Correction appended: Oct. 11, 2012.
Penn State Navy ROTC students, crew members and friends attended the USS Michael Murphy commissioning in New York City Saturday, bringing the ship into naval duty in honor of the late soldier and Penn State graduate.
The Navy’s newest guided-missile destroyer commemorates Murphy, Class of 1998, who was killed under enemy fire as leader of a four-man reconnaissance team in June 2005, as previously reported.
Receiving the Medal of Honor posthumously, Murphy was the first person to receive the award and the only Penn State alum to do so for his actions in Afghanistan.
The ship will stay in New York City for a week, with tours open to the public, according to a press release issued by the USS Michael Murphy committee. From there, it will travel to Pearl Harbor, which will be its homeport.
Thirty-seven Navy ROTC students and four Penn State Navy ROTC staff members attended the invite-only commissioning, United States Navy Capt. Chas Doty wrote in an email.
Navy ROTC student Matty Golub (senior-civil engineering and international affairs) said it was his first time attending a commissioning ceremony.
“It was really powerful,” Golub said. “[It was] compelling to hear Lt. Murphy's dedication to his comrades. The ship will continue his legacy.”
Construction on the ship began in Bath, Maine, and it was christened May 7, 2011, Doty wrote.
Penn State graduates Ensign James Palmer and Ensign Brian Hulse are currently serving as officers on the USS Michael Murphy, Doty wrote.
Members of Murphy’s family and his comrades spoke during the ceremony, reflecting on his ultimate sacrifice and heroism, Navy ROTC student John Chanatry (sophomore-mathematics) said.
His mother, Maureen Murphy, serves as the ship sponsor and keeps working to maintain strong connections between crewmembers and their families back home, Chanatry said. She works to keep the naval families close to each other as a community of support, he said.
Chanatry said he was honored to meet the crewmembers on a ship tour.
“The most memorable moments were visiting inside the ship,” Chanatry said. “Every wall was filled with memorabilia, like the patches they wore in battle and a biography of each person.”
The 2011 Senior Class Gift, The Michael Murphy Veterans Plaza — which sits on campus — was named after Murphy to honor all Penn State military veterans, as previously reported.
An earlier version of this article incorrectly described the team led by Michael Murphy, Class of 1998, who was killed in Afghanistan in 2005. Murphy was the leader of a four-man reconnaissance team. The above article reflects the correct information. The Daily Collegian apologizes for this error.