Warship built in Maine bearing name of Navy SEAL christened Saturday

Posted May 07, 2011, at 9:24 a.m.
Last modified May 08, 2011, at 5:03 p.m.
Maureen Murphy, mother of  Medal of Honor recipient and U.S. Navy SEAL, Lt. Michael Murphy, christens the ship baring his name during a ceremony at the Bath Iron Works shipyard in Bath, Maine on Saturday, May 7, 2011, what would've been Murphy's 35th birthday. The mother of a Navy SEAL from Maine killed in Afghanistan said "Happy birthday, baby" before smashing a bottle of Champagne against a Navy ship that bears her son's name.
Pat Wellenbach | AP
Maureen Murphy, mother of Medal of Honor recipient and U.S. Navy SEAL, Lt. Michael Murphy, christens the ship baring his name during a ceremony at the Bath Iron Works shipyard in Bath, Maine on Saturday, May 7, 2011, what would've been Murphy's 35th birthday. The mother of a Navy SEAL from Maine killed in Afghanistan said "Happy birthday, baby" before smashing a bottle of Champagne against a Navy ship that bears her son's name.
The Destroyer warship Murphy is seen at Bath Iron Works shipyard prior to being christened to honor Medal of Honor recipient  Navy Lt.  Michael Murphy, in Bath, Maine on Saturday, May 7, 2011. Saturday would have been Lt. Murphy's 35th birthday.
Pat Wellenbach | AP
The Destroyer warship Murphy is seen at Bath Iron Works shipyard prior to being christened to honor Medal of Honor recipient Navy Lt. Michael Murphy, in Bath, Maine on Saturday, May 7, 2011. Saturday would have been Lt. Murphy's 35th birthday.
Maureen Murphy (right) mother of Medal of Honor recipient Navy Lt. Michael Murphy, stands with Adm. Gary Roughead, the chief of Naval Operations at a christening ceremony at Bath Iron Works in Bath, Maine on Saturday, May 7, 2011. This would have been Lt. Murphy's 35th birthday.
Pat Wellenbach | AP
Maureen Murphy (right) mother of Medal of Honor recipient Navy Lt. Michael Murphy, stands with Adm. Gary Roughead, the chief of Naval Operations at a christening ceremony at Bath Iron Works in Bath, Maine on Saturday, May 7, 2011. This would have been Lt. Murphy's 35th birthday.
This undated file photo released by the U.S. Navy shows Navy Seal Lt. Michael P. Murphy, from Patchogue, N.Y.  Murphy who was killed while leading a reconnaissance mission deep behind enemy lines in Afghanistan received the nation's highest military award for valor _ the Medal of Honor, A warship bearing the name of the Medal of Honor winner will be christened on what would have been his 35th birthday Saturday, May 7, 2011 at Bath Iron Works, where the 9,500-ton destroyer is being built.
Photo courtesy of U.S. Navy | AP
This undated file photo released by the U.S. Navy shows Navy Seal Lt. Michael P. Murphy, from Patchogue, N.Y. Murphy who was killed while leading a reconnaissance mission deep behind enemy lines in Afghanistan received the nation's highest military award for valor _ the Medal of Honor, A warship bearing the name of the Medal of Honor winner will be christened on what would have been his 35th birthday Saturday, May 7, 2011 at Bath Iron Works, where the 9,500-ton destroyer is being built.
Adm. Gary Roughead, the chief of Naval Operations, speaks during the christening ceremony of a warship named in honor of Medal of Honor recipient  Navy Lt.  Michael Murphy , at Bath Iron Works shipyard in Bath, Maine on Saturday, May 7, 2011.
Pat Wellenbach | AP
Adm. Gary Roughead, the chief of Naval Operations, speaks during the christening ceremony of a warship named in honor of Medal of Honor recipient Navy Lt. Michael Murphy , at Bath Iron Works shipyard in Bath, Maine on Saturday, May 7, 2011.
Hundreds watch during the ship christening ceremony at the Bath Iron Works shipyard honoring Medal of Honor recipient Navy Lt.  Michael Murphy,in Bath, Maine on Saturday, May 7, 2011. The destroyer under construction at Maine's Bath Iron Works bears the name of Lt. Michael Murphy, who was killed in a firefight on June 28, 2005, in eastern Afghanistan. The ceremony was held Saturday on what would've been Murphy's 35th birthday and nearly a week after Navy SEALs killed Osama bin Laden in Pakistan.
Pat Wellenbach | AP
Hundreds watch during the ship christening ceremony at the Bath Iron Works shipyard honoring Medal of Honor recipient Navy Lt. Michael Murphy,in Bath, Maine on Saturday, May 7, 2011. The destroyer under construction at Maine's Bath Iron Works bears the name of Lt. Michael Murphy, who was killed in a firefight on June 28, 2005, in eastern Afghanistan. The ceremony was held Saturday on what would've been Murphy's 35th birthday and nearly a week after Navy SEALs killed Osama bin Laden in Pakistan.

