USSOCOM Reading List – SEAL of Honor
Operation Red Wings and the Life of Lt. Michael P. Murphy, USN
Lt.Michael Patrick Murphy, a Navy SEAL, earned the Medal of Honor on 28 June 2005 for his bravery during a fierce fight with the Taliban in the remote mountains of eastern Afghanistan. The first to receive the nation’s highest military honor for service in Afghanistan, Lt. Murphy was also the first naval officer to earn the medal since the Vietnam War, and the first SEAL to be honored posthumously. A young man of great character, he is the subject of Naval Special Warfare courses on character and leadership, and an Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyer, naval base, school, post office, ball park, and hospital emergency room have been named in his honor.
A bestselling book by the sole survivor of Operation Red Wings, Marcus Luttrell, has helped make Lt. Murphy’s SEAL team’s fateful encounter with the Taliban one of the Afghan war’s best known engagements. Published on the 5th anniversary of the engagement, SEAL of Honor also tells the story of that fateful battle, but it does so from a very different perspective being focused on the life of Lt. Murphy. This biography uses his heroic action during this deadly firefight in Afghanistan, as a window on his character and attempts to answer why Lt. Murphy readily sacrificed his life for his comrades. SEAL of Honor is the story of a young man, who was noted by his peers for his compassion and for his leadership being guided by an extraordinary sense of duty, responsibility, and moral clarity.
In tracing Lt. Murphy’s journey from a seemingly ordinary life on New York’s Long Island, to that remote mountainside a half a world away, SEAL of Honor will help readers understand how he came to demonstrate the extraordinary heroism and selfless leadership that earned him the nation’s highest military honor. Moreover, the book brings the Afghan war back to the home front, focusing on Lt. Murphy’s tight knit family and the devastating effect of his death upon them as they watched the story of Operation Red Wings unfold in the news. The book attempts to answer why Lt. Murphy’s service to his country and his comrades was a calling faithfully answered, a duty justly upheld, and a life, while all too short, well lived.