Honoring America’s Best

The US will award the Medal of Honor to Lt. Michael P. Murphy posthumously for his courage and determination to save the lives of his team at the expense of his own. The announcement, made Thursday, makes Murphy the first sailor to be so honored since the Vietnam War and the first recipient for action in Afghanistan. Murphy’s story reveals much about how America fights the war on terror, and it demonstrates once again the courage and honor in one of America’s finest and most elite fighting units:

Two years after his death in Afghanistan, Lt. Michael P. Murphy, who grew up in Patchogue and joined the elite Navy SEALs after college, has been awarded the nation’s highest battlefield award, the Medal of Honor, for a valiant attempt to save the lives of comrades that cost him his own.
“This tells the country what we already know about Michael — that he was a hero,” his father, Daniel Murphy, said after receiving the news Thursday that the White House had made the announcement of the award shortly after noon Thursday. …
That month, Murphy and three other SEALs — Petty Officer Matt Axelson, 29, and Petty Officer 2nd Class Danny Dietz, 25 — were inserted by helicopter onto a remote mountaintop near the border. They were four men on a secret mission to track a high-ranking Taliban warlord, Newsday reported last May. But they were discovered first by an Afghan goat herder who stumbled upon their hiding place in a mountainside forest. Not long after, the four SEALs were surrounded by dozens of armed insurgents, and a fierce battle ensued.
The lone survivor of the incident, Petty Officer 1st Class Marcus Luttrell, 29, of Texas, has called Murphy, the team’s leader, “an iron-souled warrior of colossal, almost unbelievable courage.” According to Luttrell’s account, as told to Navy superiors and in a recently published book, Murphy displayed “an extreme act of valor” when he ran into the open — and suffered a bullet wound when he did — in a last-ditch attempt to call for help and save his fellow SEALs.

Some wonder why hear of no El Alameins, no D-Days, no Iwo Jimas in the war on terror. They believe that a lack of glorious battlefield triumphs mean that we make no progress. However, men like Murphy and the SEALs in action on the ground fight a much different kind of war — a quieter, deadlier war that has a special nobility of its own. Without men like Murphy and the other commandos at work, we would have to fall back to a strategy that Barack Obama once accused the military of using — “air raiding villages and killing civilians” that would not only be inhumane but counterproductive as well. These quiet warriors don’t just save American lives, but Afghan and Pakistani lives as well.
This necessarily puts them at higher risk, but they accept that gladly in service to our nation. Murphy, like all other SEALs and commandos, volunteered for the opportunity to serve in just such a situation. Men like Murphy would not panic at an adverse situation, and leaders of his caliber would not hesitate to risk his life to save those of his men.
I’m blessed to know a SEAL and to call him my friend. He’s served his country for over 30 years, and he tells me about the closeness of the SEAL community where he lives — and where he also serves in a first-responder capacity when not on active duty. It’s the kind of tradition that makes America both proud and humble, because one cannot demand this devotion or even request it — it must be given. Lt. Murphy gave his last full measure of devotion in the highest and most honorable tradition of our military, and it’s only fitting that he receive his nation’s highest honor.
Godspeed, Lt. Michael Murphy. You have honored us all.

19 thoughts on “Honoring America’s Best”

  1. It’s too bad the Bush administration took their eye off the ball and didn’t finish the Afghan war. Iraq is a mess and so is Afghanistan. We dishonor these brave heros by misusing them and their courage.
    History will not be kind.

  2. John Ruskin, the 19th-century British critic, explains: “The soldier’s trade, verily and essentially, is not slaying, but being slain… and the reason the world honours the soldier is that he holds his life at the service of the state.” We are truly blessed that men like this willingly risk all so that we may sleep well in our beds at night.

