Lieutenant Michael Murphy, PMHS Class of 1994, was one of America’s greatest military heroes. Murphy was the leader of a four-man SEAL reconnaissance unit that secretly infiltrated into the Hindu-Kush mountains on the Afghanistan-Pakistan border on June 27, 2005. Ambushed on the 28th by overwhelming Taliban forces, Murphy valiantly climbed into the open onto high ground to make an electronic call for rescue. Wounded, he fought on, allowing one member of his squad to escape, before he himself was killed.

For his great valor, Lieutenant Murphy was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor on October 27, 2007. He was just the third service member to earn that highest national honor after President George W. Bush sent military forces to Afghanistan following the attacks on the United States of September 11, 2001, and later to Iraq. Lieutenant Murphy was also the first Navy Medal of Honor recipient since the Vietnam War. He was awarded eleven other medals, including the Silver Star, Purple Heart, Combat Action Ribbon and Afghanistan Campaign Medal.

In his time at Patchogue-Medford High School, Michael Murphy was a member of the National Honor Society and the varsity football team, and a lifeguard every summer at Lake Ronkonkoma. After graduating from Penn State with degrees in political science and psychology, Murphy turned down offers from two law schools to join the Navy and become a SEAL. He and his fiancé set a wedding date for November 2005.

After serving on missions in Jordan, Iraq (twice), Qatar, and Djibouti in East Africa, Lieutenant Murphy deployed to Afghanistan in April 2005. His final mission was to lead his SEAL team to secretly infiltrate the 9,000-foot Hindu-Kush mountains with the intent to capture or kill the high-value Taliban target Ahmad Shah, known as Ismail, when the team was ambushed by overwhelming Taliban forces. A fierce firefight ensued. For about 45 minutes, the men fought on, as ammunition ran low. Three SEALs were wounded by gunfire or rocket-propelled grenades. One screamed, “I’m hit!” Murphy yelled back, “We’re all hit! Keep moving!” Lieutenant Murphy climbed to higher ground and into the open to make the call for help. Despite his severe wounds, he completed the call and continued fighting, exhorting his men to escape while he held off their attackers.

A Quick Reaction Force immediately mobilized in a daring daytime mission to reinforce the SEAL squad. Eight Navy SEALs and eight Army Night Stalker commandos perished when their MH-47 helicopter was hit by a rocket-propelled grenade and crashed.

Lieutenant Murphy’s four-man SEAL squad courageously fought on alone. Murphy, Matthew Axelson and Danny Dietz were killed in the fierce firefight as they provided protective fire that allowed a fourth squad member to escape. Lieutenant Murphy’s remains were found during a combat search and rescue operation on July 4, 2005.

Rear Admiral Joseph Maguire, Commander of Naval Special Warfare Command, told Murphy’s father, Daniel, “Don’t think these men went down easily…Taliban bodies were strewn all over, 30-40 were killed, with a total of 80 casualties from the four-man team.”

Michael Murphy is remembered with the greatest respect and gratitude by his fellow SEALs, the Navy, and our entire nation.

On May 7, 2008, what would have been Michael Murphy’s 32nd birthday, Secretary of the Navy Donald C. Winter named a new Navy Arleigh Burke-class destroyer the USS Michael Murphy.

On May 14, 2014, in a stirring ceremony, the site of Patchogue-Medford High School was officially named the NAVY (SEAL) LT Michael P. Murphy Campus.