On 29 September 2006, 25-year-old Petty Officer 2nd Class Michael A. Monsoor (MA2, not EOD2 as stated below) was killed during operations in enemy-held territory at Ar Ramadi, Iraq, when he threw himself on top of a grenade in order to save the lives of his fellow SEALS. As described in the final two paragraphs of a Summary of Action (SOA) regarding the circumstances of his death:
While vigilantly watching for enemy activity, an enemy fighter hurled a hand grenade onto the roof from an unseen location. The grenade hit him in the chest and bounced onto the deck. He immediately leapt to his feet and yelled "grenade" to alert his teammates of impending danger, but they could not evacuate the sniper hide-sight in time to escape harm. Without hesitation and showing no regard for his own life, he threw himself onto the grenade, smothering it to protect his teammates who were lying in close proximity. The grenade detonated as he came down on top of it, mortally wounding him.
Petty Officer Monsoor's actions could not have been more selfless or clearly intentional. Of the three SEALs on that rooftop corner, he had the only avenue of escape away from the blast, and if he had so chosen, he could have easily escaped. Instead, Monsoor chose to protect his comrades by the sacrifice of his own life. By his courageous and selfless actions, he saved the lives of his two fellow SEALs and he is the most deserving of the special recognition afforded by awarding the Medal of Honor.
In April 2008, Michael Monsoor (who had already been posthumously awarded the Silver Star for his actions in a 9 May 2006 incident, when he and another SEAL pulled a wounded team member to safety amidst gunfire) was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor. His funeral, attended (in the words of President Bush) by "nearly every SEAL on the West Coast," was held on 12 October 2006 at Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery in San Diego. As shown at the end of the tribute video linked below, during Monsoor's funeral service, as the casket was taken from the hearse to the gravesite, fellow SEALs lined up in two columns to slap and embed the gold Tridents (a pin, pictured above, awarded for successful completion of SEAL Qualification Training) from their uniforms onto the top of Monsoor's coffin:
PO2 (EOD2)(Explosive Ordnance Disposal) Mike Monsoor, a Navy EOD Technician, was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor posthumously for jumping on a grenade in Iraq , giving his life to save his fellow Seals.
During Mike Monsoor's funeral in San Diego , as his coffin was being moved from the hearse to the grave site at Ft. Rosecrans National Cemetery, SEAL's were lined up on both sides of the pallbearers route forming a column of two's, with the coffin moving up the center. As Mike's coffin passed, each SEAL, having removed his gold Trident from his uniform, slapped it down embedding the Trident in the wooden coffin.
The slaps were audible from across the cemetery; by the time the
coffin arrived grave side, it looked as though it had a gold inlay
from all the Tridents pinned to it. This was a fitting send-off for a
This should be front-page news instead of the things we see every day.