Michael Monsoor was born on April 5, 1981, in Garden Grove, California. He enlisted in the U.S. Navy on March 20, 2001, and completed basic training at NTC Great Lakes, Illinois, in May 2001. Monsoor next completed Quartermaster School at NTC Great Lakes in August 2001, followed by Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL training at NAB Coronado, California, from August 2001 to January 2002, when he dropped from the program. Petty Officer Monsoor served as a Master-at-Arms at the Security Detachment in Sigonella, Sicily, from January 2002 to January 2004, and was then given another chance at BUD/S training. After completing BUD/S, Jump School, and SEAL Qualification training in April 2005, he served with SEAL Team THREE at NAB Coronado from April 2005 until he deployed with his Team to Ramadi, Iraq, in April 2006. On September 29, 2006, Petty Officer Monsoor was killed in action during a mission in which he would be posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor. He was buried at Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery in San Diego, California.
His Medal of Honor Citation reads:
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.