Islip ceremony honors fallen Navy SEAL
Under an image of the famed World War II general, the family of Lt. Michael P. Murphy accepted Islip Township's Gen. Douglas MacArthur Leadership Award on behalf of the Navy SEAL who perished in a 2005 firefight on an Afghanistan mountainside.
"For me, it's like it happened only last month," said Murphy's mother, Maureen Murphy, of Patchogue. "But I think it's so nice people still remember Mike."
Town Supervisor Tom Croci presented the award Thursday afternoon at Long Island MacArthur Airport. Croci, a Naval Reserve officer, had been on duty as a White House military liaison when President George W. Bush was informed that Murphy and his four-member team of Navy SEAL commandos had gone missing.
Murphy and two other SEALs were killed while the team was stalking a high-level Taliban leader in rugged terrain near the Pakistan border. They had been cornered by dozens of Afghan insurgents shortly after goat herders stumbled across their mountain hideout.
Murphy was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor, the nation's highest military honor, for risking his life while trying to bring help to his comrades. A Navy destroyer named in Murphy's honor is scheduled to be commissioned at an October ceremony in New York Harbor.
Islip's annual MacArthur award was initiated four years ago by former Town Councilman Chris Bodkin.
Past recipients of the award, which is presented each year on MacArthur's birthday, include Capt. Lou Delli-Pizzi, of the 69th Infantry Regiment; Tommy Teufel, a Suffolk police officer, and the late Steve Clark, who founded the 9-1-1 Veterans charity.