Michael A. Monsoor

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Michael A. Monsoor was a United States Navy SEAL posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor, for his actions during Operation Iraqi Freedom. He was the third person to be awarded the medal for actions in Iraq; and the first member of the U.S. Navy.

Monsoor was born April 5, 1981 in Long Beach, California and grew up in Garden Grove, California, as the third of four children of George and Sally Monsoor. He attended Dr. Walter C. Ralston Intermediate School and Garden Grove High School where he played tight end on the Argonaut football team and graduated in 1999. Monsoor enlisted in the U.S. Navy March 21, 2001, and attended Basic Training at Recruit Training Command, Great Lakes, Ill. Upon graduation from basic training, he attended Quartermaster "A" School, and then transferred to Naval Air Station, Sigonella, Italy for a short period of time.

Petty Officer Monsoor entered Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL (BUD/S) training in Coronado, California, and subsequently graduated with Class 250 on Sept. 2, 2004 as one of the top performers in his class. After BUD/S, he completed advanced SEAL training courses including parachute training at Basic Airborne School, Fort Benning, Georgia, cold weather combat training in Kodiak, Alaska, and six months of SEAL Qualification Training in Coronado, graduating in March 2005. The following month, his rating changed from Quartermaster to Master-at-Arms, and he was assigned to SEAL Team 3 Delta Platoon. He deployed with his platoon to Iraq in April 2006 in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom, and was assigned to Task Unit Bravo in Ar Ramadi.

From April to September 29, 2006, Monsoor served as a heavy weapons machine gunner in Delta Platoon, SEAL Team 3. During combat patrols he walked behind the platoon point man with his Mk 48 machine gun so that he could protect his platoon from a frontal enemy attack. Monsoor was also a SEAL communicator. On 15 operations, he carried a rucksack full of communications equipment in addition to his machine gun and full ammunition load-out. Collectively it weighed more than 100 pounds. He bore the weight without a single complaint, even in the midst of the 130 degree Western Iraqi summer.

Monsoor and his platoon operated in a highly contested part of Ramadi city called the Ma'laab district. During their deployment, Monsoor and his fellow SEALS came under enemy attack on 75 percent of their missions. On May 9, 2006 Monsoor rescued a SEAL who was shot in the leg. He ran out into the street with another SEAL, shot cover fire and dragged his comrade to safety while enemy bullets kicked up the concrete at their feet. For this brave action, he earned a Silver Star.

The enemy could not deter Monsoor and his SEAL platoon. They fought in 35 heated firefights; during these incidents Monsoor shot tens of thousands of 7.62 millimeter rounds to cover Delta Platoon's movement through streets that seemed to be paved with fire. In the Ma'laab district, Monsoor perfected his skills as an urban machine gunner. Once he and his men established a sniper overwatch position, he deftly transitioned to his role as a SEAL communicator calling in tank support and transmitting enemy situation reports to the 1-506 PIR Commander.

Delta Platoon executed a broad spectrum of combat operations in and around Ramadi. They patrolled bravely through the city streets engaging in firefights while on other occasions, they ambushed insurgent mortar teams near the banks of the Euphrates River. Monsoor and his fellow SEALs accounted for 84 enemy fighters killed in action and the detainment of numerous insurgents. Most notably, the Army Infantry, Navy SEAL and Iraqi Army combined force helped to pacify the most violent city in Al Anbar province setting conditions for the "Sunni Awakening."

Petty Officer Monsoor was subsequently awarded the Bronze Star as the Task Unit Ramadi, Iraq Combat Advisor from April to September 2006. His leadership, guidance and decisive actions during 11 different combat operations saved the lives of his teammates, other Coalition Forces and Iraqi Army soldiers.

On September 29, 2006, in Ar Ramadi, Iraq, Monsoor was part of a sniper overwatch security position with three other SEALs and eight Iraqi Army soldiers. An insurgent closed in and threw a fragmentation grenade into the overwatch position. The grenade hit Monsoor in the chest before falling to the ground. Positioned next to the single exit, Monsoor was the only one who could have escaped harm. Instead, he dropped onto the grenade to shield the others from the blast. Monsoor died approximately 30 minutes later from wounds sustained from the blast. Because of Petty Officer Monsoor's actions, he saved the lives of his thee teammates and the Iraqi Army soldiers.

Petty Officer Second Class (SEAL) Michael A. Monsoor will receive the Medal of Honor posthumously in a ceremony at the White House April 8, 2008 for his heroic actions ar Ar Ramadi.

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