President Bush presented U.S. Navy SEAL Lieutenant Michael P. Murphy’s posthumous Medal of Honor to his family moments ago. The text of the citation reads as follows:
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 the 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 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.
- LT Murphy received the medal; he did not “win” it. Recipients consider it disrespectful to be called “winners.”
- Even though the President awards the medal in the name of Congress, it’s not the “Congressional Medal of Honor” or the “CMH.” It’s simply the Medal of Honor. Much of the confusion probably stems from the name of The Congressional Medal of Honor Society; it’s a Congressionally-chartered society for medal recipients, not a society for recipients of a Congressional medal. The official name of the award is the Medal of Honor.
- Try not to confuse the Medal of Honor with the Presidential Medal of Freedom or the Congressional Gold Medal, neither of which are military awards for valor.
- Take time to learn about other Medal of Honor recipients, as well as recipients of the next-highest award for valor in combat: the Navy Cross (includes Marine Corps and Coast Guard recipients), the Air Force Cross, or the Distinguished Service Cross. Click on the “Uncommon Valor” logo at the top of the rightmost column of this page and familiarize yourself with other heroes of this war (especially LT Murphy’s teammates, Matt Axelson, Danny Dietz, and lone survivor Marcus Luttrell … who wrote one of the NY Times bestsellers below and appeared in the other two).
- Look over the order of precedence for American military decorations, and compare them with their counterparts in the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, and Canada