by Norman Fulkerson
In 2006, Ramadi, Iraq was considered the most dangerous city on planet earth for American servicemen. Michael Monsoor, member of the elite Navy SEALS, was on a rooftop over-watch in the most hazardous part of the city called the Ma’laab district – possibly his last mission before returning home to family and friends in two short weeks. Michael was providing security for three other SEALs and eight Iraqi Army soldiers - the responsibility for protecting the unit fell squarely on his shoulders, an appropriate position for a Catholic young man named after the warrior angel, Saint Michael.
When a grenade bounced off his chest and landed on the ground, Michael knew the length of the fuse would not allow him to toss it out. Positioned next to the only exit, he could have escaped unharmed. Instead, the SEAL dropped his body onto the grenade to shield his teammates from the blast. Attended by a priest, he died approximately 30 minutes later from his wounds. The date was September 29, feast day of St. Michael the Archangel.
Michael Monsoor received the Medal of Honor posthumously in a ceremony at the White House on April 8, 2008. During his life, Michael was given four other awards including Silver Star, Bronze Star Medal, Purple Heart, Combat Action Ribbon for numerous acts of heroism and reputation for putting others first.
“I am Michael Monsoor…
“I am patrolling the streets of Ramadi… My eyes sting from the sweat, my gun and gear are heavy but these things do not bother me. There is no comfort here but this is the life I have chosen and there is no place I would rather be…and I am ready.
“I am Michael Monsoor… I miss my family. I want to hold my nieces and nephews again. I want to make them smile and laugh but I am far from home. Instead I smile at the Iraqi children when we pass them by. When we encounter Iraqi families I treat them with respect and dignity. I know the importance of family because there is nothing more important to me, than my family…
“I am Michael Monsoor, I love my country, my fellow SEALS and the men fighting along side us… I have lived life to its fullest. I have not looked back. I leave nothing but love and I have no regrets.
“I am Michael Monsoor… and I have given everything…For you!”
by Lt. Commander John Willink, during a ceremony at the Navy Memorial honoring the fallen Hero.