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Navy ship gets slain LI SEAL's patch

A plaque honoring Navy SEAL Lt. Michael Murphy

A plaque honoring Navy SEAL Lt. Michael Murphy displays the patch he was wearing when killed. (Oct. 14, 2007). Photo Credit: Charles Eckert

After the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks claimed nearly 3,000 lives at the World Trade Center, a Navy SEAL from Patchogue asked a Manhattan fire company if members of his platoon could wear the company's distinctive red patch on their fatigues.

The SEAL, Navy Lt. Michael P. Murphy, believed his men would be inspired by the sacrifices New York firefighters made on that day, said his father, Daniel Murphy of Wading River.

"He wanted to remind his men of why they were in Afghanistan -- to get the men who planned, plotted and executed 9/11," Murphy said. "He took his deployment to Afghanistan very seriously."

Friday, the FDNY patch Murphy wore during a 2005 battle in which he was killed on a mountainside in Afghanistan will be included in a box of keepsakes that will become a permanent fixture aboard a new Navy destroyer that is being named in Murphy's honor. Murphy was later given the Medal of Honor by President George W. Bush. The patch and other items will be placed in the box on board the destroyer as part of a "mast stepping" ceremony in Bath, Maine. The battleship will be formally christened Saturday.

The patch Murphy sought was that of Engine Company 53, Ladder 43, based, as the patch proudly reads, in Spanish Harlem. The bright red patch features images of an ax, crowbar and fire hose nozzle set against flames. Under the images are the words "El Barrios Bravest."

At the time, a childhood friend of Murphy's was a firefighter at that house.

"Michael always believed the fire department and all the first responders who sacrificed so much were doing the same thing he and his men were doing -- trying to protect people," Daniel Murphy said.

Michael Murphy was leading a four-man SEAL reconnaissance team assigned to capture or kill a high-ranking Taliban leader when his unit was surrounded in the rugged mountains of eastern Afghanistan in June 2005.

Murphy and two other SEALs were killed in an intense battle during which Murphy went into the open to try and summon help on a radio.

Murphy posthumously was made the first sailor to receive the Medal of Honor since the Vietnam War, when President George W. Bush awarded it in 2007.

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