It will now be a salute to victory as well as a fallen comrade.
The news that U.S. Navy SEALS had taken out Osama Bin Laden at his compound in Pakistan landed in the Murphy household with an effect that cannot be adequately described.
Dan and Maureen Murphy of Long Island had been packing their bags for a trip to Maine where a destroyer named after their son, Navy Seal Michael Murphy, is to launched this weekend on what would have been Michael’s 35th birthday.
It was always going to be an poignant mission for the Murphys, though one filled with unbounded pride in a son who gave his life for his comrades and his country, and in so doing won the Congressional Medal of Honor.
Now it will be a journey tinged with something else: the knowledge that the personification of the kind of evil that their son had fought against in Afghanistan had met his deserved end.
“I’m really proud. It was Michael’s SEALS who bagged the beast,” Dan Murphy told the Echo.
The USS Michael Murphy, an Arleigh Burke class destroyer, is to be launched at the Bath Iron works shipyard this Saturday, May 7.
In addition to Navy SEALS who served with Murphy on missions around the world before his death on June 28, 2005, the ship’s launch will be attended by Admiral Eric Olson, currently the commander of U.S. Special Forces Command, which ultimately ran the operation that ended the life of the mastermind behind 9/11 and other worldwide terror attacks against America.
“They got the head of the snake,” said Murphy who sees the successful assault carried out by Michael’s fellow SEALS as a continuation of the fight that his son had taken to the Taliban and al-Qaeda in Afghanistan.
It was in a firefight against the Taliban that Lt. Murphy exposed himself to enemy fire in an effort to secure fire support for his vastly outnumbered four-man team.
Two of Murphy’s comrades were also killed that day. One survived. Murphy’s men were all awarded the Navy Cross, thus making the unit the most decorated in the history of the Navy SEALS.
“Michael would have been 35 on Saturday,” said Dan, who added that his son would have been immensely proud with the Pakistan mission, what he himself described as an “extraordinary projection of American military power.”
Murphy said that the launch of the USS Michael Murphy would be followed a year from now by the commissioning of the ship. This, he hoped, would take place in New York, beside the aircraft carrier Intrepid, and hopefully with President Obama in attendance.
In an email to family and friends, Murphy said he was hopeful that President George W. Bush, who presented the Medal of Honor to Maureen and himself, might attend the Maine launch.