Monday, May 16, 2011

Test of Truth

I am always amazed at how two people can look at the same glass of water and one sees it as half full and the other as half empty...and find it fascinating that two people can read the same words on a page and comprehend two totally different messages.

With the glass of water, it is neither half full nor half empty, it simply is what it is...all depending on your perspective. The words on the page are exactly the same for both readers; how the words are interpreted depends on the lens through which they are viewed.

Like many of you, I have found that for every individual who steps out from the crowd and attempts what many view as difficult, there are plenty of individuals who will stand back and laugh when the doer stumbles, carp when they speak, and scoff when they write. Any doer has been "tested" by these critics.   

Theodore Roosevelt, 26th President of the United States had this to say about the critic in his "Man in the Arena" speech delivered April 23, 1910.

"It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly; who errs and comes short again and again; because there is not effort without error and shortcomings; but who does actually strive to do the deed; who knows the great enthusiasm, the great devotion, who spends himself in a worthy cause, who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement and who at worst, if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly. So that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat."

While researching and writing SEAL of Honor I learned from the life and wisdom of Michael Murphy that the major value in life is not what you get. The major value in life is what you become. 

Sunday, May 15, 2011

A Time To Reflect...

Last weekend was a great tribute to a fallen warrior--LT Michael Murphy, however; it was so much more than that. As Maureen Murphy, LT Murphy's mother and ship's sponsor so appropriately noted in her remarks, "even though the ship will bear Michael's name, it will carry the spirit of all 19 of those those boys killed in Operation Red Wings."

All to often, I think we honor an individual to such an extent that we tend to forget about those who trained and fought with them and most importantly, supported them. The fact is, hundreds of individuals help produce the warriors that were on that mountain in June 2005. Hundreds if not thousands of individuals came together in a united cause that prepared those men for that mission. In any endeavor, successful or not, there are many people who work behind the scenes to make sure the equipment is ordered, correctly assembled, available when and where it is needed, coordinate and transport where and when needed that never get recognized and are seldom acknowledged.

That is certainly the case with any military mission. Our Special Operations forces are best best of the best, are at the very tip of the spear when it comes to inflicting maximum damage to those who would do us harm.  With that training, education and experience comes a certain degree of confidence; confidence in the fact that you are the best trained and best equipped warriors in the history of warfare.

As I stated in SEAL of Honor, fortunately "there is a difference between confidence and conceit,  commitment and convienence, and character and contrition. It is the SEAL's fundamental difference in thought process and attitude that provides them with confidence, commitment, and character. Thankfully, conceit, convenience, and contrition simply do not apply to the warrior community."

"SEAL's are not maniacal individuals hell-bent on self-destruction.  They have hopes and dreams for themselves and their families just like each of us do...SEALs are acutely aware that freedom is not free.  They understand better than most that everything has a price that must be paid...SEALs give all and ask for nothing. Their reward is coming home to their families and friends, watching them and others enjoy the freedoms they helped secure, ever vigilant that for as long as the Lord tarries, the fight is never complete."

The next time we hear of a great military achievement, let us remember all those unsung heroes behind the scenes that made it possible for those out front to get the job done. And when we learn of the death of one or more of our warriors, let us mourn their loss, our loss, but let us not concentrate how these warriors died, but celebrate how they lived.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

SEAL of Honor Media Appearances

Dan Murphy was a guest on today's Fox & Friends and author Gary Williams was interviewed by Brian Thomas on 55KRC.  Dan will be a guest on the Michael Smerconish Show in Philadelphia on Friday, May 13, 2011.

Monday, May 9, 2011

SEAL of Honor Christening Photographs on Flickr!

We have over 100 christening photographs with many more to come up on Flickr.  See the link on the SEAL of Honor FB page.

Former SECNAV Donald Winter speaks at the Maine Maritime Museum

I was one of about 75 invited guests to have the opportunity to join former SECNAV Dr. Donald Winter as he spoke to the Casco Bay Navy League regarding the process involved of naming of U.S. Navy ships. Holding a Ph. D. in physics, Dr. Winter served as the 74th Secretary of the Navy under President George W. Bush and is one of the most personable and genuine people I have ever met. Dr. Winter wrote a heartfelt endorsement for SEAL of Honor and I am honored to call him a friend. 

Mast Stepping Ceremony Michael Murphy-DDG112 - May 6, 2011

Placing a coin at the step, or base, of the mast of a newly constructed ship is a custom still retained as wooden ships have become steel. This tradition during ship building had its origin with the ancient Greeks and Romans. As legend has it upon dying, it was customary to place coins in the mouths of the dead in the belief that this would ensure payment to Charon for ferry passage across the River Styx and into the afterlife. Because of this, when ships were sent off to battle, enough money was placed in the bottom of the mast to ensure the entire crew had enough money to pay Charon for passage in the event they did not return. As a navy, being steeped in customs and traditions the ritual has survived. The coins are placed in the mast today but now represent and symbolize certain aspects of the ship's birth and a gesture of safe passage for the crew.

The Michael Murphy's mast box contains the following items:
  • Three United States Quarters to represent:
               State of New York (2001) LT Murphy's home state
               State of California (2005) Year of Operation Red Wings
               State of Washington (2007) Year LT Michael Murphy earned the Medal of Honor
  • One United States Dime (2000) to represent the year LT Murphy was commissioned as a United States Naval Officer.
  • One United States Nickle (2002) to represent the year that LT Muprhy attained his SEAL qualification.
  • Twenty United States Pennies to represent the birth year of each of the members of Operation Red Wings.
  • One United States Penny to represent the birth year of Ms. Maureen Murphy, LT Murphy's mother
  • One United States Penny to represent the birth year of Mr. Daniel Murphy, LT Murphy's father.
The coin denominations sum is 112 and represents the ship's hull number. Additionally there are a nuymber of commerative coins and memorabelia in the Mast Stepping box.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

It's All About Team

LT Michael Murphy was all about TEAM.  That is why the longest chapter in SEAL of Honor:  Operation Red Wings and the Life of LT Michael P. Murphy, USN is about all 19 of those of our Navy SEALs and Army Nightstalkers KIA on June 28, 2005...and all 19 initials are welded into the keel-plate of the USS Michael Murphy.