Archive for the ‘Mullen’ Category

U.S. Military Adjusts Toward Confidence in Obama

November 30, 2008

Adm. Michael Mullen, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, went unarmed into his first meeting with the new commander in chief — no aides, no PowerPoint presentation, no briefing books. Summoned nine days ago to President-elect Barack Obama‘s Chicago transition office, Mullen showed up with just a pad, a pen and a desire to take the measure of his incoming boss. 

 

By Karen DeYoung
Washington Post Staff Writer
Sunday, November 30, 2008; Page A01

Joint Chiefs Chairman Adm. Mike Mullen speaks with The Associated ... 
Joint Chiefs Chairman Adm. Mike Mullen speaks with The Associated Press during an interview at the Pentagon, Tuesday, Nov. 18, 2008. (AP Photo/Haraz N. Ghanbari)

There was little talk of exiting Iraq or beefing up the U.S. force in Afghanistan; the one-on-one, 45-minute conversation ranged from the personal to the philosophical. Mullen came away with what he wanted: a view of the next president as a non-ideological pragmatist who was willing to both listen and lead. After the meeting, the chairman “felt very good, very positive,” according to Mullen spokesman Capt. John Kirby.

As Obama prepares to announce his national security team tomorrow, he faces a military that has long mistrusted Democrats and is particularly wary of a young, intellectual leader with no experience in uniform, who once called Iraq a “dumb” war. Military leaders have all heard his pledge to withdraw most combat forces from Iraq within 16 months — sooner than commanders on the ground have recommended — and his implied criticism of the Afghanistan war effort during the Bush administration.

But so far, Obama appears to be going out of his way to reassure them that he will do nothing rash and will seek their advice, even while making clear that he may not always take it. He has demonstrated an ability to speak the lingo, talk about “mission plans” and “tasking,” and to differentiate between strategy and tactics, a distinction Republican nominee John McCain accused him of misunderstanding during the campaign.

Obama has been careful to separate his criticism of Bush policy from his praise of the military’s valor and performance, while Michelle Obama‘s public expressions of concern for military families have gone over well. But most important, according to several senior officers and civilian Pentagon officials who would speak about their incoming leader only on the condition of anonymity, is the expectation of renewed respect for the chain of command and greater realism about U.S. military goals and capabilities, which many found lacking during the Bush years.

“Open and serious debate versus ideological certitude will be a great relief to the military leaders,” said retired Maj. Gen. William L. Nash of the Council on Foreign Relations. Senior officers are aware that few in their ranks voiced misgivings over the Iraq war, but they counter that they were not encouraged to do so by the Bush White House or the Pentagon under Donald H. Rumsfeld.

Read the rest:
http://www.washingtonpost.com/w
p-dyn/content/article/2008/11/29
/AR2008112901912.html?hpid=topnews

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Somali pirates try to hijack British ship; demanding $10m ransom for captured Saudi supertanker

November 19, 2008

Somali pirates who captured a Saudi supertanker have narrowly failed in hijacking a British tanker.

The British tanker Trafalgar was suddenly surrounded in the Gulf of Aden by at least eight speedboats.

By David Willaims
The Mail (London)

Negotiations over the Sirius Star, packed with two million barrels of crude oil worth $100million (£67m) – enough to supply the whole of France for a day – were said still not to have opened formally.
An undated photo of the Sirius Star in South Korean waters.

Above: The Sirius Star — a crude “super tanker” flagged in Liberia and owned by the Saudi Arabian-based Saudi Aramco company — was attacked on Saturday more than 450 nautical miles southeast of Mombasa, Kenya.

Meanwhile a Greek carrier and a Thai fishing vessel were the latest to be captured by pirates this week.

Read the rest:
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/worldnews/article-
1086658/Now-Somali-pirates-try-hijack-British-s
hip-demanding-10m-ransom-captured-Saudi-sup
ertanker.html

It was rescued when the German frigate Karlsruhe on patrol 12 miles away sent a helicopter to scare off the pirates who fled at high speed.

The latest audacious attack by Somali pirates comes as they are expected to a record ransom of more than $10million for the release of the Saudi oil supertanker hijacked off the Kenyan coast.

