When Petty Officer Monsoor jumped on that grenade in September of 2006, he saved two other members of his Navy Seal team and three Iraqi Army soldiers. The grenade was lobbed onto a roof where his security sniper team was positioned, it hit Monsoor in the chest and fell to the ground in front of him.
On Tuesday, April 8, 2008, President George Bush awarded the Medal of Honor posthumously to a Navy Seal, Petty Officer Second Class Michael A. Monsoor, who had threw himself on a grenade in 2006, giving his life to save his comrades in Iraq.
As President Bush said at the award ceremony, "In that terrible moment, he had two options — to save himself, or to save his friends. For Mike, this was no choice at all. He threw himself onto the grenade, and absorbed the blast with his body."
Petty Officer Monsoor died thirty minutes later, according to the Navy.
Petty Officer Monsoor has already posthumously received a Bronze Star for “his extraordinary guidance, zealous initiative and total dedication to duty” during his deployment to Iraq from April to September 2006 and a Silver Star for saving a comrade during his Iraq deployment. In that case, he pulled a wounded member of the Seals from the middle of a street to safety while under enemy fire.
Today he will be inducted into the Pentagon Hall of Heroes.
The Medal of Honor is America's highest military honor and it was presented to his parents, at a ceremony at the White House.
According to the Military, nearly 3,500 medal of Honors have been awarded since it was created during the Civil War.
After President Bush gave his statement about Petty Officer Monsoor, he brought Monsoor's parents onto the stage to received the Medal of Honor Award as a Military Aide read the citation which said:
The President of the United States, in the name of the Congress, takes pride in presenting the Medal of Honor, posthumously, to Master At Arms Second Class, Sea, Air and Land, Michael A. Monsoor, United States Navy. For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty while serving as Automatic Weapons Gunner for Naval Special Warfare Task Group Arabian Peninsula, in support of Operation IRAQI FREEDOM on 29 September 2006.
As a member of a combined SEAL and Iraqi Army sniper overwatch element, tasked with providing early warning and stand-off protection from a rooftop in an insurgent-held sector of Ar Ramadi, Iraq, Petty Officer Monsoor distinguished himself by his exceptional bravery in the face of grave danger. In the early morning, insurgents prepared to execute a coordinated attack by reconnoitering the area around the element's position. Element snipers thwarted the enemy's initial attempt by eliminating two insurgents. The enemy continued to assault the element, engaging them with a rocket-propelled grenade and small arms fire. As enemy activity increased, Petty Officer Monsoor took position with his machine gun between two teammates on an outcropping of the roof. While the SEALs vigilantly watched for enemy activity, an insurgent threw a hand grenade from an unseen location, which bounced off Petty Officer Monsoor's chest and landed in front of him. Although only he could have escaped the blast, Petty Officer Monsoor chose instead to protect his teammates. Instantly and without regard for his own safety, he threw himself onto the grenade to absorb the force of the explosion with his body, saving the lives of his two teammates. By his undaunted courage, fighting spirit, and unwavering devotion to duty in the face of certain death, Petty Officer Monsoor gallantly gave his life for his country, thereby reflecting great credit upon himself and upholding the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service.
Monsoor was the first sailor and first Californian to receive the Medal of Honor as a result of combat in Iraq.
In recent combat, in addition to Monsoor, it has been presented to Marine Cpl. Jason L. Dunham and Army Sgt. 1st Class Paul R. Smith for bravery in Iraq and to another Navy SEAL, Lt. Michael P. Murphy, for courage in Afghanistan.
H/T to Stop the ACLU, below is a video montage of Petty Officer Michael A. Monsoor, U.S. Navy. (Youtube URL)
[Update] Here is a YouTube video uploaded by Amy Proctor of Bush giving the Award. Read Amy's piece on this.