Relatives of Medal of Honor awardee Lt. Michael P. Murphy on Thursday helped break ground for a planned Navy SEAL museum to be named in Murphy’s honor on Suffolk County parkland in West Sayville.
The $4 million museum, complete with interactive displays, will be housed in an 8,000-square-foot structure at the edge of Charles Domini park, a stone’s throw from Great South Bay, said Vincent Calvosa, a board member of the Lt. Michael P. Murphy Navy SEAL Museum nonprofit organization that is building the facility.
Work on the project is planned to start next spring, and is hoped to be complete by the end of 2018.
The museum will share space in the building with a headquarters and training facility for a local chapter of the Navy-affiliated Sea Cadet Corps that also carries Murphy’s name.
Murphy’s father, Daniel Murphy, who helped organize the museum foundation, said he hopes the facility will inspire young visitors.
“It’s a little overwhelming that Michael touched so many lives,” Daniel Murphy said, shortly after digging a ceremonial shovelful of soil at the groundbreaking. “The museum will carry the spirit of all the elite warriors Michael served with. That’s the best legacy Michael can have.”
Murphy, who grew up in Patchogue, 15 minutes east of the museum site, and who trained in local parks before joining the elite naval special operations group, was killed in Afghanistan in 2005. He had been leading a four-man SEAL team on a covert mission in the Hindu Kush mountains near Pakistan when the group was surrounded by Taliban gunmen deep behind enemy lines.
In 2007, President George W. Bush posthumously awarded Murphy the Medal of Honor — the nation’s highest military award. Five years later, the Navy commissioned the USS Michael Murphy, a 510-foot destroyer, in his honor.