A fallen hero was remembered Saturday with ceremony and tears as local veterans gathered to rededicate their hall to a Navy SEAL who died shielding his teammates from a grenade explosion.
On Sept. 29, 2006, Petty Officer Michael A. Monsoor was among a team of U.S. and Iraqi forces engaged in a firefight in Ramadi, Iraq. He had taken a rooftop position with three SEAL snipers when an insurgent threw a grenade from the street below.
Monsoor immediately dropped onto the grenade, shielding his comrades from the blast. The 25-year-old died about 30 minutes later.
It was a act of heroism for which he was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor in 2008 for “undaunted courage, fighting spirit, and unwavering devotion to duty in the face of certain death,” according to the Congressional Medal of Honor web site.
And now, Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 2082 is known as Michael A. Monsoor Post 2082 following a standing-room-only ceremony attended by Monsoor’s family, members of the Lemon Grove City Council, and military officials, including Rear Admiral Sean Pybus. Pybus described Monsoor to the crowd of nearly 300 people as a young man who loved his mission, had respect for everyone, and was true to himself.
Monsoor’s mother said it was an emotional day.
“It’s always an honor when somebody recognizes my son,” Sally Monsoor said. “… (To see) all of these people who are veterans and have gone through foreign wars, and have redone this whole facility in honor of my son, it’s overwhelming.”
Monsoor, a Long Beach native, graduated from Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL training in Coronado in 2004. He is buried at the Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery.
Post Commander Tony Bordine says his group has embraced the idea of carrying on Monsoor’s legacy.
“It’s a great honor to have his name on our building,” Bordine said. “We’re going to dedicate to him what we do here, to his memory. Like the admiral said, what we do here, we do in honor of Michael Monsoor.”
The rededicated post is the only VFW post in the nation that will carry Monsoor’s name.