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Project Hero: PO2 (SEAL) Michael Mansoor, Medal of Honor
Posted by: McQ on Saturday, April 12, 2008

Today we honor the extraordinary valor of PO2 (SEAL) Michael Mansoor, awarded the Medal of Honor posthumously:
Born in 1981 in Long Beach, California, Monsoor excelled as a high school athlete. He joined the Navy before the September 11 attacks.

In 2004, Monsoor graduated from the basic SEAL training course as one of the top members of his class. By March 2005, he had completed his training and was assigned to SEAL Team 3, Delta Platoon.

In April 2006, that unit deployed to Iraq's troubled and violent western provincial capital of Ramadi. Monsoor would not return home alive.

His five-month stay in Ramadi was marked by constant attacks. As a heavy machine gunner, Monsoor had to stay behind the point man on foot patrols and protect the unit from attacks.

Delta Platoon was involved in attacks on 75 percent of its missions in a highly contested part of Ramadi called the Ma'laab district, according to the Navy.

On a patrol less than a month after arriving in Iraq, Monsoor showed some of his selfless instinct when gunfire hit a fellow SEAL in the leg.

Monsoor "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," according to Navy documents.

He received the Silver Star, the third highest award for valor in combat.

His unit continued to endure the constant barrage of attacks and some 35 firefights with insurgent forces over the scorching Iraqi summer.

Monsoor also was saddled with carrying heavy radio equipment on his back as the "SEAL communicator" who called in tank and other support during firefights.

He received the Bronze Star for his work as an adviser for Iraqi troops.

"His leadership, guidance and decisive actions during 11 different combat operations saved the lives of his teammates, other [U.S.-led] coalition forces and Iraqi army soldiers," according to Navy documents.

But it was his instinct on his last operation on that Ramadi roof that solidified Monsoor's standing as a hero.

On September 29, 2006, Monsoor was part of a major clearing and isolating operation to root out enemy fighters holding parts of Ramadi, the Sunni insurgent stronghold west of Baghdad.

Monsoor was in a sniper position on a rooftop along with two other SEALs when a grenade flew into his location from out of nowhere. It bounced off his chest and landed in an area where it probably would have killed or seriously wounded all three of them.

Monsoor was in a position to escape 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.

The blast did not kill him right away; he hung on for 30 minutes. His two comrades were wounded but survived the shrapnel that ripped through their bodies.

The Navy says he committed a selfless act: jumping on the grenade and taking the full force of the blast.

President Bush presented Monsoor's parents with a posthumous Medal of Honor for their son at an emotional White House ceremony on Tuesday.

Bush quoted one of the SEALS saved by Monsoor as saying, "Mikey looked death in the face that day and said, 'You cannot take my brothers. I will go in their stead.'"

Monsoor was one of the U.S. military's most highly trained combatants, a Navy SEAL. He's the first SEAL to receive the Medal of Honor for actions in Iraq.



Previously featured in "Project Hero":

1LT Brian Chontosh: Navy Cross
PFC Daniel McClenney: Silver Star
PVT Dwayne Turner: Silver Star
MSG Robert Collins & SFC Danny Hall: Silver Star
SSG William Thomas Payne: Silver Star
CPT Christoper J. Bronzi: Silver Star
SSG Charles Good: Silver Star
SR AMN Jason D. Cunningham: Air Force Cross
PFC Jeremy Church: Silver Star
SGT Leigh Ann Hester: Silver Star
CSM Ron Riling: Silver Star
CPL Jason L. Dunham: Medal of Honor
PFC Joseph Perez: Navy Cross
COL James Coffman, Jr: Distinguished Service Cross
1LT Karl Gregory: Silver Star
1LT Brian Stann: Silver Star
MSG Anthony Pryor: Silver Star
TSGT John Chapman: Air Force Cross
MSG Sarun Sar: Silver Star
1LT Jeffery Lee: Silver Star
SGT James Witkowski: Silver Star
SGT Timothy Connors: Silver Star
PO2 Juan Rubio: Silver Star
SFC David Lowe: Silver Star
SGT Leandro Baptista: Silver Star
SPC Gerrit Kobes: Silver Star
SSG Anthony Viggiani: Navy Cross
LCPL Carlos Gomez-Perez: Silver Star
MSG Donald R. Hollenbaugh: Distinguished Service Cross
SGT Jarred L. Adams: Silver Star
1LT Thomas E Cogan: Silver Star
MAJ Mark E. Mitchell: Distinguished Service Cross
CPL Robert Mitchell Jr: Navy Cross
SGT David Neil Wimberg: Silver Star
CWO3 Christopher Palumbo: Silver Star
SGT Tommy Rieman: Silver Star
SCPO Britt Slabinski: Navy Cross
LT David Halderman: FDNY - 9/11/01
1LT Stephen Boada: Silver Star
1LT Neil Prakash: Silver Star
SFC Gerald Wolford: Silver Star
SSG Matthew Zedwick: Silver Star
LCPL Christopher Adlesperger: Navy Cross
SGT Joshua Szott: Silver Star
SPC Richard Ghent: Silver Star
CPL Mark Camp: Silver Star
The Veteran
CW3 Lori Hill: Distinguished Flying Cross
SGT Paul R. Smith: Medal of Honor
PFC Ross A. McGinnis: Silver Star
SGT Joseph E. Proctor: Silver Star
PFC Christopher Fernandez: Silver Star
MAJ James Gant: Silver Star
1SG John E. Mangels: Silver Star
Staff Sgt Michael Shropshire: Silver Star
Staff Sgt Stephen Achey: Silver Star
SFC Frederick Allen: Silver Star
PO2 (SEAL) Marc A. Lee: Silver Star
PFC Stephan C. Sanders, Distinguished Service Cross
CPT Joshua Glover: Silver Star
CPT Brennan Goltry: Silver Star
Cpl. Dale A. Burger: Silver Star
CPL Clinton Warrick: Silver Star
LT (SEAL) Michael P Murphy: Medal of Honor
CW4 Keith Yoakum: Distinguished Service Cross
1LT Walter Bryan Jackson: Distinguished Service Cross
SGT Rafael Peralta, USMC: nominee, Medal of Honor
SSG Timothy Nein: Distinguished Service Cross
SGT Willie Copeland III: Navy Cross
SPC Monica Lin Brown: Silver Star
1LT David Tiedeman: Silver Star
SSG Raymond Bittinger: Silver Star
SSG Chad Malmberg: Silver Star


PROJECT HERO is an ongoing attempt to highlight the valor of our military as they fight in both Iraq and Afghanistan. We constantly hear the negative and far to little of the positive and inspiring stories coming out of those countries. This is one small attempt to rectify that. If you know of a story of valor you'd like to see highlighted here (published on Saturday), please contact us. And we'd appreciate your link so we can spread the word.
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Previous Comments to this Post 

I get tears when I read these.

I often wonder about the reaction of various leftists to these kinds of accounts. I know the Randi Rhodes/Michael Moore types are pretty much in the "he deserved it" camp, but I wonder about the average, say, fervent Obama supporter. What do they think and feel when they read about such bravery and self-sacrifice for a cause they don’t believe in?

I’m sure some feel the same tears I do, and perhaps even have an additional layer of regret that he, in their opinion, died for a bad cause. But based on the leftists I’ve talked to, I also suspect those are a minority.
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