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Murphy was born on May 7, 1976 in Smithtown, New York to Irish American parents Maureen and Daniel Murphy, a former assistant Suffolk County district attorney and Vietnam veteran. He was raised in Patchogue. He attended Saxton Middle School, where he played youth soccer and pee-wee football, with his father as coach. In high school, he continued playing sports, and took a summer job as a lifeguard at the Brookhaven town beach in Lake Ronkonkoma. He returned to the job every summer throughout his college years.

Murphy was known to his friends as “Murph”, and he was known as “The Protector” in his high school years. In 8th grade, he protected a child with special needs who was being shoved into a locker by a group of boys, this was the only time the principal of the school had called his parents, they couldn’t have been prouder. He also protected a man who was homeless, who was being attacked while collecting cans. He chased away the attackers and helped the man pick up his cans.

In 1994, Murphy graduated from Patchogue-Medford High School and left home to attend The Pennsylvania State University (Penn State). He graduated from Penn State in 1998, with a double major degree in political science and psychology. Murphy was engaged to be married with the ceremony scheduled for November 2005.

After graduating from Penn State, Murphy was accepted to several law schools, but decided to attend SEAL mentoring sessions at the United States Merchant Marine Academy. In September 2000, he accepted an appointment to the U.S. Navy’s Officer Candidate School in Pensacola, Florida. On December 13 of that year, he was commissioned as an Ensign in the Navy and began Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL (BUD/S) training in Coronado, California in January 2001, eventually graduating with Class 236.

Upon graduation from BUD/S, he attended the United States Army Airborne School, SEAL Qualification Training and SEAL Delivery Vehicle (SDV) school. Murphy earned his SEAL Trident and checked on board SDV Team ONE (SDVT-1) in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii in July 2002. In October 2002, he deployed with Foxtrot Platoon to Jordan as the liaison officer for Exercise Early Victor. Following his tour with SDVT-1, Murphy was assigned to Special Operations Command Central (SOCCENT) in Florida and deployed to Qatar in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. After returning from Qatar, he was deployed to Djibouti to assist in the operational planning of future SDV missions.

(From online sources)

The Battle:

On June 28, 2005, Lt. Murphy was the officer-in-charge of a four-man SEAL element in support of Operation Red Wing tasked with finding key anti-coalition militia commander near Asadabad, Afghanistan. Shortly after inserting into the objective area, the SEALs were spotted by three goat herders who were initially detained and then released. It is believed the goat herders immediately reported the SEALs’ presence to Taliban fighters.

A fierce gun battle ensued on the steep face of the mountain between the SEALs and a much larger enemy force. Despite the intensity of the firefight and suffering grave gunshot wounds himself, Murphy is credited with risking his own life to save the lives of his teammates. Murphy, intent on making contact with headquarters, but realizing this would be impossible in the extreme terrain where they were fighting, unhesitatingly and with complete disregard for his own life moved into the open, where he could gain a better position to transmit a call to get help for his men.

Moving away from the protective mountain rocks, he knowingly exposed himself to increased enemy gunfire.  This deliberate and heroic act deprived him of cover and made him a target for the enemy.  While continuing to be fired upon, Murphy made contact with the SOF Quick Reaction Force at Bagram Air Base and requested assistance. He calmly provided his unit’s location and the size of the enemy force while requesting immediate support for his team. At one point, he was shot in the back causing him to drop the transmitter. Murphy picked it back up, completed the call and continued firing at the enemy who was closing in.  Severely wounded, Lt. Murphy returned to his cover position with his men and continued the battle.

As a result of Murphy’s call, an MH-47 Chinook helicopter, with eight additional SEALs and eight Army Night Stalkers aboard, was sent in as part of the QRF to extract the four embattled SEALs. As the Chinook drew nearer to the fight, a rocket-propelled grenade hit the helicopter, causing it to crash and killing all 16 men aboard.

On the ground and nearly out of ammunition, the four SEALs, continued to fight.  By the end of a two-hour gunfight that careened through the hills and over cliffs, Murphy, Gunner’s Mate 2nd Class (SEAL) Danny Dietz and Sonar Technician 2nd Class (SEAL) Matthew Axelson had fallen. An estimated 35 Taliban were also dead.  The fourth SEAL, Hospital Corpsman 2nd Class (SEAL) Marcus Luttrell, was blasted over a ridge by a rocket-propelled grenade and knocked unconscious. Though severely wounded, the fourth SEAL and sole survivor, Luttrell, was able to evade the enemy for nearly a day; after which local nationals came to his aide, carrying him to a nearby village where they kept him for three more days. Luttrell was rescued by U.S. Forces on July 2, 2005.