“Audacity” Of Somali Pirates No Surprise: Their Nation is in Turmoil, Piracy Makes Them Wealthy in “Pirate Towns”

November 18, 2008

From NPR

Pirates who seized a Saudi supertanker earlier this week were nearing a Somali port on Tuesday, where they were expected to begin negotiations for the release of the crew and cargo.

The Sirius Star is three times the size of an aircraft carrier and believed to be carrying more than $100 millions worth of crude oil.

Piracy is a multi-billion dollar industry off the coast of Somalia, where commercial ships are routinely seized for the value of the cargo and to ransom the crew.

This undated picture made at an unknown location shows the the ... 
This undated picture made at an unknown location shows the the MV Sirius Star a Saudi oil supertanker which has been hijacked by Somali pirates. The owner of a Saudi oil supertanker hijacked by Somali pirates over the weekend said the 25 crew members are safe and the ship is fully loaded with crude — a cargo worth about US$100 million at current prices. Dubai-based Vela International Marine Ltd., a subsidiary of Saudi oil company Aramco, said in a statement Monday, Nov. 17, 2008, that company response teams have been set up and are working to ensure the release of the crew and the vessel.(AP Photo/Fred Vloo)

Despite anti-piracy efforts by the U.S., NATO and other European powers in the Gulf of Aden, the pirates have widened their field of operation. The Sirius Star was hijacked in the Indian Ocean, 450 miles off the coast of Kenya.

The vessel reportedly appears to be heading for the coastal village of Eyl in the semi-autonomous province of Puntland — a known pirate base.

The attacks have driven up insurance costs, forced some ships to go round South Africa instead of through the Suez Canal and secured millions of dollars in ransoms.

Hear the radio report:
http://www.npr.org/templates/player/mediaPlayer.html?action=1&t=1&islist=false&id=97124768&m=97124740

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“They have money; they have power and they are getting stronger by the day,” says Abdi Farah Juha who lives in the regional capital, Garowe.

They wed the most beautiful girls; they are building big houses; they have new cars; new guns,” he says.

“Piracy in many ways is socially acceptable. They have become fashionable.”

Most of them are aged between 20 and 35 years – in it for the money.

And the rewards they receive are rich in a country where….

Read the rest:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/africa/7650415.stm

Joint Chiefs Chairman Adm. Michael Mullen gestures during a ... 
Admiral Mike Mullen, Chairman of the joint chiefs of staff, says the hostages held at sea by pirates makes military intervention difficult and dangerous…..(AP Photo/Kevin Wolf)

From AFP

The top US military officer said Monday he was “stunned” by the reach of the Somali pirates who seized a Saudi supertanker off the east coast of Africa, calling piracy a growing problem that needs to be addressed.

But Admiral Michael Mullen, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said there were limits to what the world’s navies could do once a ship has been captured because national governments often preferred to pay pirates ransom.

“I’m stunned by the range of it, less so than I am the size,” Mullen said of the seizure of the Sirius Star Sunday by armed men.

The huge, oil laden prize, which is three times the size of a US aircraft carrier, was some 450 miles east of Kenya when it was boarded, he said.

That is the farthest out at sea that a ship has been seized in the latest surge of piracies, according to Mullen.

The pirates, he said, are “very good at what they do. They’re very well armed. Tactically, they are very good.”

“And so, once they get to a point where they can board, it becomes very difficult to get them off, because, clearly, now they hold hostages.

“The question then becomes, well, what do you do about the hostages? And that’s where the standoff is.

“That’s a national question to ask based on the flag of the vessel. And the countries by and large have been paying the ransom that the pirates have asked,” he said.

Mullen said the number of successful piracies have gone down, but the incidence of ship seizures were way up.

“It’s got a lot of people’s attention and is starting to have impact on the commercial side, which I know countries raise as a concern,” he said.

“And so there’s a lot more focus on this. It’s a very serious issue. It’s a growing issue. And we’re going to continue to have to deal with it,” he said.

An undated photo of the Sirius Star in South Korean waters.

An undated photo of the Sirius Star in South Korean waters.

