They do it all for you.
Posthumous Salute to a SEAL Team Leader
‘Murph: The Protector,’ a Documentary About a Navy SEAL
By DANIEL M. GOLD / NY TIMES
Published: March 21, 2013
For the American military June 28, 2005, was a very bad day. A four-man Navy SEAL reconnaissance team in the Hindu Kush region of Afghanistan had been caught in a mountainside firefight with overwhelming Taliban forces, and the Special Operations helicopter sent to extract them was shot down. The 16 men aboard died, as did 3 of the 4 team members on the ground. (The one who lived, Marcus Luttrell, wrote a best-selling account, “Lone Survivor”; the major-motion-picture version, starring Mark Wahlberg, is scheduled for release next fall.)
“Murph: The Protector” is a short, spare documentary about Lt. Michael P. Murphy, the SEAL team leader awarded the Medal of Honor posthumously in 2007. Mr. Murphy, a Long Island native, is recalled as a stand-up son, brother and friend, a lifeguard at Lake Ronkonkoma Beach, a graduate from Penn State who surprised those close to him with declaring his intent to enter the Navy’s elite SEAL unit. “You don’t wish that for your son, to be put in harm’s way,” says his father, Daniel Murphy, himself a Vietnam veteran who was wounded in action.
We’re told of Mr. Murphy’s perseverance in achieving his goal. But limited to what his family and friends can describe — there is virtually no video of Mr. Murphy — the film doesn’t give a full sense of its subject. Instead, it works best as a report from stateside: the early news of the firefight; the visit from Navy officers; the drive up from Dover Air Force Base in Delaware, escorted by police units along the way, to burial at Calverton National Cemetery. The honors came after, including the naming of a new destroyer and the Medal of Honor, which was the first given for combat in Afghanistan. As operations there wind down, “Murph: The Protector” reminds us of the valor expended on distant front lines and the holes left at home.
“Murph: The Protector” is rated PG (Parental guidance suggested) for themes of war and death