A 510-foot Navy destroyer bearing the name of Michael P. Murphy, a SEAL who was killed in Afghanistan and posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor, slipped into foggy New York Harbor Friday morning to await its commissioning at a Manhattan ceremony one week from Saturday.
Murphy was posthumously given the Medal of Honor -- the nation's highest military award -- at a White House ceremony in 2007. The 1994 Patchogue-Medford High School graduate, who sacrificed his life trying to get help for his four-member reconnaissance team, was the first member of the Navy to receive the award since the Vietnam War.
Having a ship bear someone's name is one of the rarest of military honors. The U.S. Navy has fewer than 300 commissioned ships, and the lion's share are named after U.S. states, cities, famous battles or presidents. "To think our son Michael who grew up on Long Island as an ordinary child becomes a celebrated American hero with his name on the Navy's newest warship is something that makes me proud both as his father and as an American," said Dan Murphy, of Wading River.
The ship's arrival kicks off a week of activities organized to mark the commissioning, which will take place on Oct. 6 at 10 a.m., at Pier 88 on Manhattan's West Side.
On Monday, the ship will sail to Pier 88 from its temporary berth on Staten Island. After passing the Statue of Liberty, the Michael Murphy will pause to salute the National September 11 Memorial & Museum, a tradition the Navy said is honored by all its vessels.
At next Saturday's commissioning, Murphy's mother, Maureen Murphy, of Patchogue, will give the command to "man our ship and bring her to life," according to a Navy news release.
Although the commissioning ceremony is invitation-only, the Navy plans to stream the event live on its website, www.navy.mil. The ship, an Arleigh Burke-class missile-firing destroyer that a spokesman for its builder, the Bath Iron Works in Maine, said cost more than $1 billion, will be open to the public at Pier 88 on Oct. 2, 3 and 8, from 1 to 5 p.m.