The Sirius Star — a crude “super tanker” flagged in Liberia and owned by the Saudi Arabian-based Saudi Aramco company — was attacked on Saturday more than 450 nautical miles southeast of Mombasa, Kenya.

The crew of 25, including British, Croatian, Polish, Filippino and Saudi nationals, are reported to be safe.

U.S. Navy Fifth Fleet Cmdr. Jane Campbell said the super tanker weighs more than 300,000 metric tons and “is more than three times the size of a U.S. Navy aircraft carrier.”

Oil industry insiders say a tanker of this size can carry up to 2 million barrels of oil, and the ship’s operator, Dubai-based Vela International Marine Ltd, says it is fully laden.

A U.S. Navy spokesman said the tanker is approaching Eyl, Somalia, on the Indian Ocean coast. It is routine procedure for pirates to take hijacked ships to shore, where they will keep them while they discuss negotiations.

A multinational naval force including vessels from the U.S., the UK and Russia has been patrolling the Indian Ocean waters seas near the Gulf of Aden, which connects the Red Sea and the Arabian Sea, following a sharp increase in pirate attacks in the region.

Related:

Somali Pirates Capture Biggest Prize Ever: “Supertanker” Loaded With Oil
.
Somali Pirates, After Grabbing Biggest Prize, Negotiate for Loot

Read the rest from CNN:
http://www.cnn.com/2008/WORLD/africa/11/17/
kenya.tanker.pirates/index.html?section=cnn_latest

U.S. Military Chief Gives Grim View of Afghanistan

October 9, 2008

WASHINGTON — With security and economic conditions in Afghanistan already in dire straits, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff said Thursday that the situation there would probably only worsen next year.

“The trends across the board are not going in the right direction,” the chairman, Adm. Mike Mullen, told reporters. “And I would anticipate next year would be a tougher year.”

U.S. Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Mike Mullen ... 
U.S. Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Mike Mullen gestures as he addresses the media in Ankara in this September 15, 2008 file photo.REUTERS/Umit Bektas

Admiral Mullen said Afghanistan was likely to continue what a new intelligence assessment calls “a downward spiral” barring rapid, major improvements to curb Afghanistan’s booming heroin trade, bolster district and tribal leaders to offset a weak central government in Kabul, breathe life into a flagging economy, and stem the flow of militants who are carrying out increasingly sophisticated attacks from safe havens in Pakistan.

Admiral Mullen struck a pessimistic note when asked about the likelihood of those badly needed changes falling into place. “Both the trends and the status specifically of where we are on those other things right now would indicate that the trends are going to continue,” he said.

Read the rest:
http://www.nytimes.com/2008/10/10/
world/asia/10military.html?_r=1&hp&oref=slogin

Al Qaeda seen planning another attack on U.S.

February 6, 2008

By Sara A. Carter
The Washington Times 
February 6, 2008

Senior al Qaeda leaders have diverted operatives from Iraq across the globe and are increasing preparations to strike the United States, senior intelligence officials told the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence yesterday. They said the terrorists had plans to attack the White House as recently as 2006.
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“Al Qaeda is improving the last key aspect of its ability to attack the U.S. — the identification, training and positioning of operatives for an attack in the homeland,” said Michael McConnell, director of national intelligence, which oversees all 16 U.S. intelligence agencies.
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Intelligence officials also said they used a controversial interrogation tactic known as “waterboarding”….

Read the rest:
 http://www.washingtontimes.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080206/NATION/604494540/1001

Related:
Pakistan: Militants declare cease-fire

SecDef Gates, Admiral Mullen Testify Before SASC

Pakistan’s al Qaeda alarms Pentagon

January 12, 2008

By Sara A. Carter
The Washington Times 
January 12, 2008

The Pentagon is “extremely concerned” about the emergence of al Qaeda in Pakistan, Adm. Michael Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said yesterday.
Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Adm. Michael Mullen

Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Adm. Michael Mullen (Associated Press)

“There are concerns now about how much [al Qaeda] turned inward, literally, inside Pakistan, as well as the kind of planning, training, financing and support that the worldwide effort is,” Adm. Mullen said.

“So, [the Pentagon is] extremely, extremely concerned about that, and I think continued pressure there will have to be brought,” he said.

