The U.S.S. Michael Murphy is an Arleigh Burke-Class Guided Missile Destroyer that is in the Strike Group led by the U.S.S. Carl Vinson, which is reportedly steaming to the Korean Peninsula.
The ship was commissioned in 2012. Its namesake has an honorable, valorous, and gloried past.
Lieutenant Michael Murphy graduated as part of the Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL (BUD/S) graduating class 236:
Murphy served in Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan after 9/11:
According to the Navy, four of the men participated in the dangerous mission:
[D]eep behind enemy lines east of Asadabad in the Hindu Kush of Afghanistan, a very committed four-man Navy SEAL team was conducting a reconnaissance mission at the unforgiving altitude of approximately 10,000 feet. The SEALs ... had a vital task. The four SEALs were scouting Ahmad Shah – a terrorist in his mid-30s who grew up in the adjacent mountains just to the south.
Shah’s “Mountain Tigers,” a guerilla group he led, discovered the recon team and started firing. They outnumbered the SEALs by more than ten to one.
The Navy says:
They launched a well-organized, three-sided attack on the SEALs. The firefight continued relentlessly as the overwhelming militia forced the team deeper into a ravine.
Trying to reach safety, the four men, now each wounded, began bounding down the mountain's steep sides, making leaps of 20 to 30 feet. Approximately 45 minutes into the fight, pinned down by overwhelming forces, Dietz, the communications petty officer, sought open air to place a distress call back to the base. But before he could, he was shot in the hand, the blast shattering his thumb.
Things were bad — and then they got worse:
Murphy risked his life to make the distress call:
Despite the intensity of the firefight and suffering grave gunshot wounds himself, Murphy is credited with risking his own life to save the lives of his teammates. Murphy, intent on making contact with headquarters, but realizing this would be impossible in the extreme terrain where they were fighting, unhesitatingly and with complete disregard for his own life moved into the open, where he could gain a better position to transmit a call to get help for his men.
Moving away from the protective mountain rocks, he knowingly exposed himself to increased enemy gunfire. This deliberate and heroic act deprived him of cover and made him a target for the enemy. While continuing to be fired upon, Murphy made contact with the SOF Quick Reaction Force at Bagram Air Base and requested assistance. He calmly provided his unit’s location and the size of the enemy force while requesting immediate support for his team. At one point he was shot in the back causing him to drop the transmitter. Murphy picked it back up, completed the call and continued firing at the enemy who was closing in. Severely wounded, Lt. Murphy returned to his cover position with his men and continued the battle.
A Chinook helicopter piloted by the Army Night Stalkers arrived to help but were shot out of the sky with an enemy RPG killing 8 Navy SEALs and 8 Army Night Stalkers on board. In all, 19 special operators died during “Operation Red Wings.”
It became one of the bloodiest days in special operations history.
The men who died on the ground with Murphy that day were Gunner’s Mate 2nd Class (SEAL) Danny Dietz, and Sonar Technician 2nd Class (SEAL) Matthew Axelson.
One man survived, and he is the man known as the “Lone Survivor,” Marcus Luttrell.
For his bravery that day, Murphy was given the Medal of Honor.
On his birthday every year, the sailors on board celebrate:
Cross Fit fans know Murphy, too. A ridiculously difficult exercise regimen that Murphy called his “Body of Armor” work out now is known simply as “The Murph”:
When the ship was commissioned in October of 2012, the Secretary of the Navy, Ray Mabus, said:
“This ship honors the courage, service and sacrifice of Lt. Michael Murphy, his Red Wings brothers, fellow SEALs, special operators and service members around the world who answer the call of duty every day,” said Mabus. “It is absolutely fitting that the USS Michael Murphy bears a SEAL trident on her crest because, much like Michael and every Navy SEAL who has earned the honor of wearing the trident, this ship is designed to counter threats from above and below the surface of the oceans, in the air and on land.”
The ship’s crest features Murphy’s Medal of Honor and his SEAL Trident:
As one member of the Navy brass said the day of its commissioning:
“[L]ike its namesake Lt. Michael Murphy, this ship will serve to protect, influence and win in an era of uncertainty."
The ship’s motto is “Lead the fight."
Kim Jong-un might want to keep that in mind.