The White House announced yesterday that Petty Officer 2nd Class Michael Monsoor, a Navy SEAL, would posthumously receive the Medal of Honor — only the third MOH recipient in the Iraq war. From the Washington Post‘s story:
Monsoor and a group of SEAL snipers took up position on a residential rooftop as part of an operation to push into a dangerous section of southern Ramadi. Four insurgents armed with AK-47 rifles came into view, and the SEAL snipers opened fire, killing one and wounding another. Loudspeakers from a mosque broadcast calls for insurgents to rally, and residents blocked off nearby roads with rocks.
Insurgents shot back at the SEAL position with automatic weapons from a moving vehicle and fired a rocket-propelled grenade at the building. The SEALs knew that more attacks were inevitable but continued their mission of protecting the troops clearing the area below, according to an official account.
Monsoor’s commander repositioned him in a small hidden location between two SEAL snipers on an outcropping of the roof, facing the most likely route of another insurgent attack. As Monsoor manned his gun, an insurgent lobbed up a hand grenade, which hit Monsoor in the chest and bounced onto the roof.
“Grenade!” Monsoor shouted. But the two snipers and another SEAL on the roof had no time to escape, as Monsoor was closest to the only exit. Monsoor dropped onto the grenade, smothering it with his body. It detonated, and Monsoor died about 30 minutes later from his wounds.
True to form, the New York Times could not be bothered today to mention the awarding of our nation’s highest honor. The story is nowhere to be found in the print edition. Buried on the Times’ website, though, one can find a three-sentence mention from the AP — an item whose brevity is a disgrace not just to the solemn importance of the award, but to Monsoor’s selflessness and heroism. Priorities, you see.