Adm. Mullen added, however, that “Pakistan is a sovereign country and certainly it’s really up to … President Musharraf and certainly his advisers and his military to address that problem directly.”

Read the rest:
http://www.washingtontimes.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080112/NATION/77666783/1001

Pentagon Gives Further Discussion Of Iranian Boat Incident

January 12, 2008
By LOLITA C. BALDOR, Associated Press Writer 

WASHINGTON – Recent clashes between Iranian and U.S. Navy forces in the Persian Gulf reflect Iran‘s shifted military strategy to use its Revolutionary Guard’s fast boats more aggressively in the region, the top U.S. military officer said Friday.

In a confrontation Sunday — captured on a 36-minute video the Pentagon made public Friday — military officials said boxes were thrown into the water by the Iranians, triggering concerns about potential mine threats. And in an incident last month, a U.S. ship fired warning shots at a rapidly approaching Iranian boat.

Admiral William Fallon

While there are lingering questions about the origin of menacing verbal threats heard during the confrontation…

Read the rest:
 http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20080112/ap_on_go_
ca_st_pe/us_iran;_ylt=AtDiluhQytzkA7EafI.
M2CKs0NUE

Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Admiral Mullen Gives First Press Conference

January 11, 2008

By John E. Carey
Peace and Freedom
January 11, 2008

Chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Mike Mullen gave a press conference in the Pentagon on Friday morning during which he discussed the stresses on the U.S. military due to operations in Iraq and Afghanistan as well as operations in the Persian Gulf and the situation in Pakistan.

Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Adm. Michael Mullen speaks ...
Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Adm. Michael Mullen speaks during a press conference at the Pentagon in Washington, Friday, Jan. 11, 2008. The recent confrontation between Iranian and U.S. navy forces in the Persian Gulf reflects a shift in military strategy by Tehran to use its Revolutionary Guard’s fast boats in a more aggressive manner in the region, Mullen said.
(AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)


Asked about Iran’s provocative use of small boats near USS Hopper, USS Port Royal and USS Ingraham on Sunday, Admiral Mullen said, “The incident ought to remind us all just how real is the threat posed by Iran and just how ready we are to meet that threat if it comes to it.”

Regarding the Iranian strategy in the Persian Gulf, Admiral Mullen told Pentagon reporters that the U.S. has been focused “for several years” on Iran’s shift to greater reliance on small, fast boats by the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps, which has taken over patrols in the Gulf from Tehran’s regular navy.

“It’s clearly strategically where the Iranian military has gone,” said Mullen, in his first solo Pentagon press briefing. “There’s a projection they were going to do that over a number of years … That was a big concern to me because of the history and the background with the IRGC (Revolutionary Guard.) This fit that mold, as far as I was concerned.”

In Tampa, Florida, Commander of the Central Command Adm. William J. Fallon
said to an Associated Press reporter, “This kind of behavior, if it happens in the future, is the kind of event that could precipitate a mistake. If the boats come closer, at what point does the captain think it is a direct threat to the ship and has to do something to stop it?”

On rumors that the U.S. is considering putting troops into the tribal areas of Pakistan and President Musharraf’s objection, Admiral Mullen said, “Use of troops in Pakistan is clearly a decision that has to be made by the government of Pakistan.”

Gates to raise US concerns about military transparency in China

November 2, 2007

WASHINGTON (AFP) – US Defense Secretary Robert Gates said Thursday he will raise US concerns about the lack of transparency surrounding China‘s military programs when he meets with Chinese leaders next week.
Photo
US Secretary of Defense Robert Gates (L) and Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Michael Mullen (R) hold a press conference 18 October 2007. Gates is traveling next week to China, South Korea, and Japan for security talks, a Pentagon spokesman said this week.
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Asked at a news conference whether he considered China a military threat, Gates said he did not.

Read the rest:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20071101/pl_afp/
uschinamilitary_071101212820

Navy SEAL Michael Murphy Awarded Medal of Honor at the White House Monday

October 22, 2007

By John E. Carey
Peace and Freedom
October 22, 2007

In a White House ceremony this afternoon, President Bush presented the first Medal of Honor awarded for combat in Afghanistan.  The family of SEAL and Navy Lieutenant Michael P. Murphy accepted the medal which honors the heroism of Lt. Murphy who was killed when his four man SEAL team engaged in a fire fight with some thirty Taliban terrorists.

