KIA June 28, 2005
Operation Enduring Freedom
Navy SEAL LT Michael Murphy died June 28, 2005, when his SEAL reconnaissance team was ambushed by overwhelming Taliban forces in Kunar Province, Afghanistan. Three of the original four-man SEAL squad, PO2 Matthew Axelson, PO2 Danny Dietz, and LT Michael Murphy, were all killed in the firefight. A fourth squad member, HM1 Marcus Luttrell, was the only living survivor. The full description of this action is described in the book, Lone Survivor, written by HM1 Luttrell and later depicted in the 2013 film of the same name.
Michael was a National Honor Society student and varsity football athlete in high school. After graduating from Pennsylvania State University with a degree in Political Science, he turned down offers to two law schools to join the Navy and become a SEAL. He served on missions in Jordan, Iraq (twice), Qatar, and Djibouti in East Africa.
LT Murphy deployed to Afghanistan in April 2005. He was the leader of a four-man SEAL squad that secretly infiltrated into the Hindu-Kush Mountains along the Pakistan border on June 27th. The team was conducting a sensitive mission to capture or kill a high-value Taliban target, Ahmad Shad, known as Ismail, when they were overwhelmingly ambushed by Taliban forces and a fierce firefight ensued. For about 45 minutes, the men fought on as their ammunition ran low. Three SEALs were wounded by gunfire or RPGs. One screamed, “I’m hit!” and Murphy yelled back, “We’re all hit! Keep moving!” Despite his severe wounds, Murphy valiantly climbed to higher ground and into the open to make an electronic call for help. He completed the call and continued fighting, exhorting his men to escape while he held off their attackers. Wounded, he fought on, allowing one member of his squadron to escape he himself was killed.
A Quick Reaction force immediately mobilized in a daring daytime mission to reinforce the SEAL squad. Eight Navy SEALs and eight Army Nightstalker commandos perished when their MG-47 helicopter was hit by an RPG and crashed. It was the largest loss of life to date for the Navy SEALs. Murphy’s remains were found during a combat search and rescue operation July 4, 2005. For his heroic actions that day, LT Michael Murphy was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor. PO2 Danny Dietz and PO2 Matthew Axelson were posthumously awarded the second highest citation for valor, the Navy Cross.
LT Michael Murphy was 29 years old from Patchogue, New York
Original portrait was presented March 17, 2009, to his parents and brother during the St. Patrick’s Day events held at the 69th Regiment Armory in New York, NYDONATE in memory of