US Navy Christens New Stealth Destroyer Ship in Honor of Fallen Arab American Soldier
BY: Andrew Hansen/Contributing Writer
This week, the United States Navy christened a new stealth destroyer ship named the USS Michael Monsoor, in honor of the fallen Navy Seal who gave his life to save his fellow soldiers in Iraq in 2006.
Monsoor was a soldier who overcame several obstacles in his childhood and military career to become a symbol of perseverance and determination amongst Navy Seals and Arab Americans. Because of his sacrifice for his country, Monsoor became the first ever Arab American to receive the Medal of Honor Award in the U.S.
Growing up in Long Beach, California, Monsoor came from a mixed background of Lebanese and Irish descent. He suffered from asthma at an early age, but taught himself how to strengthen his lungs by holding his breath for extended periods of time in the swimming pool with his siblings.
Monsoor joined the Navy in 2001 and graduated from Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL training in 2004, a prestigious honor for him and his family. In 2006, Monsoor was deployed to the city of Ramadi in Iraq, where he was ordered to instruct Iraqi soldiers in military combat. For the following five months after his deployment, Monsoor was frequently involved in direct engagements with insurgent forces.
In September of 2006, Monsoor and his team were involved in a unified effort to rid Ramadi of its insurgent pockets, when a grenade was thrown onto a rooftop where he and two other soldiers were stationed. Even though Monsoor was in a location that would have allowed him to escape the blast radius, he jumped on the grenade to spare the lives of his fellow soldiers. In 2008, to commemorate his actions, former President George W. Bush awarded Monsoor the Medal of Honor, making him the first Navy Seal and Arab American to receive the award for the Iraqi War.
The ship is the second of three planned Zumwalt-class stealth destroyers, and is massive in size, weighing 15,000 tons and standing 610 feet tall. According to CNN, the USS Monsoor is currently the “most technologically sophisticated destroyer, touting stealth capabilities and two advanced gun systems that fire long range, land-attack projectiles that can reach up to 63 nautical miles.”
Construction on the destroyer began in 2010. Six years later, senior Navy officials and policy makers retain their confidence that the ship will live up to the standard of fierce patriotism and courage that Monsoor displayed as a Navy Seal and a proud Arab American.