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Friday, May 13, 2011

Lieutenant Michael P. Murphy


What Lieutenant Murphy’s Medal of Honor Means to All SEALs

by Mark Divine, Founder/CEO, NavySEALs.com
SEALs often take for granted the heroics of their own deeds. It’s part of the culture.
“Above and beyond the call of duty” is simply the standard by which Naval Special Warfare operators measure their every-day tasks. It is inherent to that part of the SEAL Ethos that demands we “earn our Trident every day”.
But even by such standards, Lieutenant Michael Murphy’s actions of 28 June 2005 were extraordinary. Surely he knew the risks associated with moving from a covered position to make a call for help, but he did it anyway. Why? Because the SEALs in his charge - his brothers - were in danger. And while in the open, cell phone in hand, calmly relaying his position to his team’s would-be rescuers, he took an enemy round squarely in the back. Un-phased, he picked up his phone and finished the conversation.
No one can know how he’ll perform under fire until the moment actually arrives. Michael Murphy’s conduct while engaged with the enemy not only exceeded the expectations of even the most battle-hardened combat veterans, but it also honored the tradition and memory of those SEALs who have sacrificed their lives in the name of freedom, but whose stories will never be told due to the highly classified nature of Special Warfare.
I like to think the President’s posthumously awarding Lieutenant Murphy the Congressional Medal of Honor recognizes, in part, the contributions of Naval Special Warfare as a community to the Global War on Terror. Nineteen SEALs have been killed in action since 11 September 2001. Not since Vietnam has the community suffered such losses.
Taking nothing away from Lieutenant Murphy’s remarkable courage and valor as an individual, his receiving our nation’s highest military honor nevertheless makes me proud for our entire community. We can never know exactly which influences or combination of values and experiences enabled Michael Murphy to perform as he did on that mountain in Afghanistan, but I think it’s fair to say that his SEAL brothers; BUD/s instructors, classmates, Teammates, and others; played a part. Each of us who wears the Trident should take great pride in that.
Glory-seeking is not the way of the SEALs. That said, I am profoundly satisfied that our nation is honoring Lieutenant Michael Murphy in the manner he so rightly deserves.

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