On Friday, September 8, the Garden Grove Unified School District (GGUSD) dedicated a brand new athletic stadium to Michael A. Monsoor, a 1999 Garden Grove High School graduate, tight-end on the school’s football team, elite Navy SEAL, and posthumous Congressional Medal of Honor recipient. Petty Officer Monsoor sacrificed his life in 2006 while serving in Iraq by jumping on a live grenade to save two of his SEAL teammates.
The bleachers were filled with nearly 3,000 people attending the ceremony, including the Garden Grove Unified School District Board of Education, local elected officials, community members, the captain and crew of the guided missile destroyer USS Michael Monsoor (DDG-1001), Gold Star Parents, and friends and family members of Monsoor.
The dedication ceremony honored Monsoor’s military service with the unveiling of the Navy SEAL trident on the field’s 50-yard line, former Navy SEALs from the Patriot Parachute Team skydiving onto the field while waving large American flags, and a military flyover with Navy Seahawk helicopters. Garden Grove High School’s Vocal Ensemble performed the National Anthem, Pacifica High School’s Navy JROTC presented the colors, and athletes from Garden Grove, Los Amigos, and Santiago high schools unveiled the trident.
The keynote speaker at the stadium dedication was Jason Booher, the founder and first commander of the Navy SEAL unit in Ramadi, Iraq, where Monsoor gave his life. Board of Education President Lan Nguyen presented Sally Monsoor, Michael’s mother, with a football helmet signed by Monsoor’s former football teammates.
“We are so honored that this brand new stunning stadium will bear the name of Michael A. Monsoor – a beloved Argonaut and an American hero,” said Nguyen. “For our athletes, there is no higher honor than playing in a stadium dedicated to someone who lived his life for others and who ultimately gave his own life to save his Navy SEAL teammates.”
Following the dedication, Garden Grove High School played its first home football game of the season against Woodbridge. The state-of-the-art stadium features 4,000 seats, synthetic turf field, a nine-lane synthetic track, energy-efficient lighting, LED scoreboard, well-appointed press box, new restrooms, ticket booths, and a concession stand that honors Monsoor with a plaque describing his heroic actions.
The stadium was made possible in part by Measure P, the district’s $311 million bond measure which received 76.4% approval from voters in November.