Fallen Navy SEAL From L.I. Honored With Warship

BATH, Maine (CBS 2/AP) — The mother of a Navy SEAL killed in a firefight in Afghanistan christened a warship bearing her son’s name on Saturday as the leader of the nation’s special forces said those who died that day would be comforted to know that the al-Qaida leader who caused the war in Afghanistan was killed by the U.S. military.

Maureen Murphy, mother of Lt. Michael Murphy, said “Happy birthday, baby” during remarks from the podium minutes before smashing a bottle of Champagne against the bow of the Navy destroyer on what would’ve been her son’s 35th birthday.

“As I look at this ship before us, it stands as a floating monument – not only to Michael, but to the incredible courage and valor exhibited by 19 incredibly brave men,” Michael’s father, Daniel Murphy, said.

The Navy lieutenant and Medal of Honor recipient led a four-member SEAL team against overwhelming odds in a gun battle in eastern Afghanistan.

Killed along with Murphy on June 28, 2005, were two members of his team, as well as 16 rescuers — eight Navy SEALs and eight members of the Army’s elite Night Stalkers — after their helicopter was shot down by a rocket-propelled grenade.

“If these brave men are watching today, they must be extremely proud of — and somewhat comforted by — the reports that the man who started the war in which they died was himself killed when their brothers — Navy SEALs and Army Night Stalkers — assaulted his compound,” said Adm. Eric Olson, leader of the Special Operations Command and a former SEAL instructor.

Security was beefed up for Saturday’s event, which followed less than a week after Osama bin Laden was shot to death in Pakistan.

Outside, about two dozen peace demonstrators held signs and banners, and made speeches, but there were no arrests, Bath police said.

Joining the 3,000 spectators at General Dynamics’ Bath Iron Works were more than a dozen SEALs from Murphy’s Hawaii-based unit, as well as family members of four of the fallen SEALs and a contingent of 22 firefighters from New York City.

Murphy, 29, of Patchogue, N.Y., was leading a reconnaissance team looking for the commander of a group of insurgents known as the Mountain Tigers when he died.

The mission was compromised when goat herders encountered the SEALs and alerted the Taliban; within an hour the small team was facing 100 heavily armed Taliban.

Already shot and disregarding his own safety, Murphy left his protected position and went to a clearing — where he was exposed to a hail of Taliban gunfire — to get a clear signal to contact Bagram Airfield to relay the dire situation.

He dropped the satellite phone after being shot a second time but finished the call and even signed off, “Roger that, sir. Thank you.”

Speakers including Adm. Gary Roughead, chief of naval operations, Maine’s governor and members of Maine’s congressional delegation praised the courage, determination and valor that Murphy exhibited in leading his team under the most difficult of circumstances on steep rocky terrain 6,000 miles from home.

“Michael was the leader of a small team, operating against our most vicious enemies, in the most forbidding terrain on earth, the high mountains of eastern Afghanistan, the legendary Hindu Kush. And a place from which a true warrior feels at home, and a place from which a heroic warrior’s released soul finds a shorter flight to the heavens,” Olson said.

Before the ceremony ended, Murphy’s mother asked for a moment of silence before reading the names of all 19 service members who died in the firefight and rescue attempt before christening the ship.

After it is completed and delivered to the Navy, the $1.1 billion warship will be homeported in Hawaii, where Murphy was a part SEAL Delivery Team 1. The Murphy is the 62nd of the Arleigh Burke-class of destroyers.

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)

  • Chance

    Honor never grows old, and honor rejoices the heart of age. It does so because honor is, finally, about defending those noble and worthy things that deserve defending, even if it comes at a high cost. In our time, that may mean social disapproval, public scorn, hardship, persecution, or as always,even death itself. The question remains: What is worth defending? What is worth dying for? What is worth living for?

    Most of the people in our society are sheep. They are kind, gentle, productive creatures who can only hurt one another by accident.” This is true. Remember, the murder rate is six per 100,000 per year, and the aggravated assault rate is four per 1,000 per year. What this means is that the vast majority of Americans are not inclined to hurt one another. Some estimates say that two million Americans are victims of violent crimes every year, a tragic, staggering number, perhaps an all-time record rate of violent crime. But there are almost 300 million Americans, which means that the odds of being a victim of violent crime is considerably less than one in a hundred on any given year. Furthermore, since many violent crimes are committed by repeat offenders, the actual number of violent citizens is considerably less than two million.

    Thus there is a paradox, and we must grasp both ends of the situation: We may well be in the most violent times in history, but violence is still remarkably rare. This is because most citizens are kind, decent people who are not capable of hurting each other, except by accident or under extreme provocation. They are sheep.

    I mean nothing negative by calling them sheep. To me it is like the pretty, blue robin’s egg. Inside it is soft and gooey but someday it will grow into something wonderful. But the egg cannot survive without its hard blue shell. Police officers, soldiers, and other warriors are like that shell, and someday the civilization they protect will grow into something wonderful.? For now, though, they need warriors to protect them from the predators.

    “Then there are the wolves,” the old war veteran said, “and the wolves feed on the sheep without mercy.” Do you believe there are wolves out there who will feed on the flock without mercy? You better believe it. There are evil men in this world and they are capable of evil deeds. The moment you forget that or pretend it is not so, you become a sheep. There is no safety in denial.