SEAL signifies “Sea, Air and Land.”

Lt. Murphy, from Long Island, N.Y,  gave his life while making a radio call for help which resulted in the rescue of one of his men. 

President Bush presented the nation’s highest military honor for valor to the family.  Lt. Murphy’s father recieved the Purple Heart for wounds in the Vietnam war.

“Michael Murphy stood on a holy hill, one that ultimately led to an eternal presence,” said Rear Adm. Robert F. Burt, chief of navy chaplains, in a prayer opening the White House ceremony.

The president also told some family stories about Michael Murphy, who swam the length of a neighbor’s pool alone before he reached the age of two.

Michael Patrick Murphy

“There’s a lot of awards in the military, but when you see a Medal of Honor, you know whatever they went through is pretty horrible. You don’t congratulate anyone when you see it,” said Marcus Luttrell, the lone member of Murphy’s team to survive the firefight with the Taliban.

Luttrell called Murphy the bravest man and the finest warrior he had ever known.

Murphy, Luttrell and two other SEALs were searching for a terrorist in the Afghan mountains on June 28, 2005, when their mission was compromised after they were spotted by locals, who presumably alerted the Taliban to their presence.

An intense gun battle ensued, with anti-coalition fighters swarming around the outnumbered SEALs.

Although wounded, Murphy is credited with risking his own life by moving into the open for a better position to transmit a call for help.

Still under fire, Murphy provided his unit’s location and the size of the enemy force. At one point he was shot in the back, causing him to drop the transmitter. Murphy picked it back up, completed the call and continued firing at the enemy who was closing in.

He then returned to his cover position with his men and continued the battle. A U.S. helicopter sent to rescue the men was hit by a rocket-propelled grenade, killing all 16 aboard.

The Taliban fighters were reinforced by 50 or more terrorists.

By the end of the two-hour gunfight, Murphy and two of his comrades were also dead. An estimated 35 Taliban were also killed.

Luttrell was blown over a ridge and knocked unconscious. He escaped, and was protected by local villagers for several days before he was rescued.

“We look at these guys and say, ‘What heroes,'” said Murphy’s father, Dan Murphy.

“These guys look at themselves and say, ‘I’m just doing my job.’ That’s an understatement, but that’s the way they view it, and that was Michael’s whole life.”

Murphy, who died before his 30th birthday, is the fourth Navy SEAL to earn the award and the first since the Vietnam War.

Two Medals of Honor have been awarded posthumously in the Iraq war: to Marine Cpl. Jason Dunham, who was killed in 2004 after covering a grenade with his helmet, and to Army Sgt. 1st Class Paul R. Smith, who was killed in 2003 after holding off Iraqi forces with a machine gun before he was killed at the Baghdad airport.

Murphy’s heroics have been widely recognized on Long Island, where he graduated in 1994 from Patchogue-Medford High School.

U.S. President George W. Bush (R) presents the Medal of Honor to Maureen and Daniel Murphy, the parents of Navy Lt. Michael Murphy, in the East Room of the White House in Washington, October 22, 2007. Murphy received the medal posthumously for his action in combat while leading a special reconnaissance mission behind enemy lines in Afghanistan. Peace and Freedom wishes to thank and recognize Reuters and photographer Jim Young.
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To his fellow SEALs, he was known as “Murph,” but as a child, his parents nicknamed him “The Protector,” because of his strong moral compass. After the 2001 terror attacks, that compass eventually led him to Afghanistan, where he wore a patch of the New York City Fire Department on his uniform.

“He took his deployment personally. He was going after, and his team was going after, the men who planned, plotted against and attacked not only the United States, but the city he loved, New York,” said his father. “He knew what he was fighting for.”

Chief of Naval Operations Admiral Gary Roughead and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Mike Mullen participated in the White House ceremony to honor Lt. Murphy.

