The Magazine

A Debt That Can Never Be Repaid

Michael Monsoor is awarded the Medal of Honor.

Apr 21, 2008, Vol. 13, No. 30 • By MICHAEL FUMENTO
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The SEALs have their own ways of honoring their fallen. Three weeks after my rendezvous with him, Mikey saved yet another SEAL's life by dragging the severely wounded man to safety with one arm while using the other arm to keep the enemy back with bursts from his powerful (but heavy) MK48. He earned a Silver Star in the field for that action. Mikey's aunt and godmother Patty O'Conner sent me a photo she'd received of a tattoo the rescued SEAL had imprinted on his torso. It shows Mikey with his machine gun and in full battle dress, but also wearing angel wings. Alongside it is the prayer to Saint Michael (the Archangel), which some Catholics (Monsoor's religion) recite in defense against the forces of darkness.

The prayer entreats the Archangel to "defend us in battle" and "be our protection" against wickedness. A Medal of Honor is not beatification. But the prayer fits. And it's not just those men who were in that sniper post who owe thanks to Michael Monsoor.

Michael Fumento, education and research director at the American Security Council Foundation in Washington, D.C., was embedded three times in Iraq and once in Afghanistan.