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Iridium salutes the courage of the brave heroes of Operation Red Wings and especially LT. Michael P. Murphy, US Navy SEAL, who knowingly and without hesitation sacrificed his life to help save his fellow soldiers. We wish a safe passage to the crew of the USS Michael Murphy (DDG-112), christened on May 7, 2011 in honor of LT. Michael P. Murphy. To all the men and women serving in the armed forces, Iridium extends its gratitude and respect.

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May 7, 2011 USS Michael Murphy DDG -112




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10 Meet the

12 Meet the

13 Meet the

Ship’s Sponsor

Ship’s Commander

Ship’s Executive Officer

Ten questions for Maureen Murphy, Michael Murphy’s mother.

Cmdr. Thomas E. Shultz will be the USS Michael Murphy’s first commander.

Cmdr. Corey J. Turner will be the USS Michael Murphy’s first XO.

14 Biography of

16 The patch for

18 The men of

Lt. Michael P. Murphy

El Barrio’s Bravest

Operation Red Wings

The young SEAL’s military career appeared to be on the fast track.

Michael Murphy was dedicated to honoring some of the FDNY’s finest.

Michael Murphy and the mission that led to the Medal of Honor.

May 7, 2011 USS Michael Murphy DDG -112




The men and women of Anheuser Busch honor the memory of

Lt. Michael P. Murphy US Navy (SEAL) and wish safe passage to the crew of the DDG-112.







24 The portrait

25 The citation for the

26 The portrait of the

of Michael Murphy

Medal of Honor

USS Michael Murphy

Artist Gerald Slater’s painting of Murphy honors the Navy hero.

Word-for-word description of Michael Murphy’s heroism in battle.

The Navy’s official rendering shows the destroyer in all her glory.

28 Building the

36 Laying the

40 The legacy

USS Michael Murphy

Murphy’s keel

of Michael Murphy

Bath Iron Works fabricates the mighty Arleigh Burke-class ship.

The family catches its first glimpse of Michael Murphy’s name on the hull.

SEAL’s belief in core American values still burns brightly.

May 7, 2011 USS Michael Murphy DDG -112



Salutes Lt. Michael P. Murphy U.S. Navy SEAL On June 18, 2010, Dan and Maureen Murphy inscribed the signatures of Lt. Murphy’s family on an iron plate during a dedication ceremony for Pre-Commissioning Unit (PCU) Michael Murphy. The plate was affixed to the ship’s hull during the ceremony. Lt. Murphy was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor for his actions during Operation Red Wings in Afghanistan in June 2005. He was the first U.S. Navy SEAL awarded the Medal of Honor since the Vietnam War.

Contents The Team Publisher: David Peabody Editor: Julie Bird Dedication: President George W. Bush Editorial Contributors: Julie Bird Tom Breen Gary Williams Christening Publication Task Force: Michael Clarke Thomas Sutherland Gary Williams Kim Wolfert DEFENSE STANDARD Operations Center: Executive Vice President: Kelly Montgomery Vice President, Operations: Daniel Peabody Vice President, Sponsorships: Joe Gonzalez Military and Government Relations: Martin McAuliffe Publisher’s Assistant: Benjamin Peabody Creative Director: Matthew Cerra Designers: Samantha Gibbons, Jennifer Roark-McCants Special Thanks to: Daniel Murphy Maureen Murphy John Murphy Peter K. Hsu Jim DiMartini, Bath Iron Works Christopher G. Johnson, NAVSEA Nate Evans, FDNY Engine 53, Ladder 43 Gerald Slater, Artist John Horton photo: Cmdr. R.K. Lovell May 7, 2011 USS Michael Murphy DDG -112 Copyright 2011. All Rights Reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part is strictly prohibited without the written consent of DEFENSE STANDARD. The opinions expressed within the publication do not necessarily represent the views of the publisher. DEFENSE STANDARD ™ is a registered trademark and its use is protected by federal and international law. Note: Neither Department of Defense nor any other U.S. Government agency has approved, endorsed or authorized this publication to any degree. No such inference is suggested, inferred or communicated in any way.



Maureen Murphy, mother of Navy Lt. Michael Murphy, accepts her son’s Medal of Honor from President George W. Bush in an October 2007 ceremony at the White House. photo: Chief Mass Comm. Spec. James Pinsky

Interview A Q&A with Ship Sponsor

Maureen Murphy By Gary Williams

serviceman and now there is this huge ship named in his honor.

How and when did you learn you were to be the sponsor for your son’s ship?


learned that I was to be the sponsor of my son’s ship on May 7, 2008, Michael’s birthday. There were two dedications to him on that day, the first being the renaming of the Patchogue Post Office and the second, a park at Lake Ronkonkoma. Dr. Donald Winter, the former secretary of the Navy, made the announcement during the park dedication ceremony. What is the role of a ship’s sponsor? The ship's sponsor brings the spirit of the namesake to the ship and forms a personal family bond with the crew of the ship. What does being the ship’s sponsor mean to you? For me, it is very important that I take on the role of a mother figure and let each and every crew member know that they have an important job to do and are very much a part of this family. How to you plan to fulfill the unique role of sponsor of the USS Michael Murphy? I plan on writing and visiting the ship in order to get to know each and every member on board. That would include having meals, talking and even having a friendly game of cards.

Prior to the christening there is a “masting” ceremony in which items are sealed into a steel box below the ship’s mast. What items will be included for your son’s ship? Some of the items placed in the steel box will be rosary beads for the safety of all the men on board, the collectors’ coins of Michael and his SEAL team, a baseball card of Mike when he was in Little League, the Trident, several monetary coins to equal $1.12 (being the number of the ship), and various other personal items. What type of "christening fluid" do you intend to use in christening the ship? I intend to christen his ship with a traditional bottle of champagne. You attended the keel authentication ceremony last year. What were your thoughts when you saw your son’s name emblazoned on the hull of the ship? It was a very bittersweet moment that made me want to cry. When I saw his name up on the hull of the ship, I was sad that he was not there, but I was also very proud. No matter what Michael took on in life, whether it was his studies or the sports he played, he always started out very unassuming. But in the end he always, just like cream, rose to the top. He started his military career as a

With all of the accolades that have been bestowed upon your son, what do you think he would think of all of the attention? He would probably be embarrassed because he was a very humble man. If he was still physically around, he would be honored, but he would probably watch all of the ceremonies from the back of the crowd. Just like in most of his photographs, he would be in the background and never up front to grab the glory. What is the legacy Maureen Murphy your son leaves to us as well as future generations? To be the best friend that you can possibly be, always be loyal to your family, do a job well and always do the right thing no matter what. What would you like the world to know and remember about Michael Murphy? Mike was a blessing to me, his father, brother and entire family from the very moment he was born. He was smart, handsome, polite, confident, had a wonderful sense of humor and a heart of gold. He always had a great sense of right and wrong, and did the right things in life because it was the right thing to do.

