Born on May 7, 1976, Michael “Murph” Murphy became a US Navy SEAL, deployed to Afghanistan, and was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor . . .
On June 28, 2005, Lt. Michael P. Murphy, leader of a four-man SEAL team on a mission to kill or capture a top Taliban leader in the remote mountains of Afghanistan, suddenly came under a hail of enemy gunfire.
Under attack from up to 40 Taliban fighters, Murphy and his men took cover and began returning fire. In the ensuing bloody engagement, scores of insurgents were killed or wounded and all four Americans were hit.
Despite being shot in the stomach, the 29-year-old lieutenant, known as “The Protector” by his high school buddies because he always looked out for the less-popular kids, “ignored his wounds, continued to lead and encourage his men,” and repeatedly tried to call in support.
“He was in a horrible position. He left himself open so he could move back and forth to each individual guy,” Marcus Luttrell, one of the four SEAL team members, recalled in a CNN interview.
Unable to contact his headquarters and realizing that he and his men were “facing almost certain death,” Lt. Murphy, moved out into the open and began using his satellite phone.
Under intense enemy fire, the muscular, six-foot-tall Smithtown, New York native was struck in the back by enemy fire and collapsed. But before losing consciousness, he made contact with his headquarters, reported his team’s location, and continued to fire on the Taliban fighters.
“I looked back up at Mikey and he took two rounds to the back and sat up and hung up the phone,” Luttrell remembered. “That was the last time I saw him.”
For “his selfless leadership and for giving his life for his country and the cause of freedom,” Lt. Murphy was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor, becoming the first member of the U.S. Navy to receive the award since the Vietnam War.
Murphy’s remains were found five days later by American forces and returned to the United States. Two of Murphy’s teammates were killed during the firefight and posthumously awarded the Navy Cross. The third team member, Marcus Luttrell, the sole survivor of the mission, was rescued by US forces and was also awarded the Navy Cross.
Seven years later, on October 6, 2012, the USS Michael Murphy (DDG-112), an Arleigh Burke-class destroyer named in honor of Lt. Murphy, was commissioned in New York.
Every Memorial Day, thousands of CrossFit fans and military personnel participate in the “Murph Challenge,” an event where people complete a “Murph,” a workout that consists of a 1-mile run, 100 pull-ups, 200 push-ups, 300 squats, and another 1-mile run (all while wearing a 20-pound weight vest or body armor).
Over the past six years, the event has raised more than one million dollars for the Lt. Michael P. Murphy Memorial Scholarship Foundation.
Today we pay tribute to Lt. “Murph” Murphy, his family, and all US Navy SEALs who have served, sacrificed, and died during the War on Terror.
Freedom isn’t Free.