Lt Michael P Murphy USN Medal of Honor Medal of Honor Homepage
Summary of Action Official Citation Biography Lt. Michael P Murphy USN Media Gallery Illustration of PCU Michael Murphy (DDG 112) Frequently Asked Questions Press Advisories

Frequently Asked Questions

Q. Why is Lt. Murphy being awarded the Medal of Honor? What is the specific citation for his action?

The citation is not be available until the ceremony but will be made available to the public after the presentation at the White House.  

Q. What is a SEAL?
U.S. Navy SEALS are the maritime component of U.S. Special Operations Command and the Navy’s special operations force. The SEALs take their name from the elements in which they operate – sea, air and land. In addition to being experts in special reconnaissance and direct action missions -- the key skill sets needed to combat terrorism – their unique stealth and clandestine methods of operation enable them to conduct multiple missions against enemy forces, ashore or afloat, that larger forces cannot approach undetected.

Q. Will Lt. Murphy be interred at Arlington National Ceremony?

Lt. Murphy is interred at Calverton National Cemetery on Long Island near his hometown of Patchogue, N.Y.  While eligible to be interred at Arlington National Ceremony, his family wanted him to be interred near his home town.

Q. Does the Navy consider the book "Lone Survivor" to be an accurate accounting of Operation Redwing?

Yes. Hospital Corpsman 2nd Class (SEAL) Marcus Luttrell is the only surviving member of Operation Redwing. The book “Lone Survivor: The Eyewitness Account of Operation Redwing and the Lost Heroes of SEAL Team 10” is his detailed account of the events during and peripheral to that operation. Luttrell has served this country with honor and Naval Special Warfare is proud to call him a U.S. Navy SEAL. For his heroic service during Operation Redwing, he was awarded the Nations' second highest military award, the Navy Cross, by the President of the United States. Luttrell voluntarily submitted his book “Lone Survivor” for a security review prior to its release.  While many details of Operation Redwing remain classified, Luttrell's first person accounting of the mission has been cleared for public release.

Q. When will the official presentation ceremonies take place?

The official ceremony will take place at the White House on Oct. 22.  Mr. Dan Murphy, Lt. Murphy’s father, and Ms. Maureen Murphy will accept the Medal of Honor on behalf of the family from President George W. Bush.  Follow on ceremonies will also be conducted at the Pentagon (Hall of Heroes induction) and the Navy Memorial (Medal of Honor Flag presentation ceremony) on Oct. 23.  

Q. Prior to LT Murphy, who is the most recent recipient of the Medal of
Honor?

The most recent recipient of the Medal of Honor is U.S. Army Major Bruce P. Crandall who recived  the Medal of Honor on February 26th, 2007, for heroic service in Vietnam on 14 November 1965.  Maj. Crandall's actions were documented in "We were Soldier's Once . . . and Young" by Harold G. Moore and Joseph L. Galloway.

The most recent actions that the Medal of Honor was awarded for were the actions of Corporal Jason L. Dunham, United States Marine Corps, who posthumously received the Medal of Honor Jan. 11, 2007 for action in Karabilah, Iraq, April 14, 2004.

Q. Prior to Lt. Murphy, who was the most recent person from the Navy to be awarded the Medal of Honor?

Hospital Corpsman Third Class Robert R. Ingram was awarded the Medal of Honor while serving the Marines for heroic service in Vietnam.  He was awarded the Medal of Honor by President Bill Clinton at the White House on July 10, 1998.   

Q. How many Medal of Honor recipients are still living?

There are currently 109 living recipients of the Medal of Honor.  It should be noted that since World War II, about 60 percent of all Medals of Honor awarded have been awarded posthumously.  

Q. Who is the most recent Medal of Honor recipient to die?

Rear Admiral Eugene Fluckey died June 28, 2007.  Admiral Fluckey was awarded the Medal of Honor for his heroic services in World War II while the commander of submarine USS BARB.  His book “Thunder Below!” depicts the exploits of USS BARB.

Q. How many other personnel besides Lt. Murphy have been awarded the Medal of Honor for action in the Global War on Terrorism?

This is the first Medal of Honor received by a Navy service member for actions in the Global War on Terror and the first Medal of Honor to be awarded for actions in Operation Enduring Freedom. Two other Medals of Honor were awarded for actions during the Global War on Terrorism to Corporal Jason L. Dunham, United States Marine Corps and Sergeant First Class Paul R. Smith, United Sates Army for actions in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.

Q. Are others from Operation Redwing being considered for the Medal of Honor?  Is anyone else in the Navy or other services being considered for the Medal of Honor?  Are any other persons who have received awards of a lesser degree being considered for an upgrade to the Medal of Honor? 

The Navy & Marine Corps Awards Manual, (Secretary of the Navy Instruction 1650.1H,) precludes us from making premature disclosure on any award, to include the Medal of Honor.   

“Premature public disclosure of information concerning award recommendations during their processing, including intermediate approval and/or disapproval recommendations, is a potential source of embarrassment and disappointment to both those recommended and the DON.  Therefore, personnel involved in the submission and processing of awards shall not comment on any case under consideration, and all award recommendations shall be handled on a “FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY” basis until the awards are officially announced or actually presented.  In view of the additional sensitivity regarding Medal of Honor cases, exceptional care shall be exercised to avoid disclosure of any information, including but not limited to, the fact that an individual has been recommended for the award.“           

Q. Why haven’t more service members been awarded the Medal of Honor for service in Iraq/Afghanistan/GWOT?        

The Medal of Honor is our nation’s highest military award, and there can be no margin of error when awarding it.