May 7, 2011 USS Michael Murphy DDG -112



Bios Commander USS Michael Murphy (DDG-112)

Thomas E. Shultz C

mdr. Thomas Shultz, a native of El Cajon, Calif., was commissioned in July 1994 after completing the Naval ROTC program at the University of California Los Angeles. Following commissioning, he completed the Surface Warfare Officers School Division Officer Course in Newport, R.I. He was then assigned to the USS Monsoon (PC 4) as the weapons, deck and supply officer. His second division officer tour was aboard the USS Sides (FFG 14) as the main propulsion assistant and auxiliaries officer. He then attended the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, Calif., where he earned a master's degree in mechanical engineering. Upon completion of the Surface Warfare Officers School Department Head Course, Shultz was assigned as chief engineer on the USS Mobile Bay (CG 53)

from June 2002 until June 2005. During his tour Mobile Bay made two Arabian Gulf deployments. From July 2002 until April 2003, Mobile Bay deployed with the Abraham Lincoln Strike Group, participating in Operations Southernh Watch, Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom. Mobile Bay next deployed with Expeditionary Strike Group Three from June 2004 until December 2004 for Operation Iraqi Freedom. Following completion of his department head tour, Shultz was assigned as the flag lieutenant for the commander of Naval Surface Force, U.S. Atlantic Fleet. He then commanded USS Patriot (MCM 7), homeported in Sasebo, Japan, from January 2007 until August 2008. While Shultz was in command, Patriot earned consecutive Battle E and Retention Excellence Awards. He reported as chief staff officer of COMDESRON 7 in September 2008 and made two deployments with the Ronald Reagan Strike Group in support of Operations Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom.

USS Patriot won consecutive Battle E and Retention Excellence Awards under Shultz’ command.

Cmdr. Thomas E. Shultz is a 17-year veteran of the Navy. photo: U.S. Navy

photo: U.S. Navy


USS Michael Murphy DDG -112

Christening May 7, 2011

Guided-missile cruiser USS Mobile Bay (CG 53)

Executive Officer USS Michael Murphy (DDG-112)

Corey J.Turner C

mdr. Corey Turner graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy in 1995 with a bachelor's degree in chemistry. His initial sea assignment after graduation was a split tour as damage control assistant and then assistant operations officer in USS Milius (DDG-69), homeported in San Diego, where he was part of the ship’s maiden deployment. Turner’s follow-on assignment was to Department Head School in Newport, R.I. Upon completion of Department Head School, Turner was assigned to precommisioning crew in USS McCampbell (DDG-85), built in Bath, Maine, and homeported in

of Commander Destroyer Squadron Twenty-One as operations/plans officer, completing a 3rd/7th Fleet deployment aboard USS John C. Stennis (CVN-74) in support of Operation Northern Edge, RIMPAC 2004, JASEX and various multinational exercises. Turner earned his master’s degree in national security and strategic studies from the U.S. Naval War College in Newport, R.I.. Upon graduation he remained at the college as a member of the Naval Operational Planner Course, subsequently earning a designation as a joint operational planner. He then went to the

Turner was deputy director for plans for the U.S. Fifth Fleet, supporting counter-piracy operations and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. San Diego. He served as operations officer during building and manning of the ship, initial sea qualifications and subsequent deployment work-ups for counterdrug operations. He then reported to the staff

commander's staff at North American Aerospace Defense Command and United States Northern Command, J-5 Plans, Policy and Strategy Directorate, in Colorado Springs, Colo. Assigned as a lead strategic planner, Turner conducted numerous Defense Support to Civil Authorities (DSCA) planning events, to include support for hurricanes, wildfires,winter storms, pandemic preparedness and inauguration day. Turner then reported to the commander's staff at U.S. Navy’s Fifth Fleet Combined Maritime Forces, photo: U.S. Navy U.S. Naval Forces Central

Cmdr. Corey J. Turner graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy in 1995. photo: U.S. Navy

Command and Commander U.S. Fifth Fleet, Manama, Bahrain, as the deputy director for plans, supporting maritime security operations, counterpiracy operations and Operations Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom. His personal decorations include the Defense Meritorious Service Medal, Meritorious Service Medal, Navy Commendation Medal (two gold stars), Navy Achievement Medal (one gold star) and various individual and unit service ribbons.

May 7, 2011 USS Michael Murphy DDG -112



The SEAL United States Navy (SEAL) May 7, 1976 - June 28, 2005

Lieutenant Michael P. Murphy By Gary Williams


. Michael P. Murphy was born May 7, 1976, in Smithtown, N.Y., and grew up in the small town of Patchogue on Long Island’s south shore. He played sports and attended Patchogue's Saxton Middle School. In high school, Murphy took a summer lifeguard job at the Brookhaven town beach in Lake Ronkonkoma -- a job he kept each summer throughout his college years. A member of the National Honor Society, Murphy graduated from Patchogue-Medford High School in 1994. A young Michael Murphy attended P. Murphy Pennylvania State University, is pictured where he was an exceptional in the 1994 all-around student athlete excelling at ice hockey and Patchoguegraduating with honors. His Medford High reading interests ranged from School yearbook. works by the Greek historian photo: Courtesy the Herodotus to Tolstoy's War Murphy Family and Peace. Murphy's favorite book was Steven Pressfield’s Gates of Fire about the Spartan stand at Thermopylae. In 1998, he graduated with twin bachelor's degrees in political science and psychology. He was accepted to several law schools including Fordham and the University of Tennessee, but instead he changed course. Although slightly built and just 5 feet 10


USS Michael Murphy DDG -112

inches tall, Murphy attended SEAL mentoring sessions at the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy under the mentorship of retired Capt. Andrew Bisset. He set his sights on becoming a Navy SEAL. Murphy accepted an appointment to the Navy's Officer

in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. Promoted early to the rank of lieutenant junior grade after returning from Qatar, he was deployed to Djibouti in the Horn of Africa to assist in operational planning for future SDV missions.

Murphy was promoted early to the rank of lieutenant junior grade, and again to lieutenant. Candidate School at Pensacola, Fla., in September 2000. Commissioned as an ensign on Dec. 13, 2000, Murphy began Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL (BUD/S) training in Coronado, Calif., in January 2001, graduating with Class 236. BUD/S, an intense sixmonth training course with a completion rate just over 20 percent, is the first step to becoming a Navy SEAL. After graduating from BUD/S, Murphy attended the Army Jump School, SEAL Qualification Training and SEAL Delivery Vehicle (SDV) School. Murphy earned his SEAL Trident and checked on board SDV Team (SDVT) 1 in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, in July 2002. He deployed with Foxtrot Platoon to Jordan as the liaison officer for Exercise Early Victor in October 2002. Following his tour with SDVT-1, Murphy was assigned to Special Operations Central Command in Florida and deployed to Qatar

Christening May 7, 2011

He was again promoted early, to the rank of lieutenant, and assigned to SEAL Delivery Vehicle Team 1 as assistant officer in charge of ALFA Platoon. In January 2005 he deployed to Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. On June 28, 2005, Murphy was the officer

photo: U.S. Navy

Basic Underwater Demolition/ SEAL (BUD/S) Graduating Class 236 Murphy is pictured in the far left on the back row.

