RANGER AGAINST WAR: MOH #4: Michael A. Monsoor <

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

MOH #4: Michael A. Monsoor

Michael A. Monsoor

Sic Transit Gloria Mundi


The fourth and final medal of Honor thus far in current hostilities was awarded to Michael A. Monsoor, Master-At-Arms Second Class, US Navy, SEAL, action 29 September 2006.

As a member of a combined SEAL and Iraqi Army Sniper Overwatch Element, tasked with providing early warning and stand-off protection from a rooftop in an insurgent held sector of Ar Ramadi, Iraq, Petty Officer Monsoor distinguished himself by his exceptional bravery in the face of grave danger. In the early morning, insurgents prepared to execute a coordinated attack by reconnoitering the area around the element’s position. Element snipers thwarted the enemy’s initial attempt by eliminating two insurgents. The enemy continued to assault the element, engaging them with a rocket-propelled grenade and small arms fire. As enemy activity increased, Petty Officer Monsoor took position with his machine gun between two teammates on an outcropping of the roof.

Here is the same scenario as the case of Jason Dunham, except here it is played out with SEAL personnel, highly trained experts in UW/GW. Again, U.S. types were put in positions that required extreme measures for the team to survive.

The first question is:
Why did this element not have indirect fire support on call?

Second: Why is a sniper section of high value assets stuck out in an area without mutual support or interlocking fires of adjacent units? This is not Cowboys and Indians. No enemy should be allowed to get within grenade distance of a sniper enclave without friendlies putting protective direct fire on approaching hostiles.

Third: What is the
escape and evasion plan? How would such a sniper element be exfiltrated if everything went wrong -- which is exactly what happened?

Four: Why would an SOF asset be used in areas that had hostile avenues of approach that were not covered by obstacles and fire?

Monsoor's scenario is yet another example of putting troops into harm's way without proper planning considerations evaluating enemy activity, avenues of approach and likely courses of action. These failures led to a situation which forced Monsoor to take action that would have been avoided through careful planning and mission preparation.

These are ugly truths, and Ranger held off making these observations for some time, hoping someone else would pick up the bloody mess. It is a crime when brave men lose their lives via poor planning.

Calling their actions heroic and giving their parents the son's posthumous medal does not ameliorate the manifold failures which went into causing these men's deaths.
Their heroism is the result of that poor planning.

It is not that the Soldiers' and Marines' actions were above and beyond the call of duty, so much as the command put them into positions that required above and beyond performance.

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Anonymous Labrys the Bitter said...

There is a song, someplace in my collection, that talks about "shaping the invisible"...and men going off to war that never ends. These articles about the MOH winners remind me of that; our military is not only being asked to shape an invisible and possible non-existent policy of winning; but the impossible is demanded as well. It is not the lamentations of the enemy's women we will long hear echoing....but our lamentations. I just wish the so-called leaders responsible could bear more of that load personally.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008 at 10:43:00 AM GMT-5  
Blogger The Minstrel Boy said...

every time i toted the long rifle my orders were absolutely specific. when using it as covering protection it was with a team that was absolutely involved with every step of the planning. the most disturbing thing about these stories is that there is a lack of contingency planning. most of us understood well that the enemy gets a vote in all action. and that their vote is for our first plan to not work. that's where plans "b" "c" and "d" (which we used to joke was short for didi mau len!) were all understood and, in best cases executed without hesitation.

there is a real breakdown here. like cicero said "fish rot from the head."

Wednesday, May 14, 2008 at 10:55:00 AM GMT-5  
Blogger The Minstrel Boy said...

for those unfamiliar with vietnamese

di = go

didi = go faster

mau len = more intensifiers

didi mau len = get the fuck outta there with all possible fucking dispatch.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008 at 11:02:00 AM GMT-5  
Blogger HopeSpringsATurtle said...

I cannot read your post ranger without tears in my eyes. You posit excellent questions that constantly challenge the military and civilian leadership of our armed forces. Questions that beg to be answered. Thank you for staying true.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008 at 1:00:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger rangeragainstwar said...

Turtle, it breaks my heart to write of these things. jim

Wednesday, May 14, 2008 at 3:44:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger rangeragainstwar said...

MB, there is a thread of laxity running thru all 4 of these actions. Sad but imho true.
You don't have to tell me didi twice. All you have to do is have fear in your eye and i'm ready to drop my ruck and run. jim

Wednesday, May 14, 2008 at 3:47:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger rangeragainstwar said...

Labrys, i writre these things because our so called leaders deon't have a clue. jim

Wednesday, May 14, 2008 at 3:49:00 PM GMT-5  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't think, Jim, that our current crop of "leaders" are capable of getting a clue. One has to WANT a clue, first.
They want our reality shaped to their fantasy...wish they'd hold their breath while waiting.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008 at 9:15:00 PM GMT-5  

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