he was in a position to escape through the door before the explosion, but instead leapt on the grenade.
“He recognized immediately the threat, yelled ‘grenade’ and due to the fact that two other SEAL snipers, our brothers, could not possibly escape the blast, he chose to smother it with his body, absorbed the impact and lost his life in the process,” said Lt. Cmdr. Seth Stone, Mansoor’s platoon commander. Another fellow SEAL that he saved was quoted, “Mikey looked death in the face that day and said, ‘You cannot take my brothers. I will go in their stead.’”
How many of us would choose that path? Honestly? I guess we really can’t answer a question like that until we are in that situation, facing the reality of ultimate sacrifice. Michael Monsoor didn’t need to jump on that grenade. He had already been honored with his valor, receiving the Silver Star for running out into a firefight to drag an injured fellow SEAL to safety, while enemy bullets flew around them. He had also earned the Bronze Star for his work with Iraqi soldiers. That might have been enough for some people. Serve your country, earn a medal or two and come back safely to live out the rest of their life.
But not Michael Monsoor. He was a Navy SEAL. He is a hero.
Take a few moments this week to remember that there are still true heroes out there, risking their lives daily to preserve our way of life. And if you know someone who has previously or is currently serving our country, tell them “thank you”. It’s the least you can do for Petty Officer 2nd Class Michael Monsoor. Hero.