BATH, Maine — The mother of a Navy SEAL killed in a firefight in Afghanistan christened a warship bearing her son’s name on Saturday as the leader of U.S. special forces said those who died that day would be comforted to know that al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden was killed by the U.S. military.

Maureen Murphy, mother of Lt. Michael Murphy, said, “Happy birthday, baby,” during remarks from the podium minutes before smashing a bottle of Champagne against the bow of the Navy destroyer on what would have been her son’s 35th birthday.

The Navy lieutenant and Medal of Honor recipient led a four-member SEAL team against overwhelming odds in a gunbattle in eastern Afghanistan.

Killed along with Murphy on June 28, 2005, were two members of his team, as well as 16 rescuers — eight Navy SEALs and eight members of the Army’s elite Night Stalkers — after their helicopter was shot down by a rocket-propelled grenade.

“If these brave men are watching today, they must be extremely proud of — and somewhat comforted by — the reports that the man who started the war in which they died was himself killed when their brothers — Navy SEALs and Army Night Stalkers — assaulted his compound,” said Adm. Eric Olson, leader of the Special Operations Command and a former SEAL instructor.

Security was beefed up for Saturday’s event, which followed less than a week after Osama bin Laden was shot to death in Pakistan.

Outside, about two dozen peace demonstrators held signs and banners and made speeches, but there were no arrests, Bath police said.

Joining the 3,000 spectators at General Dynamics’ Bath Iron Works were more than a dozen SEALs from Murphy’s Hawaii-based unit, as well as family members of four of the fallen SEALs and a contingent of 22 firefighters from New York City.

Murphy, 29, of Patchogue, N.Y., was leading a reconnaissance team looking for the commander of a group of insurgents known as the Mountain Tigers when he died.

The mission was compromised when goat herders encountered the SEALs and alerted the Taliban; within an hour the small team was facing 100 heavily armed Taliban.

Already shot and disregarding his own safety, Murphy left his protected position and went to a clearing — where he was exposed to a hail of Taliban gunfire — to get a clear signal to contact Bagram Airfield to relay the dire situation.

He dropped the satellite phone after being shot a second time but finished the call and even signed off, “Roger that, sir. Thank you.”

Speakers including Adm. Gary Roughead, chief of naval operations, Maine’s governor and members of Maine’s congressional delegation praised the courage, determination and valor that Murphy exhibited in leading his team under the most difficult of circumstances on steep, rocky terrain 6,000 miles from home.

“Michael was the leader of a small team, operating against our most vicious enemies, in the most forbidding terrain on earth, the high mountains of eastern Afghanistan, the legendary Hindu Kush. And a place from which a true warrior feels at home, and a place from which a heroic warrior’s released soul finds a shorter flight to the heavens,” Olson said.

Before the ceremony ended, Murphy’s mother asked for a moment of silence before reading the names of all 19 service members who died in the firefight and rescue attempt before christening the ship.

After it is completed and delivered to the Navy, the $1.1 billion warship will be homeported in Hawaii, where Murphy was a member of SEAL Delivery Team 1. The Murphy is the 62nd of the Arleigh Burke class of destroyers.

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