  3. crossdotcurve,
    It seems to me that people like you are the ones missusing their courage. Are you that focused on politics, or do you really not see that Iraq is a front in the war on terror?
    Jim C

  4. I’ll get to crossdotcurve and his inanity in a moment.
    The reason there are no el Alameins, Iwo Jimas, Normandy beaches is due to the nature of this conflict. Having just read Michael Korda’s “Ike” where the Eisenhower Doctrine was from the mindset and perspective of large massed troop movements which necessitated and was symmetrical in nature. This war is asymmetrical and therefore the vast majority of the fighting will be via Rangers, Force Recon, Air Force FAC’s and SEALS. All off the front pages.
    The SEALS by their very nature are elite. And I believe that in Spec Ops this type of valor is common.
    Crossdotcurve…Congratulations!Your ignorance, or wanton purposeful ignorance is now a permanent part of the cyber sphere. As there is a fluid situation in North Waziristan in Pakistan (http://www.longwarjournal.org/archives/2007/10/al_qaeda_and_the_tal.php)and Musharraf is doing a somewhat successful balancing act of attempting to be an ally of the West. But, you wouldn’t know that as evidenced by your brief screed and display of witlessness regarding the nature of the conflict that the west faces.
    Tell ya what. Go to the above link I’ve provided, educate yourself, then come back here and we’ll have an online debate.
    Now, the only rule is that you have to confine yourself to facts (and not the type of facts that Al Gore presented in his propaganda film).
    OK? Now, go surprise us.

  5. Amendment X , Do you really expect these rhetoric-minded children, (such as crossdotcurve) to actually read something “factual” and understand it?
    “It’s too bad the Bush administration took their eye off the ball and didn’t finish the Afghan war. Iraq is a mess and so is Afghanistan.”
    Not to fear child-crossdot, the Marines are heading back up there soon to put an end to this.
    Meanwhile, some one needs to pin a medal, (or a bullseye) on Congressman Tom Lantos, (Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman)for the timely measure that is putting our military in serious harms way.
    LINK
    This measure now goes to the house floor for a full debate and vote as soon as next week. Write your local representative and let them know that the full support of our military comes ahead of the senseless legislation.
    And may the Lord bless Michael Murphy and his family for their unselfish sacrifice to protect the freedoms that allow minions like crossdotcurve to opine. R.I.P.

  6. CDC,
    The Afghan war is a 25 year deal, and will not be won overnight. It is a different theater requiring different tactics. Putting 500,000 soldiers there would NOT have been a good idea.
    Nice to know you can even put politics into the story of a brave sailor who represents America’s best.

  7. Amendment: I agree with everything you say, but your trying way, way too hard to sound intelligent. Usually you are correct; try getting your point across without sounding like a complete and uder douche-bag.
    Thanks

  8. Captain,
    I’ll put up with a lot for the sake of discussion, but The_Q is way out of bounds on a thread honoring one of our fallen. Please ban him and delete his posts.
    Thank you.

  9. I know most you do not need me to tell you this, but Luttrell’s is an excellent read. Lone Survivor is a very compelling account. If you have not taken the time to read it, consider doing so. I heard him talking on a radio show and even though I heard about everything in the book, I went out and got it for myself.

  10. If believing in God makes me a “wack job,” I’m as wacko as they come.
    I saw the book “Lone Survivor” today, that was written by the one SEAL of the team that survived the fight. He said, of Lt. Murphy, that if a monument to him was the size of the Empire State Building, it wouldn’t be big enough.

  11. Lt. Murphy deserved the Metal of Honor for dying tying to save his men, but I find the story of these men compelling beyond that brave act. Lt. Murphy and his men died because they were accidentally discovered by shepherds and they let them go, fully knowing, according to the one survivor, that they were placing themselves in jeopardy.
    If the toughest warriors in our military had just killed the shepherds, they and the members of the rescue team would probably be alive today and no one would have known; but no, as Americans and honorable members of our military, they wouldn’t do that. As a result of their humanity and bravery, something that the military receives little credit for from the anti-war Left, the shepherds are alive and 19 SOF died.
    May they all rest in peace and in good conscience for doing what was as morally right regardless of the consequences.

  12. CDC,
    You are a vile person. You can’t even keep politics out of a post honoring a CMH winner. You also show exactly zero understanding of the wars we are facing.
    Democrats – rooting for America only when they are in charge. When Republicans are in charge, according to dems, America can go screw itself.
    Yes, you lack patriotism, b/c you put politics above country. How sad.

  13. Russ,
    As a personal matter, what makes CDC so utterly vile is his ghoulish fixation on “Gold Star Mothers”. He practically giggles with delirious glee when he writes about them, as he has in virtually every single post he’s written here at CQ.
    “Hee-hee-hee! Mother lost her son in combat! Hee-hee-hee! I’ll use this to bash on Bush some more! Hee-hee-hee! I hate Bush! Gold Star Mothers are cooool. Hee-hee-hee!”

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