By his undaunted courage, intrepid fighting spirit and inspirational devotion to his men in the face of certain death, Lt. Murphy was able to relay the position of his unit, an act that ultimately led to the rescue of Luttrell and the recovery of the remains of the three who were killed in the battle.

—Murph Foundation “Biography”

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A huge shout out and THANK YOU to Rob and Kim Rauenzahn for sponsoring Corps Fitness to be an Official Host to the Murph Challenge, presented by Forged.

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This annual event serves as a major fundraiser for the Lt. Michael P. Murphy Scholarship Foundation which presents over 22 scholarships each year as well as making contributions to other very worthy organizations.  If you would like to be officially registered (registration will get you a free tank or t-shirt and you will be able to submit your time to see how you compare around the country), you can do so here: https://themurphchallenge.com/pages/register  The cost to be officially registered is $40 or $60 for gold level (additionally get a hat).  Remember, all proceeds go to the Foundation.

And, even if you do not officially register, you still can join in the “fun”.  This “fun” will be held on Saturday, May 27th at 8:30AM.  This will be the ONLY class at CF that day.   For those of you who have never participated or have never done the “Murph” workout, here is a quote from the website that serves as a great motivation to get it done.

“The ’MURPH’ is more than just a workout, it is a tradition that helps push us, humble us, and dedicate a bit of pain and sweat to honor a man who gave everything he had.”

Looking for a big crowd to gut out “Murph” on May 27th….can’t wait to see you there!  Thanks again Rob & Kim!!!

**We encourage ALL CFers to come try out Murph.  If you are new or worried about making it through the workout, remember, there are always ways to scale for your fitness level.** Please read the Murph waiver carefully, and DON’T GET RHABDO!! (The post linked below sums up a lot of history on the CF blog about rhabdo – no sense reinventing the wheel.  And since you’re here reading about Murph, you should also take some time to educate yourself about rhabdo and how NOT to get it.)

Rhabdo is no go

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“New Jersey State Police Lt. Bill Fearon died Thursday December 29th from a malignant brain tumor attributed to his service during the Sept. 11 World Trade Center attacks.”

Hundreds of mourners gathered on Saturday, December 31st, to remember the 22-year veteran of the force, who worked throughout his illness.

“Fearon had been diagnosed in 2015 with the tumor, which has been linked to his response to the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks.”  After his diagnosis, he often dressed as Batman and shared his “no fear” motto while visiting local children’s hospitals, sharing his story to encourage kids to stay positive during their own cancer battles.

“Every day I put my feet on the ground and I look forward to winning,” Fearon said, according to the State Police post. “This is the mindset that I have, it’s about living without fear.”

Fearon is survived by his wife Janice, and their three children, Ryan, Elyse and Jessie.

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“Forty percent of the victims — or 1,113 persons — have not been identified, though the city presumptively issued death certificates” (NYTimes.com).  Their families continue to live with a void in their lives, not knowing whether they will ever have closure.  Many possessions and personal items belonging to these victims have been recovered, and continue to be stored in the National September 11 Memorial and Museum (dailymail.co.uk).

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As recently as March 2015, another family gained closure when the remains of Matthew Yarnell were positively identified 14 years after his death.  “Mr. Yarnell, who lived in Jersey City, had graduated in 1997 from the Heinz College at Carnegie Mellon University. He worked on the 97th floor of the south tower as a vice president and programmer analyst in technology and was one of 97 employees of Fiduciary Trust and its parent company, Franklin Templeton Investments, who were killed when the twin towers were destroyed.” (NYTimes)

More stories and recollections of 9/11 victims are presented in the NYTimes Portraits of Grief.  Information on the victims is available at the 9/11 Memorial Website.

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Image: Gretchen Kaag
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Athletic Center card

This card was used by Commander Dunn to access the Pentagon athletic center. Physical fitness is very important to a fighting force.  Visits to the gym also provide stress relief and an opportunity to interact with friends and colleagues.

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A caisson carries the casket of Commander Patrick Dunn during funeral services at Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, Virginia, September 27, 2001.  

 

Navy Commander Patrick Dunn, 39, of Springfield, MD, was killed on September 11th, 2001 when a hijacked Boeing 757 airliner smashed into the Navy Command Center where he worked as a planner and strategist.  

“The morning of September 11th, he kissed Stephanie, 31, who was two months pregnant with their first child, before leaving for work at the Pentagon. Then, for the first time, he kissed her stomach, too.

He telephoned later to tell of the terrorist attacks in New York City. After the Pentagon was hit, when he didn’t call back, something told her quickly, starkly, and clearly that he was gone.