in charge of a four-man SEAL element in support of Operation Red Wings, which was tasked with finding a key anticoalition militia commander near Asadabad, Afghanistan. Shortly after inserting into the objective area, the SEALs were spotted by three goat herders, who were initially detained but were released. It is believed the goat herders reported the SEALs’ presence to Taliban fighters. A fierce gun battle ensued between the SEALs and a much larger enemy force on the steep face of the mountain. Despite the intensity of the firefight, Murphy risked his own life to save the lives of his teammates. Intent on making contact with headquarters, but realizing this would be impossible in the extreme terrain where they were fighting, Murphy 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 intense enemy gunfire. This deliberate and heroic act made him a target. 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 units’ 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 were closing in. Murphy, by now gravely wounded, 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, was sent as part of the Quick Reaction Force to extract the four embattled SEALs. As the Chinook drew nearer to the fight, a rocketpropelled grenade hit the helicopter, causing a crash 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

Murphy deployed to Afghanistan in January 2005 in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. photo: Courtesy the Murphy Family

careened through the hills and over cliffs, Murphy, Gunner’s Mate 2nd Class Danny Dietz and Sonar Technician 2nd Class Matthew Axelson had fallen. An estimated 35 Taliban were also dead. The fourth SEAL, Hospital Corpsman 2nd Class Marcus Luttrell, was able to evade the enemy and was rescued by U.S. forces on July 2, 2005. Demonstrating undaunted courage, intrepid fighting spirit and inspirational devotion to his men in the face of certain death, 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. Murphy was buried with full military honors at Calverton National Cemetery less

than 20 miles from his childhood home. His personal awards include the Medal of Honor, Silver Star, Purple Heart, Joint Service Commendation Medal, Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Afghanistan Campaign Medal with Star, Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal, Global War on Terrorism Medal, Navy Expert Rifle, Navy Expert Pistol, gold parachute wings, and the Navy Trident. Murphy is survived by his mother Maureen Murphy; his father Dan Murphy; and his brother John Murphy, who graduated from the New York Institute of Technology and is a police officer with the Southampton Police Department.

May 7, 2011 USS Michael Murphy DDG -112



The Patch Fire in Their Hearts:

The Men Who Inspired Michael Murphy By Tom Breen


t is a venerable firehouse building, worn and proud, set in New York City’s Spanish Harlem on Third Avenue, home of Engine Company 53/Ladder Company

Lt. Michael P. Murphy, a Navy SEAL, never a fireman in practice, but now a fireman’s legend in heart and spirit. Murphy in every way is one of them. “Murph has become

When terrorists attacked New York in 2001, the two grew even closer as friends. 43. They call the area El Barrio, a place vibrating with incessant chattering voices and high drama. After 9/11, the Fire Department of New York (FDNY) became the stuff of legend and lore, with so many among its ranks offering up their lives to rescue the injured and dying as the Twin Towers crumbled in the wake of the terrorist attack. The firemen are “El Barrio’s Bravest,” the name on their house patch. Since the attack the firehouse, like other stations across the city, serves as a sacred place for New Yorkers and visitors, with 9/11 never far from people’s thoughts. It is sacred for another reason, becoming a living memorial to Medal of Honor recipient


USS Michael Murphy DDG -112

our guy, and everyone who knew him is family to us,” says firefighter Nate Evans, 32, a former Marine from Pennsylvania. The story of Engine Company 53/Ladder Company 43, usually referred to as E53/L43, begins with a summer friendship between Murphy, killed heroically in Afghanistan in the summer of 2005, and Owen O’Callaghan, first a firefighter and now a Suffolk County, N.Y., police officer. The two met as lifeguards in the mid-1990s along the beaches of suburban Long Island, bonding immediately, working together and partying together. Both Irish-Americans, gregarious by nature, they remained friends as their lives progressed, Murphy as a Navy SEAL

Christening May 7, 2011

and O’Callaghan as a city public servant. When terrorists attacked New York in 2001, the two grew even closer as friends. The sacrifice of scores of New York firemen dying in and after the attack, including O’Callaghan’s uncle Daniel, touched Murphy in myriad ways, laying the groundwork for the ties between a fallen hero and the roughly 60 men of E53/L43 that remain tight today. Because of 9/11, the primary FDNY patch, along with the house patches, ended up national and international symbols, illustrative of the daily sacrifices made by firefighters along the streets of New York, but an even broader symbol for all the men and women asked to protect us during wars, civil emergencies, and from the fires and crime that threaten each of us at any moment. In 2005, as Lt. Murphy braced for combat in the mountains and valleys of Afghanistan with his SEAL teammates, he asked O’Callaghan to give him a “few” of the “El Barrio’s Bravest” house patches to distribute to his men. “How many do you want?”

The home of El Barrio’s Bravest in New York’s Spanish Harlem is now a haven for SEALs. photo: Courtesy of El Barrio’s Bravest

O’Callaghan wondered. “Twenty-five would be good,” Murphy said. O’Callaghan shot back, “Twenty-five, are you serious?” “Yes, twenty-five.” That’s how an FDNY firehouse patch found its way to Afghanistan, a visible reminder of why U.S. troops are fighting abroad, O’Callaghan says. With these patches, the stories of Michael Murphy and El Barrio’s Bravest began to intertwine. Now, SEALS, many from Murphy’s SEAL Delivery Vehicle Team One (SDVT-1), find their way to the firehouse, staying overnight occasionally, sharing meals and long conversations, and relishing the firefighters’ company. Many of the men of E53/L43 served in the military, some in combat, and some still are in the reserve forces. Two firehouse leaders, Capt. Eugene Kananowicz and Capt. Al Hagan, offered their full support as the firefighter-SEAL bond formed, O’Callaghan says. "They are good men." In addition to the long and winding conversations and steak dinners with SEALs and other military folk stopping by for visits (“We pay for our own steaks, not the city,”

Evans makes clear, loudly and with a laugh), El Barrio’s Bravest have forged an intense friendship with Murphy’s family -- father Dan, mother Maureen, and Michael’s younger brother John, 25. For instance, when Michael received the Medal of Honor posthumously in October 2007, a trio of representatives from E53/L43 attended the firehouse ceremony. While in D.C. for the Medal of Honor ceremonies, firehouse members presented a plaque to Murphy’s SEAL Delivery Vehicle Team One. Later, Murphy’s SEAL team traveled to the firehouse to present another plaque that currently hangs there. Says O’Callaghan of the plaque presentation, “It was a very emotional moment for everyone involved. The [visit to the firehouse] was an opportunity for the SEALs to find closure and the firehouse seemed to provide a place where we all could let our guards down together. The SEALs could break their stoic mold and reflect, while the firemen offered their thanks and sincere appreciation.” The plaque from the SEALs features Michael’s photograph, as well as the “El

Barrio’s Bravest” patch he wore at the end, his SEAL trident, and a marker that reads: “To the men of Engine Co 53, Ladder Co 43 from SDVT-1 in memory of our fallen teammate and brother LT Michael P Murphy. Murph wore this patch on every operation including the one in which he fell.” At least 20 of El Barrio’s Bravest planned to attend the May 7 christening at Bath Iron Works in Maine of the USS Michael Murphy. “Murph honored us, and we’re going to continue to honor him,” Evans says of a man he never met, but now feels he knows like a brother. For O’Callaghan, Murphy’s close pal from lifeguarding days in suburban Long Island, the christening is yet another moment to remember a friend, a guy who treated Afghanistan the way the men of E53-L43 treat a burning building, or a crumbling tower: You do what you have to do. So when the USS Michael Murphy is welcomed to the Navy fleet, the Murphy family will add the “El Barrio's Bravest” firehouse patch to the mast box of the ship. The flame of Michael Murphy, and the men of E53/L43, burns bright.

