Mo's Manic Monday - Star

Posted: Monday, May 26, 2008 by Travis Cody in

Welcome on this Memorial Day to another Manic Monday with Morgen. Don't forget to cruise by MM HQ at It's A Blog Eat Blog World. Today's theme is Star.

Today's post is in honor of those who have given their lives in the name of duty. Their actions saved the lives of fellow warriors. Their sacrifices earned them this nation's highest award for valor, the Medal of Honor.

The Medal is awarded to any member of the United States Armed Forces who displays "...conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty while engaged in an action against an enemy of the United States..."

I have briefly quoted the circumstances of each action here. You may click on each man's name to read the full citation.

US Army SFC Paul R. Smith (24 Sept 1969 - 4 Apr 2003), B Company, 11th Engineer Battalion, 3rd Infantry Division, Baghdad, Iraq. "SFC Smith braved hostile enemy fire to personally engage the enemy with hand grenades and anti-tank weapons, and organized the evacuation of three wounded soldiers from an armored personnel carrier struck by a rocket propelled grenade and a 60mm mortar round...In total disregard for his own life, he maintained his exposed position in order to engage the attacking enemy force. During this action, he was mortally wounded...while allowing the safe withdrawal of numerous wounded soldiers." SFC Smith was 33 years old.

USMC Cpl Jason L. Dunham (10 Nov 1981 - 22 Apr 2004), 4th Platoon, Company K, 3rd Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment (3/7), I Marine Expeditionary Force, 1st Marine Division, Iraq. "Discovering seven Iraqi vehicles in a column attempting to depart, Corporal Dunham and his team stopped the vehicles to search them for weapons. As they approached the vehicles, an insurgent leaped out and attacked Corporal Dunham. Corporal Dunham wrestled the insurgent to the ground and in the ensuing struggle saw the insurgent release a grenade. Corporal Dunham immediately alerted his fellow Marines to the threat. Aware of the imminent danger and without hesitation, Corporal Dunham covered the grenade with his helmet and body, bearing the brunt of the explosion and shielding his Marines from the blast. In an ultimate and selfless act of bravery in which he was mortally wounded, he saved the lives of at least two fellow Marines." Cpl Dunham was 22 years old.

US Navy Petty Officer Second Class Michael A. Monsoor (4 Apr 1981 - 29 Sept 2006), SEAL Team 3, Delta Platoon, Iraq. "While the SEALs vigilantly watched for enemy activity, an insurgent threw a hand grenade from an unseen location, which bounced off Petty Officer Monsoor’s chest and landed in front of him. Although only he could have escaped the blast, Petty Officer Monsoor chose instead to protect his teammates. Instantly and without regard for his own safety, he threw himself onto the grenade to absorb the force of the explosion with his body, saving the lives of his two teammates." PO2nd Monsoor was 25 years old.

US Army Pfc Ross A. McGinnis (14 June 1987 - 4 Dec 2006), C Company, 1st Battalion, 26th Infantry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division, Iraq. "The White House announced that the nation's highest military honor will be presented June 2 to survivors of U.S. Army Pfc. Ross McGinnis. He will be the fourth service member to receive the highest U.S. award for valor for action in Iraq...He was in the gunner's hatch of a Humvee on Dec. 4, 2006, when a grenade sailed past him into the truck where four other soldiers sat. He shouted a warning to the others, then jumped on the grenade, which was lodged near the vehicle's radio. The grenade blew up and killed him." Pfc McGinnis was 19 years old.

Duty. Honor. Country.

It is my fervent wish that no more young men and women are required to die. But I am also humbled by those who's selfless dedication to the cause of freedom leads them to acts of incredible bravery.

To these men who made the ultimate sacrifice, and to all who came before them, I offer my most sincere thanks.


  1. Beautifully done, Trav! :)

    Happy Manic Memorial Monday.

  1. narissa says:

    very impressive thought and tribute on the American soldiers..

  1. lovely trav, as always!

    smiles, bee

  1. The biggest problem with the MOH? It's almost always awarded posthumously.

    Such valor amid such heartbreak.

    Nicely done, Trav.

  1. Trev, your post brings tears to the Old Sarge, where do we find such great men, men that did not have to die, but chose to in defense of their fellow soldiers.

    Dear Lord, lest I continue in my complacent ways, help me to remember that someone died for me today. And if there be war, help me to remember to ask and to answer “am I worth dying for?”~

  1. the teach says:

    Travis, a wonderful memorial for the men who served their country bravely! Yes, I agree - no more men or women should die in the war in Iraq. We have to give peace a chance! :D

  1. jennifer says:

    Travis, this was so well done. I stand in agreement with you.

    Thank you to those who served and paid the price for our freedom.

    And thank you to those who heed the call, knowing what the outcome could be.

    And thank you in advance to those Warriors in training. I look to the face of my Seven year old son and think of those that have fallen, these that serve now, they were little boys at one time who were loved by moms and dads who had plans of what they wanted to be when they grew up. Did they know that they would be Warriors and Heros?

    Be blessed Travis.


  1. Travis says:

    CWM: Thank you dear.

    Narissa: This was the right time to do something like this.

    Bee: This post has been in my mind for some time now.

    Songbird: Without these men, so willing to make the ultimate sacrifice for their brothers, too many others would die.

    Sarge: Thank you for your service, and for the service of your fellows who never made it home.

    Teach: Indeed.

    Jennifer: Well said.

  1. Anndi says:


    My thanks to them and their families. Those fine young men leave an everlasting void.

    Lest we forget.

  1. Very nice. Days like this I always remember my father's horrific WWII stories.

  1. Wow, Travis, I'm blown away by this post. So well done. There have been quite a few heartfelt posts that have brought me to tears today and this is one of them. God Bless.

  1. My God, the courage. I stand in awe.

  1. Turnbaby says:

    Just a brilliant post and sentiment sugar.

  1. Trav,Thank you for this great posting.

  1. Linda says:

    Thank you, Travis, for highlighting these young men and their bravery today. They deserve so much more than the Medal of Honor. They deserve our thanks and our respect.

    Hope you had a lovely day.

  1. Travis says:

    Ann: But they will never be forgotten.

    Lana: It can be so difficult to understand without the common experience.

    WT4W: I think people understand what this day represents, moreso than some credit.

    Charles: It is humbling.

    Turn: They deserve so much more.

    Mike: Thank you Sir, for your service.

    Linda: And they have it, from me. Thank you for your service too my dear.

  1. Lisa says:

    Wonderful post. I hope we keep the memory of all of those who have died and who have been injured in this war in our hearts and in our minds every day. Thank you for telling the stories of these young men who have made the ultimate sacrifice.

  1. Bond says:

    Excellent Sir...

    Thank you for honoring these men

  1. Travis says:

    Lisa: I was honored to write about these men.

    V: It was my honor.

  1. Dana says:

    At the risk of sounding trite - that was a truly excellent post!

  1. Absolutely beautiful.

  1. I caught my breath reading your tribute Travis. It was perfect!