Gary Roughead

East Room

2:24 P.M. EDT

THE PRESIDENT: Good afternoon, and welcome to the White House. The Medal of Honor is the highest military decoration that a President can bestow. It recognizes gallantry that goes above and beyond the call of duty in the face of an enemy attack. The tradition of awarding this honor began during the Civil War. And many of those who have received the medal have given their lives in the action that earned it.

 Today, we add Lieutenant Michael Murphy’s name to the list of recipients who have made the ultimate sacrifice. Deep in the mountains of Afghanistan, this brave officer gave his life in defense of his fellow Navy SEALs. Two years later, the story of his sacrifice humbles and inspires all who hear it. And by presenting Michael Murphy’s family with the Medal of Honor that he earned, a grateful nation remembers the courage of this proud Navy SEAL.

I welcome the Vice President; Senator Ted Stevens; Senator Chuck Schumer, from Lieutenant Murphy’s home state. I appreciate very much the fact that Congressman Tim Bishop, from Lieutenant Murphy’s district, is with us today. Welcome. Thank you all for coming.

I appreciate the fact that Deputy Secretary Gordon England has joined us; Secretary Pete Geren of the Army; Secretary Don Winter of the Navy; Secretary Mike Wynne of the Air Force; Admiral Mike Mullen, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs; Admiral Gary Roughead, Chief of Naval Operations; and all who wear the nation’s uniform. Welcome.

I appreciate the fact that we’ve got Barney Barnum, Tom Kelley, Tommy Norris, and Mike Thornton, Medal of Honor recipients, with us today.

We do welcome Dan Murphy and Maureen Murphy, father and mother of Michael Murphy; John Murphy, his brother; and other family members that are with us today.

It’s my honor to welcome all the friends and comrades of Lieutenant Michael Murphy to the White House. And I want to thank Chaplain Bob Burt, Chief of Chaplains, for his opening prayer.

Looking back on his childhood in Patchogue, New York, you might say that Michael Murphy was born to be a Navy SEAL. SEALs get their name from operating by sea, air, and land — and even as a toddler, Michael could find his way through any obstacle. When he was just 18 months old, he darted across a neighbor’s yard, and dove into the swimming pool. By the time his frantic parents reached him, Michael had swum to the other side with a big smile on his face. As he grew older, Michael learned to swim from one side of a nearby lake to the other — and he developed into a talented all-around athlete.

But beyond his physical strength, Michael Murphy was blessed with a powerful sense of right and wrong. This sense came from devoted parents who taught him to love his neighbor — and defend those who could not defend themselves. Well, Michael took these lessons to heart. One day in school, he got into a scuffle sticking up for a student with a disability. It’s the only time his parents ever got a phone call from the principal — and they couldn’t have been prouder. Michael’s passion for helping others led him to become a caring brother, a tutor, a lifeguard, and eventually, a member of the United States Armed Forces.

 Michael’s decision to join the military wasn’t an easy one for his family. As a Purple Heart recipient during Vietnam, Michael’s father understood the sacrifices that accompany a life of service. He also understood that his son was prepared to make these sacrifices. After graduating from Penn State with honors, Michael accepted a commission in the Navy — and later, set off for SEAL training. Fewer than a third of those who begin this intense training program graduate to become Navy SEALs. Yet there was little doubt about the determined lieutenant from New York. And in 2002, Michael earned his Navy SEAL Trident.

Michael also earned the respect of his men. They remember a wise-cracking friend who went by “Mikey” or “Murph.” They remember a patriot who wore a New York City firehouse patch on his uniform in honor of the heroes of 9/11. And they remember an officer who respected their opinions, and led them with an understated, yet unmistakable, sense of command. Together, Michael and his fellow SEALs deployed multiple times around the world in the war against the extremists and radicals. And while their missions were often carried out in secrecy, their love of country and devotion to each other was always clear.

On June 28th, 2005, Michael would give his life for these ideals. While conducting surveillance on a mountain ridge in Afghanistan, he and three fellow SEALs were surrounded by a much larger enemy force. Their only escape was down the side of a mountain — and the SEALs launched a valiant counterattack while cascading from cliff to cliff. But as the enemy closed in, Michael recognized that the survival of his men depended on calling back to the base for reinforcements. With complete disregard for his own life, he moved into a clearing where his phone would get reception. He made the call, and Michael then fell under heavy fire. Yet his grace and upbringing never deserted him. Though severely wounded, he said “thank you” before hanging up, and returned to the fight — before losing his life.