May 7, 2011 USS Michael Murphy DDG -112



The Mission Michael Murphy and the

Men of Operation Red Wings By Tom Breen


he gravestone has settled into God’s good earth, out there on the Atlantic coast, peaceful and pristine, far removed from wartime. The stone at the Calverton National Cemetery honors Navy Lt. Michael P. Murphy, the first SEAL since the Vietnam War to receive the Medal of Honor. Murphy’s memorial rests near the small Long Island town of Patchogue where he grew up, on the outskirts of New York

Calverton, also is known as the hero of Hindu Kush. The night of June 28, 2005, was clear when guerrillas, probably from the Taliban, fired on Murphy’s team in Afghanistan’s treacherous Hindu Kush mountain range, a subset of the Himalayans, near the Pakistan border. The guerrillas, 50 to 100 of them, depending on the report, killed Murphy and his SEAL team members, Matt Axelson and Danny

Murphy’s “objective was clear: to make one last valiant (effort) to save his .... teammates.” City, and several thousand miles from the Afghan mountains where he died six years ago this summer in an operation to apprehend a high-ranking enemy militant. In his Long Island town, Murphy still is remembered as the fun-loving kid who played ice hockey, read everything in sight as a Penn State college student including War and Peace, and chose the SEALs over law school. Now, Murphy, as he rests at

Dietz. A fourth SEAL with them, Hospital Corpsman 2nd Class Marcus Luttrell, survived. As the three lay dying, and Luttrell unconscious, an MH-47 Chinook lightly armored helicopter tried to rescue them, but was shot down by the same guerrillas. Eight other SEALs, and eight Army Night Stalkers, died. More SEALs died on that day than in any other SEAL operation in history. Murphy made international headlines,

posthumously being awarded the Medal of Honor. The other three on Murphy’s team received the second-highest honor, the Navy Cross. Their story has been told countless times, in the press including Murphy’s hometown paper, Newsday, in Luttrell’s book, Lone Survivor, and on innumerable Internet sites. Part of Luttrell’s account tells of how Murphy exposed himU.S. Army CH-47 self to fire, heading for Chinook helicopter an open area away from jagged cliffs so he could radio for help: photo: U.S. Navy “(Murphy) walked to open ground. He walked until he was more or less in the center, gunfire all around him, and he sat on a small rock and began punching the numbers to HQ. ... I could hear him talking. ‘My men are taking heavy fire -we’re getting picked apart. My guys are dying out here -- we need help.’ ... And right then Mikey took a bullet straight in the back. I saw the blood spurt from his chest. He slumped forward, dropping his phone and

May 7, 2011 USS Michael Murphy DDG -112



The Mission

Murphy’s battle-hardened SEAL team

“Out there along the jagged cliffs of the Hindu Kush, Murphy and his team took on a mythic veneer.”

poses together in this undated photo from Afghanistan. photo: U.S. Navy

his rifle. But then he braced himself, grabbed them [phone and rifle] ... sat upright again, and once more put the phone to his ear.” Dying, Murphy said on the phone, ‘Roger that, Sir, thank you,’ and continued to engage the enemy.” Murphy’s “objective was clear: to make one last valiant (effort) to save his .... teammates.” Luttrell survived after being knocked unconscious, and was found later by friendly villagers. Murphy’s actions -- phone and rifle in hand, blood spurting -- now are engraved in SEAL lore, a lasting metaphor for the valor and loyalty to one another that defines Special Operations. Indeed, out there along the jagged cliffs of the Hindu Kush, Murphy and his team took on a mythic veneer. If it were another time in American history, during World War I or II, their valor would be locked into the American psyche, right up there with Audie Murphy from World War II, connected to Michael by spirit if not blood, and Alvin York from World War I. Yet military heroes in our current world


USS Michael Murphy DDG -112

seem to fade, recognized for a short while and then cast aside, if not forgotten. Perhaps, however, as times passes, the Saga of Red Wings will occupy its proper place in military lore. The story of Murphy’s uncompromising bravery, as told by Luttrell, and the valor of the other SEALs and the Army Night Stalkers, is a story that never grows old. Like any tale of war, it is overpowering in its simplicity, yet ferocious in its retelling. It is about four men on a reconnaissance mission, doing what they believed in, three of them on the ground dying, and about another 16 warriors in a helicopter, rushing into help, only to be shot down and killed. Only Luttrell lived to tell the tale.


peration Red Wings' goal on that 28th day of June in 2005 was to slay a Taliban leader in his mid-30s, Ahmad Shah, who had possible ties to Osama Bin Laden. Murphy and the other members of his SEAL team left their base in Northern Afghanistan in the still of the night, heading

Christening May 7, 2011

for the border with Pakistan to carry out the mission. The Navy since has said that Shah, the target of their mission, led a guerrilla group called the Mountain Tigers, which existed in a shadowy world of death and intrigue in and around the border. (For the record, Special Operations spokesmen are unsure of the precise origin of the “Red Wings” name, although some speculate it was tied to a sports team.) After penetrating behind enemy lines, approximately 10,000 feet up in the Hindu Kush, the four SEALs found their cover blown after meeting up with two adults and a boy, either shepherds or local villagers. In Lone Survivor, Luttrell tells of how he, Murphy, Axelson and Dietz debated whether to kill the three before ultimately deciding to release them. About an hour after the outsiders departed, an enemy force of about 50 men attacked the four-member SEAL team from three sides. The four, all wounded, leapt down the mountain’s sides, jumping as much as 30 feet, the Navy said later. Less than an hour

Murphy peers over his shoulder during a mountaintop mission in Afghanistan.

“The story of Murphy’s uncompromising bravery ... is a story that never grows old.”

Photo: U.S. Navy

May 7, 2011 USS Michael Murphy DDG -112



The Mission into the battle, Murphy raced into the open, aware he could not make his distress call from the terrain where they had sought cover, and soon took the bullet in the back. Despite his wounds, Murphy was able to get help from the Special Operations Quick Reaction Force at Afghanistan’s Bagram Air Base, which dispatched the MH-47 Chinook helicopter carrying the eight SEALs and eight Army Night Stalkers prepared to extract Murphy and the others from the fight that dragged through the hills and cliffs of the Hindu Kush. By the time it was over, after fierce fighting that lasted at least two hours, Murphy, Dietz and Axelson lay dead on the ground, and the Chinook also had fallen to enemy fire, carrying the 16 Fellow soldiers SEALs and Night at Hunter Army Stalkers to their deaths. Airfield, Ga., Military spokesmen later said the MH-47, erected a designed to swoop in memorial to the and leave quickly dureight fallen Army ing rescue efforts, had Night Stalkers been accompanied by killed trying to heavily armored Army attack helicopters. The rescue the military said the SEAL team. “heavy weight” of the photo: U.S. Army attack helicopters slowed the formation, prompting the MH-47 to race ahead, putting itself at risk in order to attempt to carry away Murphy and the others. After the deaths of Murphy, Dietz, Axelson and the 16 men aboard the MH-47, Luttrell struggled to survive on his own. As many as 35 guerrillas, probably Taliban, also died, according to subsequent military reports. Sent sprawling over a ridge after being knocked unconscious by a rocket-propelled grenade, Luttrell had a bullet wound in one leg, shrapnel burrowing into both legs, and was suffering from dehydration, he recalled later in Lone Survivor. Still, he managed to crawl away from the carnage, evading