Pat, the son of a Newark policeman, came from a Navy family. His father served in World War II and the Korean War; Pat and one of his brothers were Naval Academy graduates. He had just come off several long deployments when they met at a sports bar in Alexandria, she remembered, four years ago last week.” (pentagonmemorial.org)

Dunn’s widow welcomed daughter Alexandria Patricia Dunn on March 17, 2002.  She had red hair just like her father and was just perfect.  Stephanie has worked hard to ensure her story is shared: for her daughter, for her husband, for his beloved Navy and for all those who suffered at the Pentagon when the hijacked airliner slammed into the building September 11.  

Let’s get some today in honor of Patrick Dunn!

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Hero’s Story: Bretagne

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Bretagne and her handler, Denise Corliss, were deployed at Ground Zero by Texas Task Force 1. Bretagne was part of the Texas search-and-rescue contingent and one of about 300 dogs to comb the wreckage in the harrowing aftermath of the attacks that killed 2,750 people in New York City alone.”

She was euthanized in June 2016 at the age of 16, believed to be the last living search and rescue dog who participated in the effort after the September 11th attacks in the US.  

“Corliss recalled to NBC’s Tom Brokaw a few years ago how searchers and rescuers “would come by to pet her and thank her,” adding, “And so it became the unexpected role of therapy dog.”

Bretagne (pronounced Brittany) also responded to disasters such as Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. After her retirement at age 10, Bretagne aided other search dogs in training and volunteered at a reading program at a local elementary school.”

Click this link to learn more about Bretagne and see more photos of her in action and during her retirement years!

 

Hero Workout Story:
DT – Timothy Davis

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Matt Mensch said he and Timothy P. Davis were paired up in training in the Air Force. It was hard on him, Mensch said, because Davis was so good at everything. And while at first he thought Davis was something of a blowhard, he learned to respect his fellow airman.

“There’s a difference between being cocky and being competent,” Mensch said. “Whatever he did, he did it right.”

Davis, 28, of Aberdeen, Wash., died Feb. 20, 2009 near Bagram when his vehicle hit a roadside bomb. He was a 1999 high school graduate, having excelled as a wrestler in his home town.  

“He was, mentally, the strongest person I have ever known,” said Jesse Huggins, Davis’ best friend since Little League. “There are things that in life are so difficult, no one else is willing to volunteer for. He would.”

One of those things was the 800 meter race in track, which is notorious for being tough and was Davis’ preferred event. Huggins recalled seeing Davis throw up after many races, because he had pushed himself so hard.

Davis, who had previously earned a Purple Heart, is survived by his wife, Meagan, and son Timmy Jr, who was just 1 at the time of his father’s death. (militarytimes.com)

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AGuntalAlayne Gentul

Alayne Gentul was more than a manager. She was a friend with a great sense of humor, a terrific personality and “a smile that will light up the stars,” former colleagues said in a tribute to her.

Gentul, senior vice president of human resources for Fiduciary International, died in the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks in New York. But her memory lives on in many ways, said her husband, Jack Gentul of Mountain Lakes, N.J.

She was on the 90th floor of 2 World Trade when the first plane hit, but she went up to the 97th, because she thought it was her responsibility to get everybody out. It was particularly difficult to get the people in technical support out, because they were backing things up.

Alayne Gentul was 44, had been married for 23 years.  Huddled with eight others, she phoned her husband, the dean of students at New Jersey Institute of Technology, to tell him she loved him and their two boys, Alex, 12, and Robbie, 8.

“At least we got to say goodbye,” he said. “So many didn’t. And I know she did something decent. The chair of Fiduciary told me at least 40 people are alive because of Alayne.”

Workout: White
5 rounds
3 rope climbs
10 T2B
21 OH walking lunges (45/25) (R/L = 2)
400 m run

Ashley White’s Story:
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1st Lt. Ashley White Stumpf was killed during combat operations in Kandahar Province, Afghanistan on October 22, 2011 when the assault force she was supporting triggered an improvised explosive device. As a Cultural Support Team Member on her first deployment to Afghanistan, White selflessly served. Ashley’s actions exemplify the highest commitment to duty, honor, and country. In every instance she served with distinction in support of the Task Force and our great nation.

Ashley was born on September 3, 1987 to parents Robert and Deborah White. Ashley is survived by Robert, Deborah, her twin sister Brittany, brother Josh, and husband Cpt. Jason Stumpf. Ashley was a graduate of Marlington High School (2005) and Kent State University (2009). Ashley is remembered not simply as an exemplary soldier but as the best daughter, sister, wife and friend anyone could hope to have.
Ashley was very into fitness and is profiled in a Yahoo News story about “the team that trains together, stays together.”  

