John Murphy was born in 1940 in Waco, Texas. He enlisted in the Texas Army National Guard on March 30, 1957, and transferred to the U.S. Air Force Reserve on October 12, 1961. After completing his bachelor's degree, he was commissioned a 2d Lt through the Air Force ROTC program at Texas Technological College on May 30, 1964, and went on active duty beginning July 13, 1964. Lt Murphy next completed Undergraduate Pilot Training and was awarded his pilot wings at Reese AFB, Texas, in August 1965, followed by B-52 Stratofortress Combat Crew Training from September 1965 to January 1966. His first assignment was as a B-52 pilot with the 26th Bomb Squadron at Altus AFB, Oklahoma, from January 1966 to June 1967, and after completing F-105 Thunderchief Combat Crew Training, he served as an F-105 pilot with the 34th Tactical Fighter Squadron at Korat Royal Thai AFB, Thailand, from February to October 1968. Capt Murphy served as an instructor pilot with the 3500th and 3501st Pilot Training Squadrons at Reese AFB from November 1968 to August 1971, and then completed F-4 Phantom II Combat Crew Training before serving as an F-4 pilot with the 469th Tactical Fighter Squadron at Korat Royal Thai AFB from November 1971 until he was forced to eject over South Vietnam while flying a Tiger Fast FAC mission, and was taken as a Prisoner of War by North Vietnamese forces on June 8, 1972. This was his second shoot-down, having been forced to eject over Laos during an earlier Tiger Fast FAC mission on February 10, 1972, and being rescued the next day. After spending 293 days in captivity, Capt Murphy was released during Operation Homecoming on March 27, 1973. He was briefly hospitalized to recover from his injuries at Sheppard AFB, Texas, and then served as an F-4 pilot with the 32nd Tactical Fighter Squadron at Camp New Amsterdam in the Netherlands from September 1973 to June 1976, followed by Air Command and Staff College at Maxwell AFB, Alabama. Maj Murphy's final assignment was on the staff of Headquarters U.S. Air Force in the Pentagon, where he served as an Air Operations Staff Officer with the Tactical Division in the Office of the Deputy Director for Combat Readiness, Directorate of Operations and Readiness, Deputy Chief of Staff for Plans and Operations, from June 1977 until he resigned his commission in the Air Force on June 15, 1978. John retired from the business world in 2003 as Vice President for Operations of S-TEC, a general aviation autopilot and instrument manufacturer. He and his wife Jo have been married since 1959, and have 3 children and 8 grand children.
His 2nd Distinguished Flying Cross w/Valor Citation reads:
Captain John S. Murphy distinguished himself by heroism while participating in aerial flight as an F-4E Forward Air Controller in Southeast Asia on 30 April 1972. On that date Captain Murphy repeatedly led strike flights into lucrative warehouse and storage complexes despite deteriorating weather and intense antiaircraft fire. Remaining in the target area for over four hours, his directions, under extremely trying circumstances, were responsible for the destruction of eleven warehouses and large amounts of supplies with no friendly losses. The outstanding heroism and selfless devotion to duty displayed by Captain Murphy reflect great credit upon himself and the United States Air Force.