Yesterday we wrote a bit about young Americans aged 21-29. It's our opinion that this is America's next great generation. One young man in that demographic group was Navy SEAL Petty Officer 2nd Class Michael A. Monsoor. On Sept. 29, 2006 an act of valor cost Monsoor his life while he saved the lives of three comrades in Ramadi, Iraq.
Michael A. Monsoor will be awarded the Medal of Honor posthumously on April 8, 2008 at the White House . By our count he is the third recipient of our nation's highest award for valor in Operation Iraqi Freedom. You can read a short account of his heroic efforts by clicking the title of this posting.
The other two Medal of Honor recipients from OIF so far:
--US Army Sgt. First Class Paul Ray Smith received the award posthumously on April 4, 2005. Smith was leading about 3 dozen men when they were ambushed near Baghdad Airport by Saddam's Republican Guard. Among other actions, Sgt. Smith manned a 50 cal with no cover and killed more than 50 of the enemy. Smith saved his men and, by knocking down so many of the Republican Guard, stopped an attack on a nearby aid station. He didn't stop firing until he took a bullet to the head. It's estimated that he saved at least 100 fellow soldiers.
-- USMC Corporal Jason Dunham was awarded the Medal of Honor on January 11, 2007. It too was awarded posthumously. This young Marine in his mid-20's was leading a patrol near Iraq's Syrian border in April 2004 when he was assaulted by a terrorist who jumped out of a vehicle that was about to be searched. As Corporal Dunham wrestled the man to the ground, the enemy rolled out a grenade he had been hiding. Jason Dunham did not hesitate. He jumped on the grenade, using his helmet and body to absorb the blast. His selflessness saved the lives of the men in his patrol. He survived the grenade explosion but eventually died of the wounds he received.
Monsoor, Smith and Dunham are the only ones awarded this highest honor for valor but they are hardly the only heroes from OIF and Operation Enduring Freedom. Maybe, just maybe, out of dozens of movies and TV shows made about Iraq at least one will be about Smith, Dunham, Monsoor and the many thousand heroes they represent.
Too much to ask?