Thursday, May 08, 2008
The Navy will name a new destroyer in honor of Lt. Michael Murphy, a SEAL commando who died in a firefight with Taliban militiamen nearly three years ago and was awarded the Medal of Honor for his heroism. Navy Secretary Donald Winter announced the new ship’s name at a ceremony in Lake Ronkonkoma, N.Y., a community on Long Island near Murphy’s hometown of Patchogue. The ship is scheduled to join the fleet in 2010. Murphy, 29, was killed as he radioed for help for himself and three other SEALs during a battle on an Afghan mountainside. Already wounded, he moved into an open area in order to get a clear signal for the distress call; a fatal round caught him in the back as he was speaking on his satellite phone.Murphy was the first Navy member to be awarded the medal since the Vietnam War. Along with Murphy and two SEALs on the ground, 16 American troops who answered the distress call were killed when their rescue helicopter was downed by a rocket-propelled grenade. The dead included six SEALs based in Virginia Beach, one of them a member of Murphy’s ground team. The engagement was the single bloodiest fight to date for American forces in Afghanistan and the deadliest single day for the Navy’s special forces since World War II.