An elite Navy SEAL who threw himself on top of a grenade in Iraq to save his comrades will be posthumously awarded the nation's highest military tribute, a White House spokeswoman said Monday.
The Medal of Honor will be awarded to Petty Officer 2nd Class Michael A. Monsoor. His family will receive the medal during a White House ceremony April 8.
Monsoor is the fourth person to receive the honor since the beginning of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars.
"Petty Officer Monsoor distinguished himself by extraordinary heroism on Sept. 29, 2006," press secretary Dana Perino told reporters during a briefing aboard Air Force One as President Bush headed to Europe for a NATO summit.
Monsoor was part of a sniper security team in Ramadi with three other SEALs and eight Iraqi soldiers, according to a Navy account. An insurgent fighter threw the grenade, which struck Monsoor in the chest before falling in front of him.
Monsoor then threw himself on the grenade, according to a SEAL who spoke to The Associated Press in 2006 on condition of anonymity because his work requires his identity to remain secret.
"He never took his eye off the grenade, his only movement was down toward it," said a 28-year-old lieutenant, who suffered shrapnel wounds to both legs that day. "He undoubtedly saved mine and the other SEALs' lives, and we owe him."