One of the greatest heroes ever to come out of Garden Grove was recognized, eulogized and honored on Saturday in San Diego with the commissioning of the U.S.S. Michael Monsoor.
Before a crowd that included comrades, family and other admirers of the Navy SEAL who sacrificed his life to save others, the modern stealth destroyer was “given life” at Naval Station North Island in San Diego Bay.
Monsoor, a 1999 graduate of Garden Grove High School, joined the U.S. Navy and became a SEAL, rising to the rank of Petty Officer Second Class. While on a mission in Ramadi, Iraq on Sept. 29, 2006, he threw himself on a grenade that had been thrown at him and his companions, suffering fatal injuries but saving the lives of others. He was awarded the Medal of Honor, the nation’s highest military decoration. Monsoor Stadium at GGHS is named for him.
Among the speakers were Vice Admiral Richard Brown, who greeted the guests and gave this advice to the new ship’s commander, Capt. Scott Smith: “Keep the bottom wet and don’t scratch the paint.”
Army Major General Ronald Clark, who commanded forces at the Battle of Ramadi, spoke of the “band of brothers” that included Monsoor. “This kind of fight was the kind that forges bonds that transcend race, creed or gender.” He added that Michael “Mikey” Monsoor “was a great warrior and an even better man.”
Michael’s mother, Sally, took the lead in the ship’s official entry into the fleet.
“Officers and crew of the U.S.S. Michael Monsoor, man our ship and bring her to life,” she intoned, and it was done, with 143 sailors running up ramps to the deck as a Navy band played “Anchors Aweigh.”
In closing, Capt. Smith said “the true strength of America is its people,” citing Monsoor as the example of teamwork, devotion to duty and love.
Categories: Garden Grove