Tag Archives: Navy

To Honor a Hero

Lt. Michael Murphy - US Navy Seal

At a small ceremony tomorrow, Saturday, May 7, at Bath Iron Works – Bath, Maine, the US Navy will christen a new warship, the  USS Michael Murphy (DDG-112). New ships are launched all the time but this one is special. This ship was named after Lt. Michael Murphy, a Navy Seal and first naval recipient of the Medal of Honor since the Vietnam war. He died in combat in Afghanistan, June 28, 2005, acting above and beyond the call of duty. He is a true American hero.

This honor is as much about how Lt. Murphy lived as to how he died. Sure, he set himself apart from lesser men when he laid his life on the line and paid the ultimate price. This man set himself apart long before he joined the Navy and endured the rigors of Seal training. He was tagged with the nickname of “The Protector,” given to him in his childhood for defending a special-needs child when a group of bullies tried to stuff him in a locker. Or the time he intervened on behalf of a homeless man from a group of uncaring youths. Michael Murphy stood up for those that couldn’t.

On October 11, 2007, The White House announced Murphy would be presented the Medal of Honor, awarded posthumously, during a ceremony at the White House on October 22, 2007. Then, on May 7, 2008, then Secretary of the navy Donald Winter announced that DDG-112, the last planned US Arleigh Burke class destroyer at the time, would be named USS Michael Murphy (DDG-112),  in honor of Lt. Murphy.

At a small ceremony on June 18th of 2010, the keel was laid down and authenticated to mark the beginning of construction of the future USS Michael Murphy (DDG 112). Ceremony guests of honor included Murphy’s mother; father, Dan; and brother, John, who confirmed the destroyer’s keel, the large beam around which the hull of a ship is constructed, was laid “straight and true.” Ceremony attendees also included nearly 20 Navy SEALS.

“There are no words,” said Maureen Murphy, mother of Murphy. “I still can’t get it through my head that a U.S. Navy ship is going to be named after my son. He would be honored. I hope to have a good rapport with the crew of the Michael Murphy. On the ship, it’s going to be like one big family, and I would like to have a good relationship with the crew.”

That effort culminates tomorrow, May 7th, when Maureen Murphy will have the honor of christening the ship by smashing a bottle of champagne against the bow of the 510-foot-long warship as Murphy’s father, brother and others watch.

There are times when I am never prouder of being an American. This is one of them. In the face of grave loss we can show our strength in community and honor those that, through their sacrifice, allow us to do so.

Godspeed, USS Micheal Murphy.


Merry Christmas to our Soldiers and Sailors

When I served in the army, the hardest time to be away from home was Christmas. Sure, it was fun to lay around the barracks, play cards with my fellow soldiers and drink the holiday away, but what I really wanted was to be home.

Our troops are spread thin these days.  They are fighting a cowardly enemy that wounds and kills our young men and women using horrific techniques.

But let us not forget those serving peacetime and support missions in places like, Latin America, Western Europe, the Middle East, Central Asia, Indonesia, the Philippines, South Korea and Japan. Sailors on Aircraft Carriers, Battlegroups, submarines, and other support ships are not only away from home, they are away from land. (Watch the series Documentary Carrier on Hulu if you want to truly understand what life on a Navy ship is about.)

So my blog today is to honor them and send my prayers and holiday wishes to our American heros and the families that love them. Be safe in your mission of freedom!

Rather than my normal quote, I offer this poem.

A Military Christmas Salute
The embers glowed softly, and in their dim light,
I gazed round the room and I cherished the sight.
My wife was asleep, her head on my chest,
My daughter beside me, angelic in rest.
Outside the snow fell, a blanket of white,
Transforming the yard to a winter delight.
The sparkling lights in the tree I believe,
Completed the magic that was Christmas Eve.
My eyelids were heavy, my breathing was deep,
Secure and surrounded by love I would sleep.
In perfect contentment, or so it would seem,
So I slumbered, perhaps I started to dream.

The sound wasn’t loud, and it wasn’t too near,
But I opened my eyes when it tickled my ear.
Perhaps just a cough, I didn’t quite know,
Then the sure sound of footsteps outside in the snow.
My soul gave a tremble, I struggled to hear,
And I crept to the door just to see who was near.
Standing out in the cold and the dark of the night,
A lone figure stood, his face weary and tight.

A soldier, I puzzled, some twenty years old,
Perhaps a Marine, huddled here in the cold.
Alone in the dark, he looked up and smiled,
Standing watch over me, and my wife and my child.
“What are you doing?” I asked without fear,
“Come in this moment, it’s freezing out here!
Put down your pack, brush the snow from your sleeve,
You should be at home on a cold Christmas Eve!”

For barely a moment I saw his eyes shift,
Away from the cold and the snow blown in drifts.
To the window that danced with a warm fire’s light
Then he sighed and he said “It’s really all right,
I’m out here by choice. I’m here every night.”
It’s my duty to stand at the front of the line,
That separate you from the darkest of times.
No one had to ask or beg or implore me,
I’m proud to stand here like my fathers before me.
My Gramps died at ‘Pearl on a day in December.”
Then he sighed, “That’s a Christmas ‘Gram always remembers.”
My dad stood his watch in the jungles of ‘Nam”,
And now it is my turn and so, here I am.
I’ve not seen my own son in more than a while,
But my wife sends me pictures, he’s sure got her smile.

Then he bent and he carefully pulled from his bag,
The red, white, and blue…An American flag.
I can live through the cold and the being alone,
Away from my family, my house and my home.
I can stand at my post through the rain and the sleet,
I can sleep in a foxhole with little to eat.
I can carry the weight of killing another,
Or lay down my life with my sister and brother..
Who stand at the front against any and all,
To ensure for all time that this flag will not fall.”

“So go back inside,” he said, “harbor no fight,
Your family is waiting and I’ll be all right.”
“But isn’t there something I can do, at the least,
Give you money,” I asked, “or prepare you a feast?
It seems all too little for all that you’ve done,
For being away from your wife and your son.”
Then his eye welled a tear that held no regret,
“Just tell us you love us, and never forget.
To fight for our rights back at home while we’re gone,
To stand your own watch, no matter how long.
For when we come home, either standing or dead,
To know you remember we fought and we bled.
Is payment enough, and with that we will trust,
That we mattered to you as you mattered to us.”

~ Author Unknown