    “Then there are sheepdogs,” he went on, “and I’m a sheepdog. I live to protect the flock and confront the wolf.”

    If you have no capacity for violence then you are a healthy productive citizen, a sheep. If you have a capacity for violence and no empathy for your fellow citizens, then you have defined an aggressive sociopath, a wolf. But what if you have a capacity for violence, and a deep love for your fellow citizens? What do you have then? A sheepdog, a warrior, someone who is walking the hero’s path. Someone who can walk into the heart of darkness, into the universal human phobia, and walk out unscathed

    Let me expand on this old soldier’s excellent model of the sheep, wolves, and sheepdogs. We know that the sheep live in denial, that is what makes them sheep. They do not want to believe that there is evil in the world. They can accept the fact that fires can happen, which is why they want fire extinguishers, fire sprinklers, fire alarms and fire exits throughout their kids’ schools.

    But many of them are outraged at the idea of putting an armed police officer in their kid’s school. Our children are thousands of times more likely to be killed or seriously injured by school violence than fire, but the sheep’s only response to the possibility of violence is denial. The idea of someone coming to kill or harm their child is just too hard, and so they chose the path of denial.

    The sheep generally do not like the sheepdog. He looks a lot like the wolf. He has fangs and the capacity for violence. The difference, though, is that the sheepdog must not, can not and will not ever harm the sheep. Any sheep dog who intentionally harms the lowliest little lamb will be punished and removed. The world cannot work any other way, at least not in a representative democracy or a republic such as ours.

    Still, the sheepdog disturbs the sheep. He is a constant reminder that there are wolves in the land. They would prefer that he didn’t tell them where to go, or give them traffic tickets, or stand at the ready in our airports in camouflage fatigues holding an M-16. The sheep would much rather have the sheepdog cash in his fangs, spray paint himself white, and go, “Baa.”

    Until the wolf shows up. Then the entire flock tries desperately to hide behind one lonely sheepdog.

  • Ricky


    One poster here asked why we can’t just have peace?
    Is really a simple statement to explain that….
    Man’s simply to jealous of the other to let the others alone.

    And War in itself can be sum up in this simple statement from a pc game I play.

    GTA 4: War is where the Young and Stupid: Are Tricked by the Old and Bitter: Into killing each other.

    People forget Freedom isn’t Free but paid for by the Life Blood of many a person, Just so the people who want to sit with their heads in the sand Can sleep better at night.

  • O Ladipo

    Sad, another life snuffed out! Sad because Osama wasn’t, and isn’t cause for this loss, US policy is! How many people would like to live in Palestine, have lives going nowhere, basics of existence subject to how someone feels that day? This negates the Human Rights ordinance! Yet, 44 yrs after UN resolved to allow Palestinians a homeland they have none! Why? US veto! ALWAYS, at the Security Council! So in comes Osama, and 9/11,and Obama has said ‘well NEVER forget!’ Can anybody who lost a loved one forget? Meanwhile kids are used for target practice, the aged murdered in bed, and aid workers murdered, in international waters, ALL in the name of containment! Sad, really sad, in 2011, NOT 1945! Please fix it, and let’s live, in peace!

  • italbook

    Hero’s live within our hearts forever & are never forgotten.
    “For their is no greater gift, than to give your life for your friends”.
    May GOD greet you with open arms & hold you within his heart for all time.


    Brothers in arms from POLAND


  • AAK

    Reading the article brought tears to my eyes. We human being need to udnerstand the importance of snctity of life and try and resolve the problems in a peaceful manner. What a hame that it takes a fe misguided people liek Taliban and Al Qaeda to cause so much havoc and pain. These people are reposnible for over 30,000 deaths in Pakistan of innocent people to promote their misguided objectives.

  • John C

    Fair winds and following seas BZ sailor. A reired Candian CPO who dove and trained with your predecessors on a number of occasions. RIP And may the good Lord have had you in heaven a half hour afore the devil new you were dead. Thanks!

  • Jon

    El Barrio’s Bravest doing what they do best, Serving, Honoring, and continuing the great traditions of the FDNY!

  • Ben Robinson

    Thank you Sir Murphy. May God comfort your mother and other loved ones while apart for now. People need to be thankfull and remember that freedom is not free and it is very precious. People like you give so much and often ask for little or nothing in return. Please be at rest and await The Savior’s words. I hope you soon can hear…..Well done thou good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a few things and I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of thy Lord.

  • stephi

    Who doesn’t want peace? (1) al-qaida (2) taliban. If you want to hold a peace demonstration, please take yourself over to the middle east and demonstrate there. See how far you will get. You should be ashamed of yourselfs for demonstrating there. Mr. Murphy and his fellow teamates died so we all could live without fear, the fear that al-qaida and the taliban and all the muslim terrorist who want to spread around the world. You are of a mind to do nothing and they will go away. Please read you history. The world did nothing and because the world did nothing, hitler caused the deaths of over 50 million people. Think before you act. Also remember, freedom of speech works both ways

    • Michael

      Well Said….Well done Murphy RIP.

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