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Michael P. Murphy graduated from Penn State University in 2000 with a double major in political science and psychology.
The 24-year-old Long Island resident talked about going to law school afterward.
Instead, Murphy surprised his family and girlfriend by following his dream of becoming a Navy SEAL.
But then Murphy’s military career took a turn when America was attacked on September 11, 2001.
Four years later, Murphy completed his fourth broadcast and was preparing to marry his five-year-old girlfriend Heather in November.
But that all changed on June 28, 2005.
Murphy, along with three of his fellow teammates, Matthew G. Axelson, Danny Dietz and Marcus Luttrell, had tarnished their position in the rugged mountains of Afghanistan.
A fight ensued.
The SEAL team was trapped by the heavy enemy fire.
In a brave and selfless act of heroism, Murphy unmasked himself from hiding to gain radio communications with the team’s rapid response force.
The message has been sent.
Murphy was killed at the age of 29, along with 18 other servicemen, in the tragic events of Operation Red Wing.
But his story may never have been properly told if it weren’t for the will of one man to survive against all odds, Marcus Luttrell.
The book Lone Survivor, written by Luttrell in 2007 and later made into a movie in 2013, chronicled Murphy’s heroic last-ditch effort to save his team.
Now, nearly 10 miles from Patchogue, the birthplace of Murphy’s Long Island, The Lt. Michael P. Murphy Navy SEAL Museum opened in Sayville on June 28 – after five years in the making and 17 years until the day of Operation Red Wing.
The second Navy SEAL museum in the country, the museum honors SEALs who have served and made the ultimate sacrifice to serve our country.
“It was never about Michael. As a family unit, it was a conscious decision not to make this about Michael,” his father, Daniel Murphy, told the Post. “It’s about the Navy Seals, the Navy Seal experience and the history of Naval Special Warfare from the UDTs to date.”
The Medal of Honor, the United States military’s highest award posthumously awarded to Murphy’s parents, is displayed upon entry. Above it is a portrait of Murphy with a quote his parents said he lived: “Education will set you free.”
As a tribute to the many organizations that have contributed to the creation of the museum, the wall is ‘Heart of the Museum’.
Thanks to generous donations of time, labor and materials, the museum, which should have cost $5 million dollars to build, was reduced to $2 million, Daniel Murphy said.
Exhibits range from the SEALs’ early roots in World War II, to the Underwater Demolition Teams during the Korean War, to their official formation during the Vietnam War, and to the assassination of Osama Bin Laden by SEAL Team Six.
The museum has an extensive display of weapons and equipment used by the teams, interactive exhibits, and even SEAL Adventure Ride.
“It’s great to talk to today’s youth, where they show excitement and interest in history, the military, and being a seal,” said Chris Willey, the museum director and retired Navy SEAL.
Operation Redwing has its own department in the museum. In the center of the room is a terrain model that describes the sequence of events of that tragic day. On the side, a small screen plays the documentary ‘Murphy the Protector’.
“They’re stories about Mike personally, and they want to know more about him,” said his mother, Maureen Murphy. “That’s the impact he had. They felt that Mike was their son. Their Long Island son.”
Murphy’s photo and 314 other Navy SEALs killed in action or training are scattered on the wall of “The Cost of Freedom.”
The facility also acts as the Lt. Michael Murphy Division of the US Naval Sea Cadet Corps. An organization for young people aged 11-17 to learn leadership values and give back to the community through volunteering.
“I hope what guests infer is, ‘I’m part of a community of Americans who cherish and value freedom,'” said Daniel Murphy. “And ‘I have that because of the people who are represented on these walls.'”