Nothing embodies the CF spirit more than the idea that combined suffering with those around you, regardless of their background, bringing you closer together.  Hers was the first official “Hero WOD” dedicated to a female soldier, which is fitting for today as we honor a female civilian hero from September 11th.

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Honoring Vincent Ardolino and all ferry captains who helped rescue hundreds of thousands on 9/11.

From Huffington Post:
“…On 9/11, over 500,000 people were rescued from Manhattan’s seawalls in just nine hours. How did this happen? What heroism made this possible? The answer lies in the resilience of the every day people at the scene that day, and the brave community of mariners who ply the waters of New York’s Harbor.

As the buildings fell, hundreds of tugboats, ferries, fishing boats, coast guard cutters and other vessels rushed towards the disaster. They did so at great personal risk. James Parese, the captain of the Staten Island Ferry, assumed he might be next. “We’re a big orange target in the middle of that harbor.”

Vincent Ardolino, captain of the Amberjack V, was at home in Brooklyn, watching the burning buildings on TV. He said, “I gotta go do something,” kissed his wife goodbye, dashed to his charter boat.

These men, and hundreds like them, pushed their boats into the harbor, and filled over and over with dazed passengers. That the evacuation was unplanned and unrehearsed is remarkable. But what is even more impressive is that not a single person was injured in the process.

The story of the 9/11 boatlift is a reminder of the sense of shared purpose and resilience that pervaded New York – and the world – in the immediate aftermath of the attacks.

As Stephen Flynn from the Center for National Policy and the organizer of today’s summit says, ‘First responders will always do their best to assist us. But, in real life, success or failure in our moments of greatest need is usually determined by the actions of regular people.'”

Workout: 
Cameron – for time
50 Walking Lunges
25 Chest-to-Bar Pull-Ups
50 Box Jumps (24/20 in)
25 Triple-Unders
50 Wtd Good Mornings (45/30)
25 Ring Dips
50 Knees-to-Elbows
25 Double Squat Wall Ball (20/14 lbs)
50 Sit-Ups
5 Rope Climb (15 ft)

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Cameron’s story:
U.S. Coast Guard Lieutenant Junior Grade Thomas Cameron, 24, of Portland, OR, in training at the Aviation Training Center in Mobile, AL, died on February 28, 2012, when his unit’s helicopter crashed into Mobile Bay in the Gulf of Mexico during a training mission.  He is survived by his parents Bette and John, and brother Alex.

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Today we remember Lieutenant Joseph “Joey” Agnello, 35-years-old, Ladder 118, FDNY, who was killed on September 11th, 2001.
 
On the morning of September 11th, Agnello and 5 of his fellow firefighters aboard Ladder 118 responded to what would be their final fire. They parked their rig at West and Vesey Street by the towers and vanished into the thick cloudy smoke and soot of the Marriott World Trade Center Hotel. Accounts by those rescued by Ladder 118 speak of the Ladder 118 crew ushering hundreds of the building occupants to safety. 
 
Survivor Bobby Graff says, “Their families should be proud of them. They knew what was going on, and they went down with their ship. They weren’t going to leave until everyone got out. They must have saved a couple hundred people that day. I know they saved my life.” 
 
Graff recalls, “Joey helped me bring handicapped people down from the 19th floor in the elevator. We then went up to the 12th floor where people were screaming and brought them down. Then the mayday call came on the radio and the command was ‘Get out! Get out! Get out!’ Joey and the other guys used their bodies like a brace – like a riot squad – directing the people out. They knew what was coming, but they stayed where they were. I’ll never forget that. The men of Ladder 118 died side by side.”
 
Joseph Agnello was a career firefighter with the Fire Department of New York, but is described by his family and friends as not being defined by his life’s work. He loved his wife VinnieCarla, his kids Salvatore and Vincent, took pleasure in his dogs, and thoroughly loved life.
 
A simple man, Joey never looked for credit for his accomplishments, nor wanted for material possessions. He found comfort and happiness in the little things: being with his family and looking up at the sky on a starry night. “Sometimes, when I take the dogs to the beach for a walk and I look up, I know he’s still around,” his wife said. “Like tonight. There’s the most beautiful moon, and I know he’s with me.”
 
Joe embodies the humble CF spirit with his humble dedication to serving others, and CF has a personal connection to Joe Agnello, as he was Bob Stichter’s 2nd cousin.  Thank you, Joe, for your service to others.  We will never forget!
 
Workout:
9/11 First Responders in Memoriam WOD (2 RFT):
343 M Run (# of FDNY Firefighters lost)
37 x Burpee (# of Port Authority Police Dept. personnel lost)
23 x WB 20/14 (# of NYPD officers lost)
8 x Turkish Get Ups 55/35 (# EMT’s lost)
3 x HSPU (# Court Officers lost)