A Tribute and Tradition – Murph on Memorial Day
Gyms and individuals everywhere are celebrating Memorial Day with a grueling workout this weekend known as “Murph.” If you have been a part of the fitness community for a long time, you dutifully get out your weight vest, and get to work. Your body may ache as you complete the workout, but it is nothing compared to the sacrifice men and women have made for the freedom of the United States – so get your vest on, chalk up, and get ready for the annual “Murph” workout.
Lt. Michael P. Murphy
“Murph” is named for Lt. Michael P. Murphy. Lt. Murphy was a United States Navy SEAL officer who died in battle in Afghanistan, but not before performing a courageous act. An excerpt from the Murph Foundation biography gives details to his life and sacrifice:
On June 28, 2005, Lt. Murphy was the officer-in-charge of a four-man SEAL element in support of Operation Red Wing tasked with finding key anti-coalition militia commander near Asadabad, Afghanistan. Shortly after inserting into the objective area, the SEALs were spotted by three goat herders who were initially detained and then released. It is believed the goat herders immediately reported the SEALs’ presence to Taliban fighters.
A fierce gun battle ensued on the steep face of the mountain between the SEALs and a much larger enemy force. Despite the intensity of the firefight and suffering grave gunshot wounds himself, Murphy is credited with risking his own life to save the lives of his teammates. Murphy, intent on making contact with headquarters, but realizing this would be impossible in the extreme terrain where they were fighting, unhesitatingly and with complete disregard for his own life moved into the open, where he could gain a better position to transmit a call to get help for his men.
Moving away from the protective mountain rocks, he knowingly exposed himself to increased enemy gunfire. This deliberate and heroic act deprived him of cover and made him a target for the enemy. While continuing to be fired upon, Murphy made contact with the SOF Quick Reaction Force at Bagram Air Base and requested assistance. He calmly provided his unit’s location and the size of the enemy force while requesting immediate support for his team. 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. Severely wounded, Lt. Murphy returned to his cover position with his men and continued the battle.
As a result of Murphy’s call, an MH-47 Chinook helicopter, with eight additional SEALs and eight Army Night Stalkers aboard, was sent in as part of the QRF to extract the four embattled SEALs. As the Chinook drew nearer to the fight, a rocket-propelled grenade hit the helicopter, causing it to crash and killing all 16 men aboard.
On the ground and nearly out of ammunition, the four SEALs, continued to fight. By the end of a two-hour gunfight that careened through the hills and over cliffs, Murphy, Gunner’s Mate 2nd Class (SEAL) Danny Dietz and Sonar Technician 2nd Class (SEAL) Matthew Axelson had fallen. An estimated 35 Taliban were also dead. The fourth SEAL, Hospital Corpsman 2nd Class (SEAL) Marcus Luttrell, was blasted over a ridge by a rocket-propelled grenade and knocked unconscious. Though severely wounded, the fourth SEAL and sole survivor, Luttrell, was able to evade the enemy for nearly a day; after which local nationals came to his aide, carrying him to a nearby village where they kept him for three more days. Luttrell was rescued by U.S. Forces on July 2, 2005.
By his undaunted courage, intrepid fighting spirit and inspirational devotion to his men in the face of certain death, Lt. Murphy was able to relay the position of his unit, an act that ultimately led to the rescue of Luttrell and the recovery of the remains of the three who were killed in the battle.
The original workout was called “Body Armor” and was posted to the CrossFit website on August 15th2005. It was well known that “Body Armor” was one of Lt. Murphy’s favorite workouts to do, and it has now been renamed “Murph”. The workout is as follows:
1 Mile Run
1 Mile Run
In a 20 Pound Vest
It is meant to be hard, it is meant to test your physical and mental toughness, and it is meant to be a workout that honors those who have put their body through much worse. This year, when you think about quitting, just think about those who never stopped fighting for their country.
The MuscleStache staff thanks all those who made the ultimate sacrifice for the United States, and we honor Lt. Murphy, all those who fell before him, and all those who fell after him. Thank you for your service.