USS Michael Murphy DDG -112

doctor risked their own lives to save him. “There was something about him,” Luttrell writes of the villager describing himself as a doctor. “By now, I’d seen a whole lot of Taliban warriors, and he looked nothing like any of them. There was no arrogance, no hatred in his eyes.”


enemy guerrillas and walking several miles before friendly villagers took him in, protected him from Taliban enemy forces, and eventually transported a note to a Marine outpost, resulting in Luttrell’s rescue on July 2, 2005. If not for Luttrell’s book, written with Patrick Robinson, the story of the events that day in the Hindu Kush might not have reached the public with such force. Luttrell also fully addresses the moral dilemma the SEAL team faced that day: Release the outsiders, or kill them? Luttrell never will know if the outsiders ran to the Taliban, but the firefight started a short time later. As for Luttrell, he soon learned about humanity at its best, when villagers including a man identifying himself as a

Christening May 7, 2011

ith the six-year anniversary of the American deaths in the Hindu Kush upon us, the awarding of another Medal of Honor to another SEAL, for bravery in Iraq in 2006, and the May 7 christening of the DDG-112, the USS Michael Murphy, the missions and makeup of the elite Navy unit are starting to attract more interest among the American public. For recruiters trying to beef up elite SEAL units, this is good news. Established by President Kennedy in 1963, the SEALs (for Sea, Air and Land) describe themselves as “a small, elite maritime military force” conducting unconventional warfare, and carrying out “the types of clandestine, small-unit, highimpact missions that large forces with high-profile platforms (such as ships, tanks, jets and submarines) cannot.” SEALs also “conduct essential on-theground Special Reconnaissance of critical targets for imminent strikes by larger conventional forces.” When you read a description such as that, of what SEALs do, it sounds so sterile, so matter of fact. It does not talk about the firefight in the Hindu Kush, about Murphy standing in the open seeking help for his men, after a bullet hits him, and of the 16 SEALs and Night Stalkers aboard the MH-47 who broke from their formation to sacrifice themselves to retrieve the embattled SEALs on the ground. It also does not talk about the tears still being shed at the resting places of Murphy (Section 67, Grave 3710, Calverton National Cemetery on Long Island) and the others, or about bravery and loyalty that in many ways is incomprehensible.

InMemorium In Honor of

The Men of Red Wings SEALs on the Ground

SEALs Aboard the Helicopter

Army Night Stalkers Aboard the Helicopter

Lt. Michael P. Murphy, 29, Patchogue, N.Y.

Chief Fire Controlman Jacques J. Fontan, 36, New Orleans, La.

Staff Sgt. Shamus O. Goare, 29, Danville, Ohio

Sonar Technician (Surface) 2nd Class Matthew G. Axelson, 29, Cupertino, Calif.

Senior Chief Information Systems Technician Daniel R. Healy, 36, Exeter, N.H.

Chief Warrant Officer Corey J. Goodnature, 35, Clarks Grove, Minn.

Gunner’s Mate 2nd Class Danny P. Dietz, Littleton, Colo.

Sgt. Kip A. Jacoby, 21, Pompano Beach, Fla.

Lt. Cmdr. Erik S. Kristensen, 33, San Diego, Calif. Electronics Technician 1st Class Jeffery A.Lucas, 33, Corbett, Ore.

Master Sgt. James W. Ponder III, 36, Franklin, Tenn.

Lt. Michael M. McGreevy Jr., 30, Portville, N.Y.

Maj. Stephen C. Reich, 34, Washington Depot, Conn.

Machinist Mate 2nd Class Eric S. Patton, 22, Boulder City, Nev.

Sgt. 1st Class Michael L. Russell, 31, Stafford, Va.

Quartermaster 2nd Class James Suh, 28, Deerfield Beach, Fla. Murphy



Sgt. 1st Class Marcus V. Muralles, 33, Shelbyville, Ind.

Hospital Corpsman 1st Class Jeffrey S. Taylor, 30, Midway, Va.

Chief Warrant Officer Chris J. Scherkenbach, 40, Jacksonville, Fla.

May 7, 2011 USS Michael Murphy DDG -112



Prints of artist Gerald Slater’s portrait of Lt. Michael P. Murphy are on display at facilities around the country renamed in Murphy’s honor. www.slaterart.com


May 7, 2011 USS Michael Murphy DDG -112



U.S. Navy illustration of the USS Michael Murphy (DDG-112). Peter K. Hsu


USS Michael Murphy DDG -112

Christening May 7, 2011

May 7, 2011 USS Michael Murphy DDG -112



Construction The Building of the USS Michael Murphy:

Riding the HIGH Seas Forever By Tom Breen


ver at Bath Iron Works (BIW), on the banks of the Kennebec River in Maine, about 5,800 workers continue to do what the company has done since 1884: build ships, including many of the U.S. Navy’s Arleigh Burke DDG 51 Class guided-missile destroyers. Season after season, the work at BIW (now part of General Dynamics) proceeds on schedule, with nascent destroyers taking shape daily. Says the

sea, of ships such as the USS Michael P. Murphy, which has become an enduring symbol of the Navy’s sacrifice in the war in Afghanistan. Known initially as DDG-112 at BIW’s 70-acre plant, the ship would not assume its formal name until its christening on May 7, 2011. Even so, most people already were calling it the USS Michael Murphy in honor of a courageous young SEAL who died dur-

ter radio reception, struck by enemy fire while seeking help, the Long Island native died attempting to defend his men. Murphy, two other team members on the ground and 16 SEAL and Army Night Stalkers aboard a rescue helicopter shot down by insurgents

“... We have come to know every stiffener, penetration, cableway, piece of equipment and compartment of these ships.” company’s aptly named president, Dugan Shipway, “... We have come to know every stiffener, penetration, cableway, piece of equipment and compartment of these ships.” Beyond the cableways and compartments of the Arleigh Burkes, the BIW family also has come to know the emotional stories behind the naming of each of the ships, of the inspirational forces that send a vessel to


USS Michael Murphy DDG -112

ing a search for a high-ranking Taliban insurgent. If only Murphy could be up in Maine to see his ship move toward the high seas, inch by inch. It was during the early summer of 2005 that Murphy, a 29-year-old lieutenant leading a four-man SEAL team in search of the Taliban operative, died in the Hindu Kush mountain range near Afghanistan’s border with Pakistan. Standing in the open for bet-

Christening May 7, 2011

photo: Courtesy of the Murphy Family

SEAL team members Lt. Michael Murphy, Petty Officer Marcus Luttrell, Petty Officer 2nd Class James Suh, Senior Chief Petty Officer Dan Healy and Petty Officer 2nd Class Matt Axelson during some down time.

The USS Michael Murphy was assembled piece-by-piece at Bath Iron Works in Bath, Maine. BIW, now part of General Dynamics Marine Systems, has been building ships for more than 120 years.

