SAN DIEGO, CA, UNITED STATES 09.15.2017 Story by Petty Officer 2nd Class Ryan M Harper Navy Public Affairs Support Element West
SAN DIEGO — (Sept. 15, 2017)
On a mountaintop overlooking the Pacific Ocean, one of the Navy’s newest Chief Petty Officers stands at attention. His newly pinned Chief Anchors shine on his crisp collar. The crowd applauds. The ceremony concludes.
However, the master chief at the podium is not done. He tells the onlookers that there is another brother entering the Chief’s Mess. Master Chief closes his eyes, hesitates, and steps away from the microphone. He nods to another Chief who pulls a sheet from a nearby table, revealing one last Chief Petty Officer combination cover.
The cover is removed from the box and carried reverently through the sideboys, a row of chiefs saluting on either side. The boatswain’s whistle sounds, welcoming Honorary Chief Petty Officer Michael Monsoor into the Chief’s Mess.
Tears stream down Sally Monsoor’s face as she receives the cover on behalf of her son, who is not present.
On Sept. 15, 2017, on Mount Soledad in San Diego, the pre-commisioning unit Zumwalt-class destroyer USS Michael Monsoor (DDG 1001) Chief’s Mess welcomed Chief Petty Officer Monsoor, the ship’s namesake, into their fold.
Petty Officer Second Class (SEAL) Michael A. Monsoor was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor for his actions in combat Sept. 29, 2006 during Operation Iraqi Freedom. His ultimate sacrifice saved the lives of several of his SEAL teammates and allied Iraqi soldiers.
Chief Fire Controlman Kyle Seager, assigned to Michael Monsoor, said the Chief’s Mess collectively decided to submit a package to the office of the Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy (MCPON) requesting Monsoor’s honorary promotion.
“As we learned more about Michael Monsoor over the last year or two, it became obvious that he held all the qualities indicative of a Chief Petty Officer,” Seager said. “This was an opportunity to recognize him for something he did not have the chance to achieve due to his selfless sacrifice.”
Seager said they learned much about Michael Monsoor from his family and teammates. It was these testaments to Monsoor’s character that motivated the Chief’s Mess to submit the package for his promotion.
“It became obvious to us that making him an honorary Chief Petty Officer was the right thing to do,” Seager said. “It was something he had already earned.”
Seager said the crew benefits from having a living connection to their namesake through their relationship with Monsoor’s family.
“The Monsoor family has been amazing,” Seager said.
He said Sally Monsoor welcomed the crew as they endeavored to learn about their namesake.
“She’s opened her heart to us and shared her son and her stories with us, so that we can understand him and ensure our ship honors his memory.”
USS Michael Monsoor is the second of three planned Zumwalt-class guided-missile destroyers. The ship began construction in 2010 in Bath, Maine. Michael Monsoor is currently being outfitted and will be commissioned in Coronado, Calif. in early 2019.
When that day comes, Seager said Monsoor’s crew will be ready to continue their namesake’s mission.
“We have the watch for Michael Monsoor,” Seager said. “Now that he is Chief Monsoor, that watch will continue with new rigor.”