SAN DIEGO, Ca. - The Navy commissioned a new, cutting-edge stealth destroyer over the weekend to honor the life of a fallen Navy SEAL.
The USS Michael Monsoor (DDG 1001) is the second in the Zumwalt-class of destroyers. It was commissioned Saturday at Naval Air Station North Island in San Diego, where the ship will be homeported.
The ship is named in honor of Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class (SEAL) Michael A. Monsoor. He was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor for his actions in Iraq in September 29, 2006.
On that day, Monsoor was in Ramadi, Iraq as part of a sniper overwatch security position with two other SEALs and several Iraqi Army soldiers when a grenade was thrown, hitting Monsoor in the chest and then falling to the ground.
Monsoor was the only person positioned near the exit who could have escaped harm. Instead, Monsoor jumped onto the grenade, smothering it with his body to protect his teammates. Monsoor was killed, but his actions saved the lives of everyone else with him.
"Monsoor is an incredible honor that the Navy has bestowed upon him and his family," said Chief Warrant Officer Benjamin Oleson, one of Monsoor’s teammates in Ramadi. "I went out to the christening event, and I was completely blown away [by] the sheer size of what this ship represents. I think if Mikey saw the ship, he'd be like, 'That's too much. That's not for me. I'm just laid back.' But I think it's truly an honor that the Navy did this, especially the type of destroyer that it is. ... [with] its cutting-edge, advanced technology.
"I think, with Mikey in the platoon, always at the front, leading the way, the way the ship is designed, it's going to be leading the way in the future."
The USS Monsoor has a considerably larger flight deck than most destroyers, and can bring more manpower, firepower and computing power to the fight.
With a crew of 148, the Monsoor has manning of about half that of a traditional destroyer.