Dec. 12, 2018 —
PANAMA CITY, Panama (NNS) -- Pre-Commissioning Unit (PCU) Michael Monsoor (DDG 1001) welcomed the president of Panama, Juan Carlos Varela, during a reception held aboard the ship in Panama City, Panama, Nov. 29.
Charge d’Affaires of the U.S. Embassy in Panama, Mrs. Roxanne Cabral, was also in attendance, as well as numerous Panamanian government and military officials.
While addressing the guests, Mrs. Cabral took the opportunity to highlight the long-lasting bond between the United States and Panama.
“While the canal has linked our countries together since the first day of the Panama Republic, it represents only one part of our broad and strong relationship, which is built on trade, security, education, and cultural exchange,” said Cabral. “I want to toast our friendship, the bilateral relationship, and the investment that we all make in making our country stronger and the world a safer place.”
Michael Monsoor was in port Panama City, Panama after completing the Panama Canal transit from the Atlantic Ocean Nov. 28.
"This ship is about the bonds of friendship," said Capt. Scott Smith, Michael Monsoor’s commanding officer. “Michael Monsoor was a fierce friend. He drove his friends to excellence, led them through example, and he was unafraid to stand up to those who might challenge those friends.”
“As we passed through the canal yesterday, I recalled the partnerships between Panama and the United States that have grown since independence and that have increased opportunities for all,” Smith continued. “Michael Monsoor, the ship, represents the latest example of the continuing relationship between our nations, so it is fitting that we are here this afternoon to celebrate our ongoing quest of friendship on a ship dedicated to the very ideal of friendship.”
The Panama Canal serves as a passage between the Atlantic and Pacific oceans for merchant and military vessels, saving them from the nearly 8000-mile journey around South America. Approximately 235 million tons of cargo pass through the canal every year.
Michael Monsoor departed Bath Iron Works in Bath, Maine Nov. 9 to begin the transit to its future homeport of San Diego. The ship had previously made stops at Naval Station Mayport, Fla., Naval Station Guantanamo Bay in Cuba, and Cartagena, Colombia. Michael Monsoor is the second ship in the Zumwalt-class of guided-missile destroyers.
The future USS Michael Monsoor (DDG 1001) is named in honor of Master-at-Arms 2nd Class (SEAL) Michael A. Monsoor who was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor for his heroic actions in Ramadi, Iraq, Sept. 29, 2006. He was positioned on a rooftop when an enemy fighter hurled a hand grenade from an unseen location. The grenade hit him in the chest and bounced onto the deck. Monsoor immediately leapt to his feet and threw himself onto the grenade, smothering it to protect his teammates who were lying in close proximity. The grenade detonated as he came down on top of it, mortally wounding him.
Michael Monsoor is homeported in San Diego and will begin a combat availability and then undergo a combat test period. Michael Monsoor began construction 2013 and is scheduled to be commissioned on Jan. 26, 2019 in Coronado, Calif.
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