The U.S. Navy‘s newest Zumwalt-class destroyer was recently commissioned in a ceremony last week at Naval Air Station North Island, California. Although any time a new Navy vessel is commissioned is a special event, this latest ceremony was particularly meaningful to the Navy‘s special warfare community as the ship is named after Medal of Honor-winning Navy SEAL Petty Officer Second Class Michael Monsoor.
“When you man the rails today and you man your first watch stations at [general quarters], you bring this ship to life in the spirit and legacy of Michael Monsoor with toughness, courage and love, and you will be the defenders,” said Vice Adm. Timothy Szymanski, deputy commander of U.S. Special Operations Command, according to a U.S. Navy press release. “You will defend. Stay in the fight.”
Monsoor received the medal for his actions in Ar Ramadi, Iraq, in September of 2006. According to the official medal citation, Monsoor used his body to shield his teammates from a grenade that had been thrown into the group’s sniper hide by enemy combatants. His actions saved the lives of his fellow SEALs but resulted in his death.
“Petty Officer Monsoor’s actions could not have been more selfless or clearly intentional,” the citation reads. “Of the three SEALs on that rooftop corner, he had the only avenue of escape away from the blast, and if he had so chosen, he could have easily escaped. Instead, Monsoor chose to protect his comrades by the sacrifice of his own life. By his courageous and selfless actions, he saved the lives of his two fellow SEALs and he is the most deserving of the special recognition afforded by awarding the Medal of Honor.”
The commissioning ceremony of the USS Michael Monsoor (DDG 1001) was attended by 20 Gold Star families and four Medal of Honor recipients. The ship will serve in the Pacific and will be home-ported in San Diego, California. Michael Monsoor’s mother, Sally Monsoor, served as the ship’s sponsor and was present at the ceremony. She delivered remarks during the event and thanked the Navy as well as the other attendees for bestowing the honor upon her son.
“I can’t go without saying thank you for coming today,” she said. “You came because you were following his story and you cared. Thank you to our military men and women, the best in the world, SEAL Team, you have our hearts.”
The Zumwalt-class destroyers first entered service in 2016. The ship’s unique design makes it more stealthy in the water and also makes it more maneuverable and efficient. The first of the new class, the USS Zumwalt, suffered propulsion issues early in its carrier, but Navy public affairs confirms the vessel is now on active service.