Michael Anthony Monsoor
United States Navy – Petty Officer Second Class (SEAL)
April 5, 1981 – September 29, 2006
(GGHS Class of 1999)
Michael A. Monsoor was born on April 5, 1981 in Long Beach, California. Michael grew up in Garden Grove, California as the third of four children of George and Sally Monsoor. He had an older brother James, and older sister Sara and a younger brother Joseph.
Michael attended Dr. Walter C. Ralston Intermediate School and Garden Grove High School where he graduate in 1999. Mike played tight end on the Argonaut football team, enjoyed snowboarding, body boarding, spear fishing and motorcycle riding. His quiet demeanor and dedication to his friends matched the “Silent Warrior” SEAL mentality that became his calling in life.
Michael enlisted in the US Navy on March 21, 2001 and attended Basic Training in Great Lakes, Illinois. Upon graduation from basic training, he transferred to the Naval Air Station, Sigonella, Italy for a short period of time.
Petty Officer Monsoor entered Navy SEAL training in Coronado, California and graduated with Class 250 on September 2, 2004 as one of the top performers in his class. He went into advanced SEAL training courses including parachute training at Fort Benning, Georgia and cold weather training in Kodiak, Alaska. Michael deployed with his platoon to Iraq in April 2006, in support of Operation IRAQI FREEDOM.
From April to September 29, 2006 Mike served as the heavy weapons machine gunner. On 15 operations, he carried a rucksack full of communications equipment in addition to his machine gun. Collectively it weighed more than 100 pounds. He bore that weight without a single complaint, even in the midst of the 130-degree Western Iraq summer.
Mike and his platoon operated in a highly contested part of Rumadi called the Ma’laab district. During their deployment, Mike and his fellow SEALs came under enemy attack on seventy-five of their missions. On May 9, 2006 Mike rescued a SEAL who was shot in the leg. He 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. For his brave action, he earned the “Silver Star”.
DELTA Platoon executed a broad spectrum of combat operations in and around Ramadi. They patrolled bravely through the city streets engaging in thirty-five heated firefights.
Petty officer Second Class (SEAL) Michael A. Monsoor received the “Medal of Honor” posthumously in a ceremony at the White House on April 8, 2008, for his action sin Air Ramadi, Iraq on September 29, 2006. On that day, Monsoor was part of a sniper over watch security position with three other SEALs and eight Iraqi Army soldiers. An insurgent closed in and threw a fragmentation grenade into the over watch position. The grenade hit Monsoor in the chest before falling to the ground. Positioned next to the only exit, Monsoor was the only one who could have escaped harm. Instead, he dropped onto the grenade to shield the others from the blast. Michael died approximately 30 minutes later from his wounds sustained from the blast. Because of Petty Officer Monsoor’s actions he saved the lives of his 3 teammates and the Iraqi Army soldiers.
Though he carried himself in a calm and composed fashion, he constantly led the charge to bring the fight to the enemy. His teammates recall his sense of loyalty to God, family and his team. He attended Catholic Mass devotionally before operations, and often spoke lovingly of his family. His older brother, a police officer and former Marine for whom he held great respect; his sister, a nurse; his younger brother, a college football player.
Mike was one of the bravest men on the battlefield, never allowing the enemy to discourage him. He remained fearless while facing constant danger, and through his selfless nature and aggressive actions, saved the lives of coalition soldiers and his fellow SEALs. He will be greatly missed. Michael is survived by his mother Sally, his father George, his sister Sara, and his two brothers James and Joseph.
* Information presented from the GGHS Freedom Memorial Dedication Ceremony program in May 2008.
Michael A. Monsoor received the following awards:
- US Navy SEALs Insignia
- Medal of Honor
- Silver Star
- Bronze Star Medal w/ V device
- Purple Heart Medal
- Combat Action Ribbon
- National Defense Service Medal
- Iraq Campaign Medal
- Sea Service Deployment Ribbon
Petty Officer Second Class (SEAL) received posthumously The Medal of Honor, our nation’s highest military honor, for his actions in sacrificing his life to save the lives of others in his unit while under fire in Iraq on September 29, 2006. Michael Monsoor became the third American service member and second Navy SEAL to receive the United States’ highest military award during the War on Terrorism. Michael Monsoor’s parents, George and Sally Monsoor, received Michael’s Medal of Honor on his behalf at an April 8, ceremony at the White House which was held by President George W. Bush.
In a moving ceremony on May 28, 2008 at Jason Field on the Garden Grove High School campus, the Michael A. Monsoor Freedom Memorial was dedicated. The Memorial honors 24 Argonauts who made the ultimate sacrifice while serving in our Nation’s Armed Forces, giving their lives in time of War. The Memorial’s permanent home is in the Argonaut Hall of Fame and Museum located on campus in Heritage Hall. It is flanked by a United States Flag which has flown over the United States Capitol in Washington D.C. and a California State Flag which has flown over the State Capital in Sacramento. For more information, visit HERE.
The Garden Grove Unified School District Board of Education will host a Dedication Ceremony of the new Michael A. Monsoor Memorial Stadium on Friday September 8, 2017 at 6PM at Garden Grove High School. For more information, visit HERE.