USS Michael Murphy commissioned in ManhattanBy MARTIN C. EVANS
October 6, 2012
With the only survivor of the 2005 battle that killed Patchogue's Lt. Michael Murphy looking on, a 509-foot warship bearing Murphy's name was commissioned Saturday in New York Harbor.
Heralded by a booming 19-gun salute, the hourlong commissioning ceremony drew more than a dozen ranking military leaders and elected officials, including Navy Secretary Ray Mabus, Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Reps. Tim Bishop (D-Southampton) and Peter King (R-Seaford).
The lone survivor of the 2005 battle, former Navy SEAL Marcus Luttrell, was in attendance, along with scores of Murphy's friends, family and military comrades.
Mabus told attendees the ship would carry Murphy's name to the corners of the earth, and that "Michael Murphy will live on. His story will be retold . . . again and again."
Murphy, 29, was leading a four-member team of SEALs in pursuit of a high-level Taliban operative when his team was surrounded near the Pakistani border on June 28, 2005. Murphy sacrificed himself in an attempt to get help, an action that posthumously earned him the nation's highest military award -- the Medal of Honor -- in 2007.
Under a hazy New York sky, Maureen Murphy, mother of slain Navy SEAL, uttered the command: "Officers and crew of USS Michael Murphy, man our ship and bring her to life."
And with that, members of the ship's 290-member crew took their stations as, with its radar antennae beginning to whirl, and its shrill whistle cutting the air, the Navy's newest warship stirred to life at 11 a.m.
Admiral William McCraven, commander of the U.S. Special Operations Command, lauded Murphy as a teammate who acted with "ferocious" courage.
Earlier in the week, on Monday, the USS Michael Murphy had made its way up New York Harbor, past the national wound that inspired the ship's namesake to give his life hunting down America's enemies.
"This is why he did what he did," Murphy's father, Dan Murphy, said Monday as the destroyer passed Ground Zero, site of the 9/11 terror attacks in 2001. "To make sure it doesn't happen again."