One of his favorite books was Stephen Pressfield's Gates of Fire, the epic story of 300 Spartan soldiers battling a two-million strong Persian army. The author captures the spirit of such warriors like Lt. Murphy with this statement: "When a warrior fights not for himself, but for his brothers, when his most passionately sought goal is neither glory nor his own life's preservation, but to spend his substance for them, his comrades, not to abandon them, not to prove unworthy of them, then his heart truly has achieved contempt for death, and with that he transcends himself and his actions touch the sublime....".
It's as if Stephen Pressfield wrote those words with Michael Murphy in mind. And these same sentiments were echoed by those that spoke on this grand occasion. The Commander of the U.S. Special Operations Command, Bill McRaven said, "Michael Murphy represents all that is good about our Special Operations Warriors, and he earned the greatest compliment one Navy Seal could give to another .... Teammate. That word represents the bond among those who wear the trident, and it is the driving force behind everything they train for; it's unconditional and unending. They are committed to be battle-ready at all times; to bond together and go forth to protect their country. That's what Michael Murphy's life was about --- serving others and protecting others. His spirit will live on in this ship."
But I think it was the Commander of the USS Michael Murphy that expressed the essence of both the ship and the hero. "This ship is different," he said. "We take our mission from the story of Lt. Michael Murphy and Operation Red Wing, and the 18 others who lost their lives with him on that day. There was no hesitation; they were going. This ship is different: We take our inspiration from the families and friends of these heroes. They give us the strength we did not have. This ship is different: We take our commitment from the Builders and the 290 Officers and Sailors who serve as Crew of this Destroyer. We will continue to uphold the legacy of Michael Murphy and his teammates... This ship is different."
With that promise, the Naval band played "Anchors Aweigh" as the crew ran up the gangplank to take their places on board the ship. What a magnificent sight!
Ray Mavis, the Secretary of the Navy, summed the ceremony up best, "As you consider Michael Murphy, and this ship, his namesake, you know that American Exceptionalism, in all its forms, will not only survive, but prevail." And when I looked upon the American flag whipping in the wind, I knew he was right.
So it is with a humble and reverent heart, that I join America in wishing the crew of the USS Michael Murphy this nautical blessing .... "Fair Winds and a Following Sea." Long live the spirit of Michael Murphy!
John 15:13 "Greater love has no man than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends."