Sunday, February 03, 2013

TFH 2/3: Second Lieutenant Raymond G. Murphy, USMCR

Raymond Gerald Murphy, normally known as "Jerry", was born on January 14, 1930 in Pueblo, Colorado. After graduating from Adams State College (Alamosa, CO) in May 1951, he enlisted in the United States Marine Corps Reserve and was accepted for Officer Candidates School. He received his commission as a Second Lieutenant in November of that year, and after advanced training as an infantry officer, went to war in Korea where he joined the active Marine Corps' 1st Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division.

Officers commanding men in combat are expected to lead from the front, and not to leave a battlefield until all their men are accounted for. Sixty years ago today on Feburary 3, 1953, Murphy was wounded multiple times while leading his platoon in the attack. He never ceased urging his men forward against the communist enemy, and when the time to withdraw came, he personally provided covering fire for his Marines and swept the battlefield recovering casualties. Six months later in October 1953, he received the Medal of Honor for his courage from President Eisenhower at the White House.

From Medal of Honor Citations for the Korean War:


Rank and organization: Second Lieutenant, U.S. Marine Corps Reserve, Company A, 1st Battalion, 5th Marines, 1st Marine Division (Rein.). Place and date: Korea, 3 February 1953. Entered service at: Pueblo, Colo. Born: 14 January 1930, Pueblo, Colo. Citation: For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty as a platoon commander of Company A, in action against enemy aggressor forces. Although painfully wounded by fragments from an enemy mortar shell while leading his evacuation platoon in support of assault units attacking a cleverly concealed and well-entrenched hostile force occupying commanding ground, 2d Lt. Murphy steadfastly refused medical aid and continued to lead his men up a hill through a withering barrage of hostile mortar and small-arms fire, skillfully maneuvering his force from one position to the next and shouting words of encouragement. Undeterred by the increasing intense enemy fire, he immediately located casualties as they fell and made several trips up and down the fire-swept hill to direct evacuation teams to the wounded, personally carrying many of the stricken marines to safety. When reinforcements were needed by the assaulting elements, 2d Lt. Murphy employed part of his unit as support and, during the ensuing battle, personally killed 2 of the enemy with his pistol. With all the wounded evacuated and the assaulting units beginning to disengage, he remained behind with a carbine to cover the movement of friendly forces off the hill and, though suffering intense pain from his previous wounds, seized an automatic rifle to provide more firepower when the enemy reappeared in the trenches. After reaching the base of the hill, he organized a search party and again ascended the slope for a final check on missing marines, locating and carrying the bodies of a machine gun crew back down the hill. Wounded a second time while conducting the entire force to the line of departure through a continuing barrage of enemy small-arms, artillery, and mortar fire, he again refused medical assistance until assured that every one of his men, including all casualties, had preceded him to the main lines. His resolute and inspiring leadership, exceptional fortitude, and great personal valor reflect the highest credit upon 2d Lt. Murphy and enhance the finest traditions of the U.S. Naval Service.

About ten weeks prior to his Medal of Honor action, Lieutenant Murphy was decorated for valor with the third-highest award: the Silver Star.

From Military Times' Hall of Valor:

The President of the United States of America takes pleasure in presenting the Silver Star to Second Lieutenant Raymond Gerald Murphy (MCSN: 0-54837), United States Marine Corps, for conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity as a Platoon Commander of Company A, First Battalion, Fifth Marines, FIRST Marine Division (Reinforced), in action against enemy aggressor forces in Korea on 22 November 1952. Assigned the extremely hazardous mission of assaulting a strong point of the enemy main line of resistance, Second Lieutenant Murphy courageously exposed himself to devastating enemy mortar and artillery fire to press the assault on the objective. On three separate occasions, when the enemy attempted to prevent him from accomplishing his mission, he skillfully coordinated and utilized supporting arms to repulse the foe. Although the platoon suffered severe casualties by the time the objective was reached, the unit succeeded in evacuating the wounded in the face of continuous enemy fire. Upon successful completion of the mission, he ordered the withdrawal and personally remained behind until assured that all of his men had withdrawn. By his outstanding courage, superb leadership and indomitable spirit, Second Lieutenant Murphy served to inspire all who observed him and upheld the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service.

Murphy was discharged from the Marine Forces Reserve on December 28, 1959. He spent a great deal of his later life supporting other brother warriors as an employee of the Veterans Administration and Department of Veterans Affairs. He passed away at age 77 on April 6, 2007 and now rests in peace at the Santa Fe National Cemetery, Santa Fe, New Mexico.

1st Battalion, 5th Marines remains today an integral part of the 1st Marine Division. Their home post is Marine Corps Base Camp Pendelton in California.

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