October 12, 2007
A Real Hero
Much of the press today is giddy about a gaggle of European socialists giving a Nobel Peace Prize to an environmental charlatan. And yet, there's been scant mention that an authentic American hero who lost his life fighting for peace -- Lt. Michael P. Murphy, USN -- was posthumously awarded the nation's highest military decoration, the Medal of Honor.
Michael Murphy grew up in Patchogue, NY and was a gifted student and athlete. Though accepted at three law schools after his graduation from Penn State, Murphy opted for the Navy and was determined to become a SEAL. He was commissioned an ensign in 2000, qualified as a SEAL in 2002 and deployed to Afghanistan in 2005. The following is an excerpt of the Navy's tribute to Lt. Murphy:
On June 28, 2005, Lt. Murphy was the officer-in-charge of a four-man SEAL element in support of Operation Red Wing tasked with finding key anti-coalition militia commander near Asadabad, Afghanistan. Shortly after inserting into the objective area, the SEALs were spotted by three goat herders who were initially detained and then released. It is believed the goat herders immediately reported the SEALs’ presence to Taliban fighters.
A fierce gun battle ensued on the steep face of the mountain between the SEALs and a much larger enemy force. Despite the intensity of the firefight and suffering grave gunshot wounds himself, Murphy is credited with risking his own life to save the lives of his teammates. Murphy, intent on making contact with headquarters, but realizing this would be impossible in the extreme terrain where they were fighting, unhesitatingly and with complete disregard for his own life moved into the open, where he could gain a better position to transmit a call to get help for his men.
Moving away from the protective mountain rocks, he knowingly exposed himself to increased enemy gunfire. This deliberate and heroic act deprived him of cover and made him a target for the enemy. While continuing to be fired upon, Murphy made contact with the SOF Quick Reaction Force at Bagram Air Base and requested assistance. He calmly provided his unit’s location and the size of the enemy force while requesting immediate support for his team. At one point, he was shot in the back causing him to drop the transmitter. Murphy picked it back up, completed the call and continued firing at the enemy who was closing in. Severely wounded, Lt. Murphy returned to his cover position with his men and continued the battle.
As a result of Murphy’s call, an MH-47 Chinook helicopter, with eight additional SEALs and eight Army Night Stalkers aboard, was sent in as part of the QRF to extract the four embattled SEALs. As the Chinook drew nearer to the fight, a rocket-propelled grenade hit the helicopter, causing it to crash and killing all 16 men aboard.
On the ground and nearly out of ammunition, the four SEALs, continued to fight. By the end of a two-hour gunfight that careened through the hills and over cliffs, Murphy, Gunner’s Mate 2nd Class (SEAL) Danny Dietz and Sonar Technician 2nd Class (SEAL) Matthew Axelson had fallen. An estimated 35 Taliban were also dead. The fourth SEAL, Hospital Corpsman 2nd Class (SEAL) Marcus Luttrell, was blasted over a ridge by a rocket-propelled grenade and knocked unconscious. Though severely wounded, the fourth SEAL and sole survivor, Luttrell, was able to evade the enemy for nearly a day; after which local nationals came to his aide, carrying him to a nearby village where they kept him for three more days. Luttrell was rescued by U.S. Forces on July 2, 2005.
By his undaunted courage, intrepid fighting spirit and inspirational devotion to his men in the face of certain death, Lt. Murphy was able to relay the position of his unit, an act that ultimately led to the rescue of Luttrell and the recovery of the remains of the three who were killed in the battle.
Lt. Murphy was buried at Calverton National Cemetery less than 20 miles from his childhood home.
On October 22 at the White House, Daniel Murphy will accept the Medal of Honor on his son's behalf from President Bush.
LinksSFC Paul R. Smith MoH Tribute
CPL Jason L. Dunham MoH Tribute
LT Michael P. Murphy MoH Tribute
MA2 Michael Monsoor MoH Tribute
MSG Woodrow W. Keeble MoH Tribute
PFC Ross McGinnis MoH Tribute
Coalition to Salute America's Heroes
Statues of Servicemen Fund
VFW Military Assistance Program
Wounded Warrior Project
Freedom Alliance Scholarship Fund
Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund
Adopt A Platoon
Marines-Law Enforcement Foundation
Special Ops Warrior Foundation
America's Heroes of Freedom
Adopt A Sniper
Operation USO Care Package
Operation Military Pride
Books For Soldiers
Vets For Freedom
Gathering of Eagles
Faces of the Fallen
Reagan Presidential Library
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