Michael Murphy was born on May 7, 1976, in Smithtown, New York. He graduated from Pennsylvania State University in 1998, and entered Navy Officer Candidate School in September 2000. Murphy was commissioned an Ensign in the U.S. Navy on December 13, 2000, and was trained as a Navy SEAL. In July 2002, Murphy was assigned to SDV Team ONE at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, and in October he deployed to Jordan as the liaison officer for Exercise Early Victor. He was next assigned to Special Operations Central Command in Florida, during which time he deployed to Qatar in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. LT Murphy next deployed to Djibouti before being assigned to SEAL Delivery Team ONE as assistant officer in charge of ALFA Platoon in early 2005 in support of Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan. During Operation Red Wings in June 2005, LT Murphy led a four-man reconnaissance team on a mission to locate a top Taliban leader. Murphy and two of his men were killed in action during the mission on June 28, 2005. He was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor for this mission. Michael Murphy was buried at Calverton National Cemetery in Calverton, New York.
His Medal of Honor Citation reads:
For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life and 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, Lieutenant Murphy reflected great credit upon himself and upheld the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service.