Memorial Day 2021: ROTC Commemorates the Life of Lt. Michael P. Murphy

staff and students standing in front of national cemetery

Each year on the last Monday of May, we remember those who have given their lives in service of our country through Memorial Day. Men and women who have served in this country and given their lives as the ultimate sacrifice are heroes; heroes we celebrate and remember on this day.

On Memorial Day, along with other traditions and remembrances, there is a particular commemoration for all who have given their lives in service of their country through the Murph Challenge. The workout for the Murph Challenge consists of a 1 mile run, 100 pull-ups, 200 push-ups, 300 squats, and another 1 mile run all in a 20 pound vest or body armor. The Murph Challenge was started by the LT. Michael P. Murphy Memorial Scholarship Foundation in 2007, in honor of Lieutenant Michael P. Murphy, who died in action during Operation Red Wings in 2005.

Operation Red Wings in 2005 was a counter-insurgent mission in Afghanistan. Lieutenant Mike Murphy led a four-man reconnaissance team in Kunar accompanied by Petty Officer Second Class Danny Dietz, Petty Officer Second Class Matthew G. Axelson, and Navy Hospital Corpsman Second Class Marcus Luttrell. During their mission, the SEALSs were ambushed by overwhelming Taliban force.

Murphy willingly exposed himself to enemy fire by stepping into a clearing while trying to reach HQ on a satellite phone and was shot in the back, but still managed to complete the call for reinforcements and return to his position to continue the fight with his men. HQ sent an MH-47 Chinook helicopter to rescue the team but was hit by a rocket-propelled grenade and killed all 16 men on board. Murphy, Dietz, and Axelson were all killed in action. Luttrell was the only survivor and was rescued after several days of being protected by the people of an Afghan village. The actions and story of the SEALs on June 28th, 2005 are portrayed in the book and film "Lone Survivor."

On Memorial Day 2021, Lee Bratcher and Dr. Ross O'Brien hosted a Murph Challenge workout for ROTC cadets at DBU's Soccer Field and Old Intramural Field. "It was special to get to workout with Captain Bratcher and the cadets this morning. The Lord did not lead me into military service. Perhaps that's why I'm even more thankful for the men and women who serve and sacrifice so much for our nation," said Dr. Ross O'Brien. "We all can serve our nation and our communities in different ways. But on this day we need to be especially mindful and thankful for those who serve in the military. It was an honor to get to join this next generation of military leaders in the Murph Challenge this morning. With men like Captain Bratcher leading the way, we can have confidence in the commitment, capacity and character of our future leaders."

Lee Bratcher, who put together the DBU workout, is a current United States Army Reserves Captain. "Lt. Michael Murphy, and other members of our military who laid down their lives in service to our country deserve immense respect. It is the least that we can do to gather for a Murph workout in their honor. Find out more about how to help the veteran community at The Murphy Challenge or Carry the Load".

We at DBU are extremely grateful and thankful for all of those who have given their lives as the ultimate sacrifice. We know that our freedom was bought with a price, and are forever thankful for all of those who have lost their lives for the sake of freedom. "Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends." John 15:13

Written by Brooks Anthony

Brooks Anthony writes for the University Communications Department for Dallas Baptist University.