BATH, Maine – Engaged in a frenzied firefight and outnumbered by the Taliban, Navy Lt. Michael Murphy made a desperate decision as he and three fellow SEALs fought for their lives on a rocky mountainside in Afghanistan’s Kunar Province in 2005.
In a last-ditch effort to save his team, Murphy pulled out his satellite phone, walked into a clearing to get reception and called for reinforcements as a fusillade of bullets ricocheted around him. One of the bullets hit him, but he finished the call and even signed off, “Thank you.”
Then he continued the battle.
Dan Murphy, the sailor’s father, said it didn’t surprise him that his slain son nicknamed “The Protector” put himself in harm’s way. Nor was he surprised that in the heat of combat his son was courteous.
“That was Michael. He was cool under fire. He had the ability to process information, even under the most difficult of circumstances. That’s what made him such a good SEAL officer,” Murphy said.
A warship bearing the name of the Medal of Honor recipient will be christened Saturday — on what would have been Murphy’s 35th birthday — at Bath Iron Works, where the destroyer is being built.
Murphy, who was 29 when he died, graduated from Pennsylvania State University and was accepted to multiple law schools, but decided he could do more for his country as one of the Navy’s elite SEALS — special forces trained to fight on sea, air and land — the same forces that killed Osama bin Laden this week in Pakistan.
Thanks to everyone who came out to honor Murph. My hands are still clenched in a pull-up position! It is a daunting workout, but extremely rewarding at the end when you stagger to your feet like a punch-drunk boxer.