President Bush remembers Lt. Michael Murphy, A Tribute by newsday.com, Those who died in “Operation Red Wing”
U.S. Navy shows Navy Seal Lt. Michael P. Murphy (AP Photo / U.S. Navy)
President Bush praised the troops in his radio address today and remembered those who made the ultimate sacrifice while safe guarding America. His words of praise were part of his weekly address to the nation as he reminded us of our traditions and history behind this week’s celebration of Thanksgiving! He paid a special tribute to Navy Lt. Michael P. Murphy who was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor last month. The following is a transcript of President Bush’s radio address courtesy of FOXNEWS.COM:PRESIDENT BUSH: Good morning. This week our Nation celebrated Thanksgiving. American families and friends gathered together to express gratitude for all that we have been given. We give thanks for the freedoms we enjoy. We give thanks for the loved ones who enrich our lives. And we give thanks for the many gifts that come from this prosperous land. Thanksgiving is a time when we acknowledge that all of these things, and life itself, come not from the hand of man, but from Almighty God.Earlier this week, I visited Berkeley Plantation in Virginia. The story of this historic setting goes back nearly four centuries to another day of thanks. In 1619, a band of 38 settlers departed Bristol, England for Berkeley. At the end of their long voyage, the men reviewed their orders from home. The orders said, quote, “The day of our ship’s arrival … shall be yearly and perpetually kept holy as a day of Thanksgiving to Almighty God.” In response, the men fell to their knees in prayer. And with this humble act of faith, the settlers celebrated their first Thanksgiving in the New World.
Berkeley’s settlers remind us that giving thanks has been an American tradition from the beginning. At this time of year, we also remember the Pilgrims at Plymouth, who gave thanks after their first harvest in New England. We remember George Washington, who led his men in thanksgiving during the American Revolution. We remember Abraham Lincoln, who revived the Thanksgiving tradition in the midst of a terrible civil war.
Throughout our history, Americans have always taken time to give thanks for all those whose sacrifices protect and strengthen our Nation. We continue that tradition today — and we give thanks for a new generation of patriots who are defending our liberty around the world. We are grateful to all our men and women in uniform who are spending this holiday weekend far from their families. We keep them in our thoughts and prayers. And we especially remember those who have given their lives in our Nation’s defense.
One of these brave Americans was Lieutenant Michael Murphy. In June 2005, this officer gave his life in defense of his fellow Navy SEALs. Michael was conducting surveillance on a mountain ridge in Afghanistan, when his four-man SEAL team was surrounded by a much larger enemy force. Their only escape was down the side of the mountain. The SEALs launched a valiant counterattack while cascading from cliff to cliff. But as the enemy closed in, Michael recognized that the survival of his men depended on calling back to base for reinforcements.
With complete disregard for his own life, Michael Murphy moved into a clearing where he could get a signal. As he made the call, Michael fell under heavy fire. Though severely wounded, he said “thank you” before signing off, and returned to the fight. His heroism cost him his life — and earned him our Nation’s highest decoration for valor, the Medal of Honor. This weekend, we give thanks for the blessings of young Americans like Lieutenant Michael Murphy, who risk their own lives to keep us safe.
We’re also blessed by the many other Americans who serve a cause larger than themselves. Each day our Nation’s police and firefighters and emergency responders and faith-based and community volunteers dedicate their time to serving others. While we were enjoying our Thanksgiving turkeys, tens of thousands of these men and women were on the job — keeping their fellow citizens safe and bringing hope and compassion to our brothers and sisters in need. And their sacrifice reminds us that the true strength of our Nation is the goodness and decency of our people.
Since America’s first Thanksgiving, we have changed in many ways. Our population has grown. Our people have prospered. And we have become a great beacon of hope and freedom for millions around the world. Despite these changes, the source of all our blessings remains the same. We are grateful to the Author of Life who blessed our Nation’s first days, who strengthened America in times of trial and war, and who watches over us today.
Thank you for listening.
At newsday.com I found a great tribute to Lt. Michael P. Murphy, the Navy Seal, awarded the Medal of Honor October 22, 2007:
Born to serve: The Michael Murphy story
The actions taken by Navy Lt. Michael P. Murphy, a former lifeguard from Patchogue, on a June afternoon in 2005 earned him, posthumously, the Congressional Medal of Honor — the United States’ highest military award.
October 12, 2007
He was Everyman and Superman rolled into one.
May 6, 2007 Born to serve
On a June afternoon in 2005, Navy Lt. Michael P. Murphy lay in hiding on the side of a ridge in the lawless eastern mountains of Afghanistan.
May 6, 2007
The answer to that question might be found in Murphy’s upbringing on Long Island.
May 6, 2007
Murphy met Heather Duggan through mutual friends in 1996, at a summer carnival on Long Island. Duggan, who grew up in Mount Sinai, graduated from high school that year. She told Murphy, then a college sophomore, that she planned to attend Penn State in the fall.
May 6, 2007
Decades earlier, the father had also risked everything to serve his country and had come away with a permanent physical wound and a deep distaste for what soldiers are asked to do. But he let his son make his own decisions.
