BATH, Maine >> A Navy destroyer named after a Pearl Harbor-based SEAL killed in Afghanistan left the Bath Iron Works shipyard today with sailors lining the deck in their white uniforms.
The 510-foot warship left Bath Iron Works following a ceremony at Maine Maritime Museum, traveling down the Kennebec River toward the open ocean. It will be commissioned on Oct. 6 in New York City before traveling to the Pacific Ocean, where its home will be Pearl Harbor.
The USS Michael Murphy is named for a Medal of Honor recipient from New York’s Long Island who led a four-member SEAL team against overwhelming odds in a gun battle in Afghanistan on June 28, 2005.
Lt. Murphy, 29, from Patchogue, N.Y., was one of 19 U.S. military personnel killed in the Hindu Kush mountains of eastern Afghanistan — three in a firefight with the enemy and 16 on a helicopter shot down as it flew in to aid Murphy’s unit. Five of the SEALs killed, including Murphy, were with SEAL Delivery Vehicle Team One based at Pearl City Peninsula.
It began when a gunbattle erupted between a four-man SEAL team led by Murphy and 80 to 100 enemy fighters high in the remote mountains of Kunar province.
Intent on making contact with headquarters, Murphy, wounded and disregarding his own safety, moved into the open to get a better position to transmit a call for help for his men, the Navy said.
At one point he was shot in the back, causing him to drop the transmitter, but Murphy retrieved it, completed the call and continued firing on the enemy.
When it was over, 11 SEALs had been killed — the greatest loss for Naval Special Warfare since World War II — along with eight Army “Night Stalkers” assigned to the 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment.
The USS Michael Murphy was originally commissioned on May 7,2011 but went back into dry dock for additional work.