The Murphy will be the 62nd Arleigh Burke-class ship built by the Navy, with 34 constructed at Bath and the others at the Northrop Grumman Ship Systems shipyard in Pascagoula, Miss.

photo: Courtesy General Dynamics Marine Systems, Bath Iron Works

May 7, 2011 USS Michael Murphy DDG -112



Construction died in Operation Red Wings. Only one team member on the ground survived after finding refuge with friendly villagers. Murphy received the Medal of Honor, the

The Maine location for the construction of the USS Michael Murphy is especially appropriate because New England is the region that inspired the poet Robert Frost to

Once the Murphy leaves for the sea, the Arleigh Burke line itself is expected to continue for several more years, with as many as nine new ships expected to be built. military’s highest award for valor in combat, the others received bravery citations of one form or another, and Hollywood was crafting a movie about the men of Red Wings.

photo: Mass Comm. Specialist 2nd Class Kevin S. O'Brien

write of the choices facing everyone, of “Two roads diverged in a yellow wood, and sorry I could not travel both” in his famous poem, “The Road Not Taken.”

Murphy, like other members of the voluntary force, had plenty of choices before selecting the military. After graduating with degrees in psychology and political science from Pennsylvania State University, Murphy joined the SEALs. In the end, the roads he chose led to the mountains of Afghanistan, to the hallowed ground where he rests at the Calverton National Cemetery on Long Island, and to the 124-year-old Bath Iron Works in Maine, where his destroyer would make its eventual trip along the Kennebec River to the Gulf of Maine in the Atlantic Ocean, and to points beyond. The idea to name the $1.2 billion ship on behalf of Murphy came from Navy brass, congressional supporters, the public, and

Facilities at BIW’s main plant include a 750-foot drydock, three shipways, three wharves, an outfitting pier, four level-luffing cranes, and covered facilities for pre-outfit and assembly.

Construction of the 9,200-ton DDG-112 began in September 2007 with the first cut of steel.

photo: Mass Comm. Specialist 2nd Class Kevin S. O'Brien

May 7, 2011 USS Michael Murphy DDG -112




From left to right, Scott Kay, DDG-112 project manager for BIW; Capt. Michael Clarke, Bath Fire Department; Dan Murphy, Michael Murphy’s father; and David Peabody, publisher of DEFENSE STANDARD, the day of the keel ceremony. photo: Courtesy General Dynamics Marine Systems, Bath Iron Works


USS Michael Murphy DDG -112

Operation Red Wings families. His mother, Maureen, is the ship’s sponsor. Navy destroyers often are named after heroes, statesmen and legendary officers. Some other Arleigh Burkes include the USS John Paul Jones, USS John S. McCain, USS Roosevelt, USS Winston Churchill and USS Halsey. The Murphy will be the 62nd Arleigh Burke class ship built by the Navy, with 34 constructed at Bath and the others at the Northrop Grumman Ship Systems shipyard in Pascagoula, Miss. Named in honor of the service’s fabled World War II officer, the 510-foot

Arleigh Burkes, with their Aegis combat systems and phased-array radar, simultaneously can confront submarines, warships and aircraft when called upon. Bath built the first of the Arleigh Burkes, which the Navy commissioned in 1991. The ship has a maximum beam of 66.5 feet, a crew size of 323 including 23 officers, and can exceed speeds of 30 knots. Once the Murphy leaves for the sea, the Arleigh Burke line itself is expected to continue for several more years, with as many as nine new ships expected to be built. The Navy’s goal is to reach a total force of 313 ships,

Navy destroyers often are named after heroes, statesmen and legendary officers such as Winston Churchill and John Paul Jones.

Christening May 7, 2011

Bath built the first of the 510-foot Arleigh Burke destroyers, which the Navy commissioned in 1991.

Soon the USS Michael Murphy will join the fleet and ride the high seas like the USS Ramage (DDG-61), a sister Arleigh Burke-class destroyer. photo: U.S. Navy

Then-Navy Secretary Donald C. Winter announced the ship’s name May 7, 2008, in Long Island.

including the Arleigh Burkes, in the next few years, a number that “represents the acceptable risk in meeting the security demands of the 21st century,” says Navy spokesman Lt. Clay Doss. During the May 7, 2008, ceremony on Long Island announcing the ship’s name, then-Navy Secretary Donald P. Winter said, “Michael Murphy’s name, which will be forever synonymous with astonishing courage under fire, will now be associated with one of the U.S. Navy’s most technologically advanced, most powerful and most capable warships.” The ceremony unfolded not far from a granite memorial bearing the names of the men of Red Wings, erected by the townspeople of Patchogue, where Murphy grew

May 7, 2011 USS Michael Murphy DDG -112

photo: U.S. Navy



Construction up. As a boy, Murphy often “protected” other children from bullies, says his mother, Maureen. “[He said] Mom, you always think there is always good in everybody, and that’s true, but there are some people that make other people’s lives miserable, and they need to be dealt with.” As a Navy officer, he took on the role of protector on his last day of life in the Hindu Kush. Before the ship named in honor of the young SEAL heads to sea, probably sometime this year, it faces “rigorous” daily construction work, says BIW spokesman Jim DeMartini. The work is being carried out by the 5,800-person work force at BIW’s main shipyard in Bath, and at satellite plants in Brunswick about 8 miles to the west. DeMartini says the building of the 9,200ton ship began in September 2007 “when the first plate was cut at the company’s steel fabrication plant” at a satellite facility. Construction of the ship’s structure, and the “outfit and installation of combat systems

ponents and integration, test and evaluation of all ship systems will occur in preparation for sea trials and final acceptance of the ship by the Navy in 2011,” DeMartini says. Elsewhere, Lockheed Martin builds Aegis, and most of the radar systems come from Raytheon; these systems are constructed at locations around the country. In the end, what makes the Arleigh Burke class a trailblazing ship for the Navy, as the Michael Murphy grows stronger and more powerful by the day, was the initial decision in the 1980s to build the class entirely of steel rather than constructing a steel hull and aluminum superstructure, as with previous ships.


mid the ongoing work on the Murphy, one clear irony emerges, that the new destroyer’s sophisticated, lethal weapons system is a universe removed from the basic guns and grenades

As it navigates its way after its launch, the destroyer will bear a plaque carrying Murphy’s name, his mother’s name because she is the sponsor, and a tribute to all the men of Red Wings. To be sure, one cannot think about him without thinking of the other men on the ground, and of the MH-47 helicopter sweeping in for a rescue attempt before it crashed in flames after being struck by insurgent gunfire. In the end, a ship, any Navy man or woman will tell you, is far more than a structure made of steel and weapon systems, and far more than the living crew that inhabits it at a particular time in history. It also is about the spirits that float above the seas, under the stars, in choppy waters, and calm ones. It is about people like Mike Murphy and the men of Red Wings, and so many more. photo: Courtesy of the Murphy Family

In the end, the roads Murphy chose led to the mountains of Afghanistan and the hallowed ground where he rests. and electronic components” continued over the next 18 months, largely within the company’s 15,600-square-meter assembly and pre-outfit building, and then inside its 4,200square-meter Pre-Outfit II building. “Within these buildings, and the company’s newly inaugurated 6,200-square-meter Ultra Hall, ship structure and outfit will come together to form individual ship modules, some weighing well over 1,500 tons,” he said early in the ship-building process. Modules are transported onto the company’s Land Level Transfer Facility before launching into the Kennebec River, where English settlers built the first seagoing ship launched on the continent more than 400 years ago. Once the destroyer is in the water, “final installation of remaining com-


USS Michael Murphy DDG -112

carried by Murphy and his three SEAL team members on that day in Afghanistan. Without the benefit of super-modern technology, Murphy and his men held off an estimated 50 insurgents the old-fashioned way, with guts and glory. Murphy, ever the wise guy, might even launch a joke or two about the lethality of his namesake ship’s Aegis missiles compared with what he had on the ground that day in Afghanistan. He soon would turn serious, however, his mother has said, humbled and even embarrassed at the mere thought a U.S. Navy ship would take to the high seas carrying his name, the name of a Long Island kid who traveled so far from home, to such a strange, dangerous place, to the mountains of Afghanistan.

Christening May 7, 2011


So, up in Maine, the men of Red Wings stand guard, overseeing the building of their ship, waiting for their journey down Robert Frost’s metaphorical road, waiting to ride the high seas forever aboard the USS Michael Murphy.

photo: Mass Comm. Specialist 2nd Class Kevin S. O'Brien

Construction The Building of the USS Michael Murphy:

The Keel Authentication By Gary Williams


ATH, Maine -- Deep gasps were the only sound as the small group touring the legendary Bath Iron Works shipbuilding facility entered the cavernous Ultra Hall. Above them, towering nearly four stories high, the name of their son, brother,

authentication ceremony for the ship named after Murphy to forever recognize the sacrifice of the Medal of Honor recipient, who died June 28, 2005, during a covert reconnaissance mission that turned into the most intense and decorated battle in Naval

The ship known as DDG-112 Michael Murphy changes names at the christening May 7, 2011, on what would have been Murphy’s 35th birthday. grandson and friend, Michael Murphy, was emblazoned on the massive, 800-ton hull of what soon will become a U.S. Navy guided missile destroyer. photo: Mass Comm. Specialist 2nd Class Kevin S. O'Brien

Keel laying of the Murphy Murphy’s family knew, of course, that the name would be there. They were at the shipbuilding facility in June for the keel


USS Michael Murphy DDG -112

Special Warfare history. But still. The sheer astonishment and emotional impact of seeing the Navy SEAL’s name across the hull of that ship was something none of his family members expected, even after meeting former President George W. Bush in the sobering, October 2007 Medal of Honor ceremony at the White House. His parents, Dan and Maureen Murphy, and his brother John embraced. Maureen’s sister, Eileen, who had been Michael’s godmother, joined the embrace, their sobs and sniffles breaking the silence. Scott Kay, Bath Iron Works’ guided missile destroyer project manager and the tour guide for the day, took the opportunity to gather himself as the family embraced. He had conducted numerous tours for the families of ships’ namesakes, but the task had never become any easier or

Christening May 7, 2011

less emotional for him. Construction on the $170 million guided missile destroyer known then only as DDG112 began with the first cut of steel on Sept. 7, 2007. In the dedication ceremony May 7, 2008, Navy Secretary Donald C. Winter declared, “Michael Murphy’s name, which will be forever synonymous with astonishing courage under fire, will now be associated with one of the U.S. Navy’s most technologically advanced, most powerful and most capable warships.” In addition to launching guided missiles, many of the destroyers are equipped to carry out antisubmarine, anti-air and antisurface operations. Their hull classification symbol is DDG. The ship now known as DDG-112 Michael Murphy will keep that name until the christening May 7, 2011, on what would have been Murphy’s 35th birthday. A ship consists of two basic elements: structure, which serves as the skeleton, and outfit, comprising all of the systems, components and equipment that enable it to perform as designed. Raw materials for both structure and outfit were fabricated into various pieces, sections and assemblies at off-site manufacturing facilities, and then shipped to Bath Iron Works (BIW) for the second stage of construction known as main structural assembly and pre-outfit 1. Fabricated in an inverted position for ease

Hull modules for the DDG-112

“ Michael Murphy’s name, which will be forever synonymous with astonishing courage under fire, will now be associated with one of the U.S. Navy’s most technologically advanced ... warships.”

were fabricated upside-down, then right-sided and joined to form the hull seen here at the keel-authentication ceremony. photo: Mass Comm. Specialist 2nd Class Kevin S. O'Brien

May 7, 2011 USS Michael Murphy DDG -112



Construction of construction, modules were right-sided and joined together into larger sections forming the ship’s hull. The third stage, preoutfit 2, involved joining individual outfitted sections to create even larger modules. Additional outfit materials including main engines, generators, pumps, electronic consoles, ventilation ductwork and cable were installed in the Ultra Hall. The June 18th keel-authentication ceremony was the first of what will be several emotional ceremonies that will bring the ship to life. During the ceremony, BIW workers helped Dan and Maureen Murphy weld their initials in a steel plate that will become part of the ship. The initials of all 19 of

er American Medal of Honor recipient by touring the USS Jason Dunham, DDG 109, structurally identical to DDG-112 and also under construction. The all-steel Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyer is the only one designed around the Aegis Combat System, SPY-1D multifunction phased-array radar, Aegis ballistic missile defense system, and a collective protection system, also making it the first class of U.S. warship built with an integrated nuclear, biological and chemical warfare air-filtration system. Aegis, the Greek word for shield, is a highly integrated radar and missile system that relies on a separate sonar system to track underwater threats such as photo: by Mass Comm. Specialist 2nd Class Kevin S. O'Brien

The initials of the 19 men killed in Operation Red Wings will join those of Michael Murphy’s father, mother and brother on the keel plate. those killed in Operation Red Wings also will be welded into the keel plate as a lasting tribute to their service and sacrifice. After the official ceremony and tour of the buildings containing the modules of the ship, the group paid their respects to anoth-


USS Michael Murphy DDG -112

mines, torpedoes and submarines, and can simultaneously follow land, air and subsurface threats and attacks. The Aegis ballistic missile defense BMD adds a “sword” to the Aegis “shield” by providing a forward deployable, mobile capability to detect,

Christening May 7, 2011

track and destroy ballistic missiles of all ranges. Within days after the ceremony, the ultra-units were transported using multiple self-propelled mobile transporters to the Land-Level Transfer Facility (LLTF) and set in place on one of the building shipways. There, Ultra Units and other ship modules will be joined together on the LLTF to form a near-finished product, with 80 percent of construction completed in preparation for launch or christening. After the christening by Maureen Murphy, the ship’s sponsor, the USS Michael Murphy will be transferred from the LLTF onto a floating dry dock along the Kennebec River. The dry dock will be flooded, allowing the ship to float off and maneuver alongside the pier, a 24-hour process. Then the ship completion, testing and activation stage will commence, work that can only be done with the ship afloat. During the latter part of this stage the Navy will assume possession and proceed with nearly six months of rigorous sea trials and testing. The commissioning ceremony is tentatively scheduled for June 28, 2012, in New York Harbor. The USS Michael Murphy will be the seventh destroyer and 40th Navy ship named in honor of a Medal of Honor recipient. Although its fleet assignment has yet to be determined, the destroyer and its 23 officers and 250 enlisted personnel likely will be home-ported in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, home of Murphy’s unit, SEAL Delivery Vehicle Team-1. While the keel-authentication ceremony was emotional, the family remembered the comforting words from Winter at the dedication ceremony two years earlier: “Every sailor who crosses the brow, every sailor who hears the officer of the deck announce the arrival of the commanding officer, and every sailor who enters a foreign land representing our great nation will do so as an honored member of USS Michael Murphy.”

photo: Mass Comm. Specialist 2nd Class Kevin S. O'Brien

The June 18, 2010, keel-authentication ceremony was the first of what will be several emotional ceremonies that bring the ship to life.