May 6, 2007
Michael was not to be dissuaded. In 1998, he graduated with a pair of bachelor’s degrees from Penn State — in political science and psychology. And exactly as his father had done more than 30 years earlier, he put on hold his plans for law school.
May 6, 2007
Navy SEALs are involved in the most treacherous and secretive military operations. An assignment might require SEALs to surprise an enemy by swimming silently ashore from a submarine in darkness, or to rappel from a helicopter onto a mountain peak.
May 6, 2007
As a lieutenant who came through Officer’s Training School, Murphy was the second-ranking member of his platoon, a unit of up to 44 men. But you’d never know it from the way he dealt with fellow SEALs.
May 6, 2007
Since a SEAL’s strength is his ability to get in and out unseen, their cover was effectively blown and a decision had to be made.
May 6, 2007
Murphy’s mission, known as Operation Red Wing, resulted in the worst loss of life for the SEALs since the program’s inception in 1962. In all, 11 Navy SEALs — 8 in the helicopter, plus Axelson Deitz and Murphy — were killed.
May 6, 2007
When Afghan shepherd Muhammad Gulab left this mountain home one morning in June 2005 to check on a strange noise his family had heard in the woods, he found a frightened and wounded American soldier pointing his rifle at him.
[Below, I have included my original post on Lt. Murphy and all who died that fateful day because, in the words of his Mom, the events of that day and Lt. Murphey’s MoH was about those other men too!]
On October 22, 2007, the family of Navy SEAL Lt. Michael P. Murphy will receive the Congressional Medal of Honor on behalf of Michael at a special ceremony at the White House. Lt. Murphy is the first service person to be awarded the Medal of Honor for actions in Afghanistan and the first Naval person since Vietnam to be awarded the Medal of Honor! The Medal of Honor is our nation’s highest Military decoration for valor against an enemy of our nation.
On June 28, 2005, four Navy Seals, Lt. Michael P. Murphy, Sonar Technician 2nd Class Matt Axelson, Gunner’s Mate 2nd Class Danny Dietz, and Petty Officer Marcus Luttrell, were inserted into the Kunar Province, Afghanistan on a counter-terrorism mission called “Operation Red Wing.” Their objective was the kill or capture of a high level enemy fighter.
Before days end, nineteen men would be dead. Three of those Navy Seals on the ground would be dead, the fourth would owe his life to a brave Afghan who gave him sanctuary despite enemy demands to turn over the SEAL. A rescue helicopter, an MH-47 Chinook, carrying eight US Navy SEALs and eight Nightstalkers – members of the Army’s elite 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment, would be shot down. All sixteen men perished. It is believed an enemy “rpg” downed to craft.
In the course of their mission, the four SEALs are believed to have been compromised by locals sympathetic to the enemy. The enemy immediately began to attack the four SEALs. Virtually surrounded by enemy forces, it was reported by the rescue helicopter that the SEALs put up “one hell of fight” [my words]. As it became obvious the enemy would soon over run the four men, Lt. Michael P. Murphey risk his life by leaving the safety of cover to go to higher ground and radio for help. Shot in the back and his radio now laying on the ground, Lt. Murphey picked up his radio and continued to attempt to radio for help.
Lt. Murphey, Sonar Technician 2nd Class Matt Axelson, Gunner’s Mate 2nd Class Danny Dietz were all killed by enemy fire. Petty Officer Marcus Luttrell survived. He was knocked unconscious during the fighting. When he revived, he found two of his fellow SEALs dead and the third no where to found. He was rescued a couple miles away by an Afghan local who found him and hid Luttrell in his village. The brave Afghan later notified coalition forces that Luttrell was safely hidden at his village. It is reported that the villager is said to have told the enemy fighters who demanded the SEAL be given to them that the SEAL was a “guest” and “would be protected to the last member of the village!”
“By his undaunted courage, intrepid fighting spirit and inspirational devotion to his men in the face of certain death, Lt. Murphy was able to relay the position of his unit, an act that ultimately led to the rescue of Luttrell and the recovery of the remains of the three who were killed in the battle” has been awarded the Medal of Honor. The Medal will be presented at a special ceremony October 22, 2007. Lt. Murphey’s family has been quoted as saying, “The honor is not just about Michael, it is about his teammates and those who lost their lives that same day.”
For his courage on that day, Petty Officer Marcus Luttrell was awarded the Navy Cross.”
Gunner’s Mate 2nd Class Danny Dietz posthumously awarded the Silver Star Medal, Purple Heart Medal, Combat Action Ribbon, and Campaign Medal and the Navy Cross.
