U.S. Navy SEAL Petty Officer Second Class Michael Monsoor was a hero among heroes. He was stationed overseas in Iraq and among a team with two other snipers on a rooftop when a fragmentation grenade found its way to where they lay in wait. Monsoor had been in a position to run and save himself when the grenade hit him in the chest. Instead, he decided he wasn’t going to let his brothers in arms take the fall, throwing himself on top of the grenade so they could continue rooting out enemy fighters holding Ramadi, a stronghold west of Baghdad.
Monsoor made the ultimate sacrifice, and for his actions, he has been immortalized, as a Zumwalt Class Destroyer has been named after him. Mirroring the man it’s been named after, the Monsoor is a stealth vessel, one of three that will defend the waters of the United States.
Former United States President George W. Bush quoted one of the men Monsoor saved as he and proud mother Sally Monsoor christened the vessel.
“Mikey looked death in the face that day and said, ‘You cannot take my brothers. I will go in their stead.'”
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The stealth destroyer named after Michael Monsoor is one of three that are expected to cost a total of $22.5 billion, with the third, USS Lyndon B. Johnson, being currently under construction in Maine. The weapon system will include guided missiles, eliminating the chance of casualties due to poor trajectory, with a range of 63 nautical miles. The fleet was scaled down from the original plans for 32, as the Navy shifted its focus toward building an updated version of Arleigh-Burke class destroyers.
The reduction of the fleet is due to potential research and development issues, as three ships are easier to maintain and upgrade than 32. The Pentagon can’t spread costs over a larger fleet.
Senator Susan Collins of Maine has called the Monsoor and its fellow Zumwalt Class ships the “most advanced naval [destroyers] the world has ever seen.”
Maine’s Senator Angus King had some touching words for the man the Monsoor was named after.
“Michael Monsoor made the ultimate sacrifice, and he did it for love. But he was not a hero. He is a hero. Because the inspiration he provided to all of us – the guidance he provided to us – as to how we should live our lives is still alive. And it’s going to live as long as this ship sails the seas of the world.”
As tensions rise across the world over the threat of ISIS, it seems the United States is set to defend itself through this fleet of stealth destroyers. If North Korea finally proves to have effective nuclear launch capabilities, Michael Monsoor’s namesake destroyer may just be what shoots their missile out of the air so it never has a chance to detonate on American soil.
This fleet of destroyers is only the second time the fallen Navy SEAL has been honored, as Michael Monsoor was given the Medal of Honor posthumously in 2008. This is the first time a naval warship has been named after a fallen hero, though, mirroring the first time the United States has had such an advanced seaworthy Zumwalt Class destroyer.
[Photo by Pat Wellenbach/AP Images]