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California Briefing / SAN DIEGO

Destroyer to bear O.C. SEAL's name

October 30, 2008|Tony Perry

The Navy will name its latest Zumwalt-class destroyer for a SEAL from Orange County who was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor, the secretary of the Navy announced Wednesday.

Petty Officer 2nd Class Michael Monsoor, 25, was killed during a firefight in Ramadi, Iraq, in 2006 when he smothered an insurgent's grenade to save three fellow SEALs.

"Those who served with Michael Monsoor will remember him always as a consummate professional who faced terrorist enemies with aplomb and stoicism," Navy Secretary Donald Winter said in announcing the decision during a speech in New York.

Born in Long Beach, Monsoor attended Garden Grove High School, where he played football.

Monsoor graduated in 1999 and he enlisted in the Navy in 2001.

He completed SEAL training on a second try after an injury thwarted his first attempt. He was awarded a Silver Star for bravery for an incident during the same deployment in which he was killed.

During a firefight in Ramadi, Monsoor and other SEALs were assigned to a roof to provide watch for ground troops. When an insurgent hurled a grenade onto the roof, Monsoor yelled, "Grenade!" and dived on the explosive.

"Michael could have escaped and saved himself," Winter told those at the Navy SEAL Warrior Fund gala. "But he chose a different path, a path of honor that embodies the way of a Navy SEAL."

The latest Zumwalt-class destroyer is being designed to provide enhanced surveillance and weapon-delivery capability close to shore. Completion of the ship is set for early in the next decade.

-- Tony Perry

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