Sunday, November 7, 2010

At Mount Soledad Yesterday

Yesterday at noon, the Mount Soledad Memorial Association unveiled the plaque pictured above to honor Petty Officer 2nd Class Michael A. Monsoor. He was posthumously awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor for his actions in Operation Iraqi Freedom that cost him his life on September 29, 2006. Please read the Summary of Action that describes the events of that day. I quote a few excerpts here:

. . . he [Monsoor] served as automatic weapons gunner in a combined SEAL and Iraqi Army (IA) sniper overwatch element positioned on a residential rooftop in a violent sector and historical stronghold for insurgents. . . . After the engagements, the local populace blocked off the roads in the area with rocks to keep civilians away and to warn insurgents of the presence of his Coalition sniper element. Additionally, a nearby mosque called insurgents to arms to fight Coalition Forces. . . .
Though well-acquainted with enemy tactics in Ar Ramadi, and keenly aware that the enemy would continue to attack, the SEALs remained on the battlefield in order to carry out the mission of guarding the western flank of the main effort. . . .
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.
A couple of points. First, this is an amazing nation that continues to raise up men such as Michael Monsoor, who go to fight and sometimes die in distant s***-holes like Iraq in the service of their country, freeing a people, many of whom would have been just as happy to continue their lives under a brutal dictatorship. [Note the population aiding the enemy and imams using mosques to call people to arms.]
My second point is that the decision to go to war must always be weighed with deep skepticism. Reading the summary of action gives a small sense of the horror of the war. I am not arguing that this war was a mistake, only that we should count the cost very carefully. This is why we don't go to war to right every injustice throughout the world. We need to truly believe that our national interest is at stake ahead of time.

Our condolences go out to Michael Monsoor's family, his mother, father, his sister and two brothers. Besides being a hero on the battlefield, he was, by all accounts a decent friend and family member.


  1. B-Daddy, they're going to name the DDG-1001 after him.

    My thoughts from 2-1/2 years ago when he was awarded the CMH:

    We're not psychologists and we don’t have any supporting data in front of us but the description of Monsoor’s personality by family, friends and colleagues appears to fit a pattern we observed in this nation’s bravest: quiet, unassuming guys who were never the BMOC or the best athlete on the high school football or wrestling team but were always the hardest workers who led more by deed than word. They’re all business at work but good-naturedly rambunctious away from it and never turn down an opportunity to play a practical joke on a mate. And perhaps ironically, they never seem to wear their patriotism on their sleave but all of them, of course, are held in the highest esteem by everyone with which they come into contact.

  2. Dean,
    Thanks for the reminder. Can't hold back the tears.

  3. It is men like him who bring home the horror of war and the ultimate sacrifice made my many good sailors and soldiers for a generally ungrateful populace, on station and, sad to say, at home! May he rest in peace!!