Maureen Murphy, left, and Edwin Bard inscribe the signatures of Lt. Michael Murphy's family on an iron plate during a dedication ceremony for Pre-Commissioning Unit (PCU) Michael Murphy (DDG-112).

May 7, 2011 USS Michael Murphy DDG -112



T heLegacy A “Life Well-Lived”:

The Enduring Legacy of Lt.Michael Murphy By Tom Breen

It started for Michael Patrick Murphy as far back as Little League, maybe before, this intense feeling of team unity. His mother remembers the game when he hit a walkoff home run, swamped by his pals, hailed as a

and unwavering courage in the unforgiving mountains of a foreign land, one need go no further than a baseball game way back in the small Long Island town of Patchogue, when a smiling Little Leaguer who hit a

“Character is about a sense of honor and duty, whether on the Little League field or in the no-man’s land of a far-away combat zone.” photo: Courtesy the Murphy Family

hero, and all he could think of was making sure “his teammates knew they ‘all had won the game.’” Perhaps, then, when seeking an explanation of Murphy’s enduring legacy

Second-grade school picture of Michael on Long Island, N.Y.


USS Michael Murphy DDG -112

home run deflected attention from himself to his teammates. Murphy is a military hero, of course, the selfless Navy SEAL lieutenant and Medal of Honor recipient who on June 28, 2005, sacrificed himself for his men. Yet his story, as his parents Dan and Maureen point out, goes far beyond his actions in Afghanistan, beyond the Medal of Honor, and beyond his enduring legacy as a military icon. It goes to his core character, the person he was as a child and as an adult. Character does not equate with perfection: No one is perfect. Rather, character is about a sense of honor and duty, whether on the Little League field, or in the no-man’s land of a faraway combat zone. It is about remembering we are all running this marathon of life together, a core value Michael Murphy took with him to his grave. He believed

Christening May 7, 2011

Michael and his fiance Heather Duggan horseback riding. doing for others “was a life well-lived,” his father says often. That is why his son became a lifeguard, a tutor, and eventually a SEAL. As the Navy christens the USS Michael Murphy on May 7 at Bath Iron Works along the Maine coast, it salutes a legacy of commitment to others that drives the military ethos, not always successfully but successfully enough. “Mike is what every American can be proud of,” then-Rear Adm. Joseph D. Kernan, commander of the Naval Special Warfare Command at the time, said in 2008 at the renaming of a post office in Murphy’s honor in Patchogue, not far from the SEAL’s final resting place at the Calverton National Cemetery. A memento distributed at the

naming ceremony quoted Murphy’s favorite phrase, “Adversity builds Character.” It was adversity that Murphy embraced. With honors for the slain SEAL continuing to grow, Murphy’s story bears repeating because of what it says not only about him but about the American ethos in general, and about the reasons Murphy’s legacy burns bright. In the end, Americans more often than not try hard to do the right thing, to attempt to serve others more than themselves. Born in Smithtown, N.Y., on May 7, 1976, Murphy later moved to Patchogue, where he spent his childhood and teen-age years, endearing himself to friends because of his core beliefs about the way people should be treated. In remarks delivered to the class of 2011 at their son’s alma mater, Penn State University, in early April this year, his parents Dan and Maureen emphasized the caring-for-others traits and values he carried with him into the SEALs, to Afghanistan and now to his role as the guiding spirit for a new Navy destroyer. As much as Murphy nurtured and supported friends, he also harbored a ferocious fighting spirit, probably growing out of his Irish-American roots. So it was, on a summer day in 2005, hard by the Pakistani border, he turned destroyer as well as protector, killing countless Taliban fighters as he lay dying. Only fellow SEAL Marcus Luttrell survived the attack, which claimed Murphy and his SEAL teammates Danny Dietz and Matthew Axelson. It also claimed another eight SEALs and eight Army Night Stalkers, shot down in their MH-47 Chinook helicopter by enemy fire as they rushed to rescue Murphy’s embattled team. Now, six years later, the image of the SEAL team leader leaving the protection of a rock formation to secure a better radio signal to try to save his team is the Murphy everyone knew even as a child. He was standing in the open, at risk to himself, for others. Luttrell, in a book detailing his own escape, describes Murphy as a SEAL of unparalleled courage. Murphy joined the Navy before 9/11, but

the terrorist attack fired up his spirit once he entered combat. One of his close friends from Long Island, Owen O’Callaghan, who became a fireman and then a policeman, lost a fire-fighting uncle in 9/11. Murphy wore a patch from O'Callaghan's firehouse into battle to honor those heroes. The bond between the Murphy clan and Penn State also is particularly strong. It was at Penn State in the 1990s that Murphy came of age, mapping out career plans and falling in love with Heather Duggan, a classmate. They planned to marry after his expected return home to the states in the fall of 2005. At Penn State, Murphy earned degrees in political science and psychology and was accepted by several law schools. Instead, he joined the Navy, in part as a way to carry forward his own father’s military legacy. Murphy’s dad, a former prosecutor on Long Island and now a judicial chief law associate at the New York State Supreme Court, is partially disabled from combat wounds received in Vietnam. By becoming a Navy SEAL, his father recalled last year in an interview with the New York Post, "He could have the greatest impact for the good.” In Afghanistan on the day he died, it was Murphy, wearing his cherished FDNY

Cmdr. Thomas Shultz, left, commander of the USS Michael Murphy (DDG-112), speaks with Michael Murphy’s father, Dan Murphy, and Navy Secretary Ray Mabus.

patch, who fiercely embraced the role of safeguarding others, a role he always relished. But he was not alone. "As much as photo: U.S. Navy Michael fought and died for his men, Michael's men fought and died for him," Dan Murphy says. "They are all heroes and as a father, I will always honor these men as my heroes." Dan Murphy and his family, including policeman-to-be son John, 25, also are grateful for the devotion from Penn State faculty and students. For instance, the 2011 class of 2,656 seniors has pledged more than $240,000 to build a plaza honoring Murphy and other veterans. The truth is many of them likely never will join the military. Rather, it is the very idea of Michael Murphy – a fellow graduate of unparalleled courage and a really good guy – that draws them to him. As the years flow by, this legacy of courage and decency is his, and ours, a legacy kept alive by those who knew him, and those who didn’t, and by those who honor him daily. How could anyone not want to be like Mike?

May 7, 2011 USS Michael Murphy DDG -112



Sponsors Saluting the Proud Friends and Supporters of the

USSMichael Murphy DDG-112 Christening Publication



USS Michael Murphy DDG -112

Christening May 7, 2011



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DDG-112 Commissioning Publication  

DEFENSE STANDARD-Bath, Maine-7 May 2011

DDG-112 Commissioning Publication  

DEFENSE STANDARD-Bath, Maine-7 May 2011