Dad of Navy SEAL applauds bin Laden news

The father and brother of the late Michael Murphy of Patchogue express their pride in the role his comrades had in finding Bin Laden. Videojournalist: Ed Betz (May 2, 2011)

Daniel Murphy feels a special bond with the elite community of Navy SEALs who killed Osama bin Laden in Pakistan. Some could have been his son Michael's colleagues and teammates.

Lt. Michael Murphy, a SEAL who was killed in Afghanistan in 2005 while tracking a high-ranking terrorist, had been a member of a force that counts only 2,500 members. He was awarded the Medal of Honor, the nation's highest award, by President George W. Bush in 2007.

"I was confident that Michael or his teammates would eventually get him," said Murphy, of Wading River. "I'm proud for them and that my son was a part of that unit.

"It's a job well done," he added. "You could say the score is Navy SEALs 1, Osama bin Laden zero."

News that SEALs had pulled off Sunday's daring raid in Pakistan, which killed the mastermind of the 9/11 terror attacks and claimed the lives of nearly 3,000 people at Manhattan's World Trade Center drew approval from people who were close to Michael Murphy, a 1994 graduate of Patchogue-Medford High School.

"It's definitely bittersweet," said Murphy's mother, Maureen Murphy, of Patchogue, of bin Laden's death. "Even though he got what was coming to him, so many families he hurt are still hurting. And it won't bring Mike back. There is a hole in my heart that will never be filled until I'm with him again."

Michael Murphy began training for the Navy special forces group -- one of the U.S. military's most elite units -- in January 2001 after having been commissioned as an ensign a month earlier. Navy SEALs are trained to undertake covert military operations in small groups launched from sea, air or land -- hence the SEAL acronym.

The trident-emblemed unit, which is based in San Diego, is intensely secretive. Monday, the SEALs' commander, Rear Adm. Ed Winters, warned members in an email not to talk about the raid in Pakistan that resulted in the al-Qaida leader's death, according to The Associated Press.

Winters said America's anti-terrorism activities are not over, and that leaking details of bin Laden's death could compromise future manhunts. SEALs go to great lengths to preserve their anonymity and remain secretive.

Winters is scheduled to appear with Murphy's parents Saturday at a Bath, Maine, christening ceremony for a Navy destroyer that in 2008 was named in Murphy's honor.

Murphy was killed in June 2005 while leading a four-man SEAL team tracking Taliban leader Ahmad Shah in rugged mountains west of Afghanistan's border with Pakistan.

His team was discovered and surrounded on three sides by scores of Taliban fighters. A withering firefight ensued, killing all but one member of the team.

Murphy, who was killed when he ran into the open to try to call backup troops to rescue his unit, was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor in 2007.

Heather Blasi, who was engaged to Murphy at the time of his death, said hearing that SEALs had trapped bin Laden brought her a bittersweet measure of satisfaction.

She said her husband, Tom Blasi, had been on his way to the World Trade Center for a job interview arranged by a friend when the towers collapsed on Sept. 11, 2001.

"Obviously we share the feeling of this being a victory for us and for many families who were hurt by this man," said Blasi, who grew up in Mount Sinai. "He was just such a horrible man."

Blasi said the approach of Murphy's birthday -- he would have been 35 on May 7 -- had brought thoughts of him in recent weeks.

"To know that SEALs were behind it makes it all the more sweeter," Blasi said. "I just wish Mike were here to experience this. I think he would have been thrilled to see this happen."

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