Sonar Technician 2nd Class Matt Axelson was posthumously awarded the Navy Cross
The following men were lost on June 28, 2005, aboard the Nightstalker MH-47 Chinook that was shot down by enemy fire as it attempted to support and bring in an insertion team to re-enforce the four Navy Seals carrying out Operation Red Wing:
Chief Petty Officer Jacques J. Fontan, 36, SEAL Team 10, Naval Special Warfare Group Two
Staff Sgt. Shamus O. Goare, 29, Company B, 3rd Battalion, 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment
Chief Warrant Officer Corey J. Goodnature, 35, Company B, 3rd Battalion, 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment
Senior Chief Petty Officer Daniel R. Healy, 36, SEAL Delivery Vehicle Team One, Naval Special Warfare Group Three
Sgt. Kip A. Jacoby, 21, Company B, 3rd Battalion, 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment
Lt. Cmdr. Erik S. Kristensen, 33, SEAL Team 10, Naval Special Warfare Command
Petty Officer 1st Class Jeffery A. Lucas, 33, SEAL Team 10, Naval Special Warfare Group Two
Lt. Michael M. McGreevy Jr., 30, SEAL Team 10, Naval Special Warfare Group Two
Sgt. 1st Class Marcus V. Muralles, 33, Company B, 3rd Battalion, 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment
Petty Officer 2nd Class Eric S. Patton, 22, SEAL Delivery Vehicle Team One, Naval Special Warfare Group Three
Master Sgt. James W. Ponder III, 36, Headquarters Company, 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment
Maj. Stephen C. Reich, 34, Company B, 3rd Battalion, 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment
Sgt. 1st Class Michael L. Russell, 31, Company B, 3rd Battalion, 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment
Chief Warrant Officer Chris J. Scherkenbach, 40, Company B, 3rd Battalion, 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment
Petty Officer 2nd Class James Suh, 28, SEAL Delivery Vehicle Team One, Naval Special Warfare Group Three
Petty Officer 1st Class Jeffrey S. Taylor, 30, SEAL Team 10, Naval Special Warfare Group Two
The SEAL Code
- Loyalty to Country, Team and Teammate
- Serve with Honor and Integrity On and Off the Battlefield
- Ready to Lead, Ready to Follow, Never Quit
- Take responsibility for your actions and the actions of your teammates
- Excel as Warriors through Discipline and Innovation
- Train for War, Fight to Win, Defeat our Nation’s Enemies
- Earn your Trident everyday
United States Navy SEAL
In times of war or uncertainty there is a special breed of warrior ready to answer our Nation’s call. A common man with uncommon desire to succeed. Forged by adversity, he stands alongside America’s finest special operations forces to serve his country, the American people, and protect their way of life.I am that man.
My Trident is a symbol of honor and heritage. Bestowed upon me by the heroes that have gone before, it embodies the trust of those I have sworn to protect. By wearing the Trident I accept the responsibility of my chosen profession and way of life. It is a privilege that I must earn every day.
My loyalty to Country and Team is beyond reproach. I humbly serve as a guardian to my fellow Americans always ready to defend those who are unable to defend themselves. I do not advertise the nature of my work, nor seek recognition for my actions. I voluntarily accept the inherent hazards of my profession, placing the welfare and security of others before my own.
I serve with honor on and off the battlefield. The ability to control my emotions and my actions, regardless of circumstance, sets me apart from other men.Uncompromising integrity is my standard. My character and honor are steadfast. My word is my bond.
We expect to lead and be led. In the absence of orders I will take charge, lead my teammates and accomplish the mission. I lead by example in all situations.
I will never quit. I persevere and thrive on adversity. My Nation expects me to be physically harder and mentally stronger than my enemies. If knocked down, I will get back up, every time. I will draw on every remaining ounce of strength to protect my teammates and to accomplish our mission. I am never out of the fight.
We demand discipline. We expect innovation. The lives of my teammates and the success of our mission depend on me – my technical skill, tactical proficiency, and attention to detail. My training is never complete.
We train for war and fight to win. I stand ready to bring the full spectrum of combat power to bear in order to achieve my mission and the goals established by my country. The execution of my duties will be swift and violent when required yet guided by the very principles that I serve to defend.
Brave men have fought and died building the proud tradition and feared reputation that I am bound to uphold. In the worst of conditions, the legacy of my teammates steadies my resolve and silently guides my every deed. I will not fail.
Two other servicemembers have posthumously received the Medal of Honor for the war on terrorism, both for service in Iraq: Marine Cpl. Jason Dunham, who died after jumping on a grenade in April 2004; and Army Sgt. 1st Class Paul Ray Smith, who was killed in April 2003 at Baghdad International Airport after killing up to 50 Iraqi attackers to allow wounded U.S. troops to be evacuated.”
credit:June 28, 2005 – Part 3 – Sixteen Soldiers Die while on Rescue Mission
“Operation Red Wing”
“Two SEALs Receive Posthumous Navy Cross Awards”
“Surviving SEAL tells story of deadly mission” – “In the mountains of eastern Afghanistan, 4 SEALs made a tough choice. Only one lived to tell”:
“Former Navy SEAL Marcus Luttrell has written a new book, ‘Lone Survivor,’ about his experience in Afghanistan in Operation Red Wing, in which the three other SEALs on his team were killed.”
June 28, 2007 – Part 1 – Sixteen soldiers die while on rescue mission
June 28, 2005 – Part 2 – Sixteen soldiers die while on rescue mission
June 28, 2007 – Part 3 – Sixteen soldiers die while on rescue mission
Heroes in the Global War on terror
Stars and Stripes