Unfortunately, the helicopter carrying the reinforcements never reached the scene. It crashed after being struck by a rocket-propelled grenade. And in the end, more Americans died in Afghanistan on June 28th, 2005 than on any other day since the beginning of Operation Enduring Freedom. This day of tragedy also has the sad distinction of being the deadliest for Navy Special Warfare forces since World War II.

One of Michael’s fellow SEALs did make it off the mountain ridge — he was one of Michael’s closest friends. Petty Officer Marcus Luttrell of Texas, author of a riveting book called “Lone Survivor,” put it this way: “Mikey was the best officer I ever knew, an iron-souled warrior of colossal and almost unbelievable courage in the face of the enemy.”

For his courage, we award Lieutenant Michael Murphy the first Medal of Honor for combat in Afghanistan. And with this medal, we acknowledge a debt that will not diminish with time — and can never be repaid.

Our nation is blessed to have volunteers like Michael who risk their lives for our freedom. We’re blessed to have mothers and fathers like Maureen and Dan Murphy who raise sons of such courage and character. And we’re blessed with the mercy of a loving God who comforts all those who grieve.

And now I ask Michael’s parents to join on stage, and the Military Aide will read the citation.

MILITARY AIDE: The President of the United States of America, in the name of Congress, takes pride in presenting the Medal of Honor to Lieutenant Michael P. Murphy, United States Navy, for conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life, above and beyond the call of duty, as the leader of a special reconnaissance element with Naval Special Warfare Task Unit Afghanistan on 27 and 28 June 2005.

While leading a mission to locate a high-level anti-coalition militia leader, Lieutenant Murphy demonstrated extraordinary heroism in the face of grave danger in the vicinity of Asadabad, Konar Province, Afghanistan. On 28 June 2005, operating in an extremely rugged, enemy-controlled area, Lieutenant Murphy’s team was discovered by anti-coalition militia sympathizers who revealed their position to Taliban fighters. As a result, between 30 and 40 enemy fighters besieged his four-member team.

Demonstrating exceptional resolve, Lieutenant Murphy valiantly led his men in engaging the large enemy force. The ensuing fierce firefight resulted in numerous enemy casualties, as well as the wounding of all four members of his team. Ignoring his own wounds and demonstrating exceptional composure, Lieutenant Murphy continued to lead and encourage his men. When the primary communicator fell mortally wounded, Lieutenant Murphy repeatedly attempted to call for assistance for his beleaguered teammates. Realizing the impossibility of communicating in the extreme terrain and in the face of almost certain death, he fought his way into an open terrain to gain a better position to transmit a call. This deliberate heroic act deprived him of cover, exposing him to direct enemy fire. Finally achieving contact with his headquarters, Lieutenant Murphy maintained his exposed position while he provided his location and requested immediate support for his team.

In his final act of bravery, he continued to engage the enemy until he was mortally wounded, gallantly giving his life for his country and for the cause of freedom. By his selfless leadership, courageous actions, and extraordinary devotion to duty, Lieutenant Murphy reflected great credit upon himself and upheld the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service.

(The Medal of Honor is presented to Lieutenant Michael Murphy’s parents.)

END 2:45 P.M. EDT  

Related:
Navy SEAL Lt. Michael P. Murphy to receive Medal of Honor from the President

NBC Relents: Honors Medal of Honor Recipient Michael P. Murphy
Photo

This undated file photo released by the U.S. Navy shows Navy Seal Lt. Michael P. Murphy, from Patchogue, N.Y. Murphy, who was killed while leading a reconnaissance mission deep behind enemy lines in Afghanistan was awarded the Medal of Honor, the nation’s highest military award for valor, by President Bush on Oct. 23, 2007. He was killed June 27-28, 2005, while leading a special reconnaissance mission in Afghanistan to find a key Taliban leader. (AP Photo/U.S. Navy, File)