Q. What is Naval Special Warfare Command?

Naval Special Warfare Command (NAVSPECWARCOM) is the Navy’s special operations force and the Naval component to United States Special Operations Command. Established at Naval Amphibious Base, Coronado, California in April 1987, NAVSPECWARCOM oversees the organization, training, equipping and readiness of all active duty and reserve Navy Special Operations Forces.

Major Operational Commands
Naval Special Warfare Group 1, Coronado, Calif.
Naval Special Warfare Group 3, Coronado, Calif.
Naval Special Warfare Group 2, Little Creek, Va.
Naval Special Warfare Group 4, Little Creek, Va.
Naval Special Warfare Operational Support Group, Coronado, Calif.

These commands train, equip, and deploy components of Naval Special Warfare Squadrons to meet the training, exercise, contingency, and wartime requirements of the regional commanders, Theater Special Operations Commands and numbered fleets located around the world. The NSW Squadron is built around an entire SEAL Team deploying and includes its senior leadership, SEAL Vehicle Delivery Teams and Special Boat Teams, as well as personnel detachments such as mobile communications teams, tactical cryptologic support and explosive ordnance disposal. Additionally, they receive support from three permanently deployed NSW units overseas.

On any given day, Navy SEALs and SWCCs (Special Warfare Combatant-craft Crewmen) are deployed to approximately 25 to 30 countries around the world. Naval Special Warfare maintains a continuous training and deployment cycle that keeps approximately 25 percent of our forces overseas.  NSW forces can operate independently or integrate with other U.S. Special Operations Forces. There are approximately 5,000 total active duty personnel – including 2,300 SEALs and 600 SWCC– within the NSW community.

NSW employs a 2-year, 4-phase deployment schedule, which means following a year of individual and unit level training, NSW personnel form up a Squadron which then receives six months of interoperability training prior to its six-month deployment. The NSW Squadron provides theater commanders with tactical forces and assets that are completely trained, operationally focused and integrated with command and control forward.

Major Component Commands
Naval Special Warfare Center, Coronado, Calif.
Naval Special Warfare Development Group, Dam Neck, Va.

Naval Special Warfare Center provides basic and advanced instruction and training in maritime special operations to U.S. military and government personnel and members of other allied armed forces.

Naval Special Warfare Development Group is responsible for the test, evaluation and development of technology and maritime, ground and airborne tactics applicable to NSW forces, with possible applicability DoD-wide.

Major Subordinate Commands
SEAL Teams are maritime, multi-purpose combat forces organized, trained and equipped to conduct a variety of special missions in all operational environments and threat conditions. They infiltrate their objective areas by fixed and rotor-winged aircraft, Navy surface ships, combatant craft and submarines. By maintaining a continuous overseas global presence, Naval Special Warfare forces are uniquely structured and positioned to fight a dispersed enemy. Operating in small numbers, SEALs’ ability to conduct clandestine, high-risk missions and provide real time intelligence and eyes on target, offer decision-makers immediate and virtually unlimited options in the face of rapidly changing wartime situations. NSW primary mission areas include special reconnaissance and direct action; as well as unconventional warfare, combating

terrorism, foreign internal defense, information warfare, security assistance, personnel recovery, counter-drug operations, and hydrographic reconnaissance.

SEAL Delivery Vehicle (SDV) Teams are specially trained SEALs and support personnel who operate and maintain the SDVs and Dry Deck Shelters (DDS).  SDVs are wet submersibles that are designed to conduct clandestine reconnaissance, direct action and passenger delivery missions in maritime environments. DDS deliver SDVs and specially trained forces from modified submarines.

Special Boat Teams. NSW platforms include the 11-meter Rigid Inflatable Boat, MK-V Special Operations Craft, Special Operations Craft – Riverine. Special Boat Units are located in San Diego, California; Little Creek, Virginia; and Stennis, Mississippi. Special Warfare Combatant-craft Crewmen (SWCC) operate and maintain these state-of-the art, high performance boats used to conduct coastal patrol and interdiction and support special operations missions. Focusing on clandestine infiltration and exfiltration of SEALs and other special operations forces, SWCC provide dedicated rapid mobility in shallow water areas where larger ships cannot operate. Some Special Boat Team assets can be operational anywhere in the world within 72 hours.

Recent Operations

Naval Special Warfare has proven to be America’s force of choice to combat terrorism by conducting advanced special/force operations, gathering perishable intelligence, providing eyes on target for positive identification of the enemy, exploiting tactical intelligence and conducting timely operations to either capture or kill the enemy.  Naval Special Warfare forces were instrumental in numerous special reconnaissance and direct action missions including the first successful POW rescue since World War II and the securing of the vital port city of Umm Qasr and oil sites in southern Iraq, thus preventing sabotage and environmental catastrophe. Whether it was conducting on-ground special reconnaissance, engaging in direct action missions in the snow-capped mountains of Afghanistan, performing boarding operations in the Persian Gulf aboard ships carrying terrorists or contraband cargo, or working with the Philippine armed forces to destroy a terrorist network (Abu Sayyaf), Naval Special Warfare forces demonstrate the versatility that makes them uniquely suited to prevail in unconventional environments.