President Bush has awarded the first Congressional Medal of Honor for service in Afghanistan. The medal was given posthumously to Navy SEAL Lt. Michael Murphy of Patchogue, New York in a White House ceremony. He is the 4th Seal ever to get the award and the first since Vietnam.
His parents were there to receive the award on his behalf. They said that the entire story of the incident exemplified how he lived his life. He was always known as the Protector, the one who would be there to help, he was also know for his politeness under any circumstance.
The story behind what he did is beyond amazing. His four member Seal Team had been sent in to capture or kill a suspected terrorist but they soon found themselves under enemy fire. It was a well organized attack that brought them under fire from three sides with few places to hide.
Murphy saw to it that his 3 men had the best shelter but kept himself exposed so he would be able to move from man to man to check up on them, as all 4 were wounded.
Radio communications was blocked by the mountains, so Murphy moved into the open to call for help. He had already been shot several times but ignored his pain to call for support for his men. At this point he was shot at least once, perhaps several times in the back.
Amazingly, he not only completed the call for help but ended the call by saying Thank You to the man at the other end.
Read that again folks, here is a many who in all likelihood knows he is going to die, he is horribly wounded and he takes time to say THANK YOU.
I am humbled beyond all understanding at his bravery and dignity.
I would like to quote below the formal Citation out of my deepest respect and admiration for his service.
The President of the United States of America, in the name of Congress, takes pride in presenting the Medal of Honor to Lieutenant Michael P. Murphy, United States Navy, for conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life, above and beyond the call of duty, as the leader of a special reconnaissance element with Naval Special Warfare Task Unit Afghanistan on 27 and 28 June 2005.
While leading a mission to locate a high-level anti-coalition militia leader, Lieutenant Murphy demonstrated extraordinary heroism in the face of grave danger in the vicinity of Asadabad, Konar Province, Afghanistan. On 28 June 2005, operating in an extremely rugged, enemy-controlled area, Lieutenant Murphy's team was discovered by anti-coalition militia sympathizers who revealed their position to Taliban fighters. As a result, between 30 and 40 enemy fighters besieged his four-member team.
Demonstrating exceptional resolve, Lieutenant Murphy valiantly led his men in engaging the large enemy force. The ensuing fierce firefight resulted in numerous enemy casualties, as well as the wounding of all four members of his team. Ignoring his own wounds and demonstrating exceptional composure, Lieutenant Murphy continued to lead and encourage his men. When the primary communicator fell mortally wounded, Lieutenant Murphy repeatedly attempted to call for assistance for his beleaguered teammates. Realizing the impossibility of communicating in the extreme terrain and in the face of almost certain death, he fought his way into an open terrain to gain a better position to transmit a call. This deliberate heroic act deprived him of cover, exposing him to direct enemy fire. Finally achieving contact with his headquarters, Lieutenant Murphy maintained his exposed position while he provided his location and requested immediate support for his team.
In his final act of bravery, he continued to engage the enemy until he was mortally wounded, gallantly giving his life for his country and for the cause of freedom. By his selfless leadership, courageous actions, and extraordinary devotion to duty, Lieutenant Murphy reflected great credit upon himself and upheld the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service