23 October 2007

Medal of Honor presented

ZUI this article from the Washington Post:
Navy Seal Lt. Michael P. Murphy, nicknamed "Murph" and known as an intense and empathetic young man, was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor yesterday [22 October] "for conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life" while outnumbered by Taliban fighters in a June 2005 battle high in the mountains of Afghanistan.

The 29-year-old Seal team leader and former lifeguard from Patchogue, N.Y., is the first service member to receive the Medal of Honor for heroism in the war in Afghanistan and the first sailor since Vietnam to be awarded the medal, the nation's highest military decoration.

At a ceremony in the White House's East Room, President Bush presented the medal to Murphy's parents, Daniel and Maureen Murphy. "This brave officer gave his life in defense of his fellow Navy Seals," Bush said, adding that Murphy acted "with complete disregard for his own life."

And this from Navy Times:
A day after he was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor, the parents of Lt. Michael Murphy said they always worried that he might someday get hurt helping other people, because he showed concern for others so often.

In an interview Tuesday at the Pentagon, Murphy’s mother Maureen told several stories about her son’s lifelong altruism, starting from when he was a child. At age 3 he cut his head in an accident, she said, and as many mothers might, she became almost frantic as he bled profusely.

“ ‘It doesn’t hurt, it’s OK,’ ” she remembered him reassuring her. “He was worried more about me,” she said.

When Murphy was in junior high, his parents got a call from the school principal, who told them their son had gotten into a fight. Some bullies were stuffing a disabled boy into a locker, Maureen said, but Murphy walked over and said, “If you want to pick on somebody, pick on me.’”

The White House press release can be found here.

Murphy's teammates, GM2(SEAL) Danny Dietz, STG2(SEAL) Matthew Axelson and HM1(SEAL) Marcus Luttrell*, were awarded the Navy Cross (posthumously for the first two). Fox News has a transcript of an interview with HM1 Luttrell, given by Bill O'Reilly of The O'Reilly Factor.

* HM2 at the time.



Lieutenant, US Navy; Naval Special Warfare Task Unit Afghanistan

Born: 7 May 1976, Patchogue, N.Y.

Citation: The President of the United States of America, in the name of Congress, takes pride in presenting the Medal of Honor to Lieutenant Michael P. Murphy, United States Navy, for conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life, above and beyond the call of duty, as the leader of a special reconnaissance element with Naval Special Warfare Task Unit Afghanistan on 27 and 28 June 2005.

While leading a mission to locate a high-level anti-coalition militia leader, Lieutenant Murphy demonstrated extraordinary heroism in the face of grave danger in the vicinity of Asadabad, Konar Province, Afghanistan. On 28 June 2005, operating in an extremely rugged, enemy-controlled area, Lieutenant Murphy's team was discovered by anti-coalition militia sympathizers who revealed their position to Taliban fighters. As a result, between 30 and 40 enemy fighters besieged his four-member team.

Demonstrating exceptional resolve, Lieutenant Murphy valiantly led his men in engaging the large enemy force. The ensuing fierce firefight resulted in numerous enemy casualties, as well as the wounding of all four members of his team. Ignoring his own wounds and demonstrating exceptional composure, Lieutenant Murphy continued to lead and encourage his men. When the primary communicator fell mortally wounded, Lieutenant Murphy repeatedly attempted to call for assistance for his beleaguered teammates. Realizing the impossibility of communicating in the extreme terrain and in the face of almost certain death, he fought his way into an open terrain to gain a better position to transmit a call. This deliberate heroic act deprived him of cover, exposing him to direct enemy fire. Finally achieving contact with his headquarters, Lieutenant Murphy maintained his exposed position while he provided his location and requested immediate support for his team.

In his final act of bravery, he continued to engage the enemy until he was mortally wounded, gallantly giving his life for his country and for the cause of freedom. By his selfless leadership, courageous actions, and extraordinary devotion to duty, Lieutenant Murphy reflected great credit upon himself and upheld the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service.

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