Patchogue native and Navy SEAL Lt. Michael P. Murphy. Military...

Patchogue native and Navy SEAL Lt. Michael P. Murphy. Military veterans attending the opening of a SEAL museum in West Sayville Tuesday that is named in Murphy's honor recalled the ill-fated mission that took his life in 2005. Credit: /U.S. Navy

Retired U.S. Army Major Matt Brady was one of the last people to see Navy SEAL Michael Murphy alive.

Brady was the commander of the helicopter that dropped Murphy into the mountains of Afghanistan for his fateful mission to find and kill a Taliban leader. Brady was at the opening Tuesday of a new Navy SEALs museum in West Sayville named after Murphy, a Patchogue native.

Also on hand Tuesday, a man aboard the helicopter sent in to rescue and ultimately retrieve Murphy's body after the mission fell apart.

Even the actor who played Murphy in the 2013 film “Lone Survivor” showed up for an event that quickly morphed into a gathering of Navy SEALs and other special operations veterans.

Brady was the Army “Night Stalker” in charge of the helicopter that ferried Murphy and three other SEALS into the treacherous Hindu Kush mountains near Pakistan on the covert mission.

As the chopper headed deep behind enemy lines the night of June 27, 2005, Brady recalled Tuesday, Murphy and the team he led were calm and focused on their mission.

“They got on board with confidence,” said Brady, who flew in from Alabama for the event. “They continued to prepare and rehearse and talk through their actions on the ground throughout the flight.”

The last five minutes, though, they went silent.

Then “the ropes went down, they looked at us, thumbs-up, see you guys later, and down the ropes,” Brady said.

Murphy and his team hiked throughout the night. When they radioed in periodically to a command post, Brady recalled, Murphy's “breathing was labored. You could tell the whole team was exerting a lot of energy to walk a pretty short distance.” They were 11,000 feet above sea level.

The mission soon went awry, as they came under heavy enemy fire. Murphy was killed June 28 as he moved into an opening to radio for help.

Josh Appel, a reserve Air Force pararescue specialist, was on board the helicopter sent to try to rescue Murphy’s team. They soon found out Murphy was dead and only one member of the team — Marcus Luttrell — was alive.

Appel and his helicopter team eventually pulled Luttrell out of an Afghan village where villagers had helped him hide. Two days later, on July 4, Appel’s team retrieved Murphy’s body from the mountainside.

On board the helicopter, the bodies of Murphy and teammate Danny Dietz were covered with American flags, Appel said.

Taylor Kitsch, the actor who played Murphy in the film “Lone Survivor,” said he was humbled to be at the museum inauguration.

“It’s such a beautiful ceremony, a beautiful building and the legacy of not just Mike but all the SEALS,” he said. “What they’ve gone through and continue to do.”

Latest videos