“The Navy has reached an agreement with General Dynamics-Bath Iron Works for pricing, terms and conditions for DDGs 1001 and 1002,” Sean Stackley, the Navy’s top acquisition official, announced on July 26, 2011. Zumwalt (DDG 1000), the first of class ship, is about one-third complete, and work on long lead construction items has been under way on the second ship, USS Michael Monsoor (DDG 1001), but a definitive construction contract was necessary for construction to proceed to the next level.
The USS Michael Monsoor (DDG 1001) will be a multi-mission surface combatant tailored for advanced land attack and coastal dominance. U.S. Navy destroyers are normally named after prominent naval heroes, with the authority for naming these vessels resting within the Office of the Secretary of the Navy. Often names are recycled, reflecting the importance of certain figures and the warships named after them in Navy history. When the U.S. Navy contracts ships to be built, the secretary’s office diligently begins the research process to properly name the vessel in a way that represents the true values and virtues of its force. This is the second ship named after a post-9/11 Medal of Honor recipient, and one of only two to be named in honor of a Navy SEAL. Military rank is never a consideration when it comes to the ship’s naming; the only qualifying factors considered are courage, heroism and selfless service and sacrifice for our nation.
As a child Michael Monsoor suffered from asthma, so he swam and played football to develop and strengthen his lungs. He entered the Navy knowing that less than a third of those who attempt SEAL training actually graduate and obtain the coveted Trident. Monsoor, however, was determined, confident and took the leap of faith in himself, knowing that if he set his mind to it, he would make it happen. In September 2004, Monsoor successfully completed SEAL training and earned the right to wear the coveted Trident.
By Spring 2006, Monsoor was deployed in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom and was operating in the Al Anbar province town of Ramadi. On Sept. 29, 2006, Monsoor’s team was again engaged in a firefight with insurgents – killing one and injuring another. Anticipating further attacks, Monsoor, along with three SEAL snipers and three Iraqi Army soldiers, took up an overwatch position on a nearby rooftop. Shortly after establishing their position, an insurgent from the street below tossed a grenade up onto the rooftop, hitting Monsoor in the chest. Monsoor yelled “Grenade!” and immediately jumped onto the explosive, covering it with his body to save his comrades. The grenade exploded, mortally wounding Monsoor, who succumbed to his injuries 30 minutes later.
Almost the entire West Coast SEAL community turned out for Mike Monsoor’s funeral at Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery in San Diego, Calif. As the SEALs paid their final respects walking by the casket, they all removed their shiny, gold Tridents and one by one slapped them onto the top of casket. That simple wooden casket became a gold plated memorial to a hero.
Michael Monsoor clearly exemplified the qualities, values and dedication to duty that Navy SEALs live by day to day, and sacrificed his life with one extraordinary deed. His heroism and self-sacrifice for his teammates and nation epitomize the Navy’s core values. Monsoor was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor by President George W. Bush on April 8, 2008, for his courageous and selfless actions in Ramadi on Sept. 29, 2006, which saved the lives of two fellow SEALs.
On Oct. 29, 2008, during the 3rd Annual Navy SEAL Warrior Fund Benefit Gala in New York, then-Secretary of the Navy the Honorable Dr. Donald C. Winter announced the naming of the Zumwalt-class destroyer USS Michael Monsoor (DDG 1001), one of three of the giant destroyers set to be built. The ship’s mission is to provide credible, independent forward presence and deterrence and to operate as an integral part of naval, joint or combined maritime forces.
- Monsoor is being built by Huntington Ingalls Industries in Pascagoula, Mississippi, and is scheduled to be commissioned in 2015.
- The ship will be 600 feet long, have an 80.7-foot beam and displace about 15,000 tons.
- The Monsoor will have a crew of 148 officers and sailors and travel at a speed of more than 30 knots.
- Each DDG 1000 will carry 80 VLS missile launchers dispersed along the edges of the hull.
- These launchers can be loaded with Tomahawk land attack cruise missiles (TLAMs), Evolved Sea Sparrow Missiles (ESSMs) and Standard-type air defense missiles.
- The ship’s design also includes two landing spots and hangars for a pair of helicopters or UAVs.
Michael Monsoor’s name will live on, borne by a great ship built to go in harm’s way, and his legacy will be embodied by the future sailors who serve on the ship that carries his name.