There was a moving Medal of Honor ceremony at the White House today. From the cnn.com report:
When a grenade bounced off his chest and fell to the floor near his fellow troops, Petty Officer 2nd Class Michael Monsoor acted out of instinct.
His actions didn’t stem from a lack of training. His instant reaction was to protect his comrades.
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 Mansoor 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.
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 likely 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 also were wounded but survived the shrapnel that ripped through their bodies.
Stone said: “He essentially saved [the] Navy SEALS on the rooftop and three Iraqi soldiers who were there.”