The Medal of Honor is the nation’s highest military award.
“For his courage, we award Lieutenant Michael Murphy the first Medal of Honor for combat in Afghanistan, and with this medal, we acknowledge a debt that will not diminish with time and can never be repaid,” said President Bush to the two hundred family and friends who were joined by Vice President Dick Cheney, Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY), Rep. Tim Bishop (D-NY), and the highest ranks of all branches of the military.
Michael Murphy was killed deep behind enemy lines east of Asadabad in the Hindu Kush region of Afghanistan in June of 2005.
Murphy led a team of four SEALs through remote mountainous territory in pursuit of a group of militant Taliban supporters.
The SEALs came under heavy attack by a much larger force. All four men were wounded, including Lt. Murphy.
Their satellite phone could not transmit from where they had taken cover. Lt. Murphy, without regard to his own life, moved into an open area even as the group received fire, to contact headquarters. The call went through, his request for assistance and relay of the now seriously wounded group’s position was received.
Remarkably, before ending the call he took the time to say, “Thank you.”
As he tried to move back for cover, Lt. Murphy was fatally wounded.
An MH-47 Chinook helicopter, with eight additional SEALs and eight Army Night Stalkers aboard, was sent is as part of an extraction mission to pull out the four embattled SEALs from the position phoned in by Lt. Murphy. En route a rocket-propelled grenade struck the helicopter, killing all 16 men aboard.
Only one of Murphy’s team members survived, Petty Officer Marcus Lutrell; it was the single largest loss of life for Naval Special Warfare since World War II.
Lt. Michael Murphy was born in Smithtown, N.Y. and grew up in Patchogue, Long Island. Murphy’s grandfather, John “Frank” Jones is from Burfort, Mallow, County Cork and grandmother, Kathleen (nee McElhone) is from Antrim.
“I have more relatives in Ireland than I do here,” said Murphy’s mother Maureen on Monday.
Murphy’s brother, John, is studying law enforcement and plans a career in the NYPD.
Michael Murphy was just shy of thirty when he died. He was engaged to be married, and his fianc