SEAL of Honor: The true story behind the motion picture, Lone Survivor

In the recently released major motion picture, Lone Survivor, Mark Wahlberg stars as Marcus Luttrell, whose New York Times bestselling memoir provided a compelling first-person account of the courage under fire displayed by his three fellow Navy SEALs after being ambushed by a vastly superior Taliban force in the remote mountains of eastern Afghanistan. See the movie for the recognition it gives to Lt. Michael Murphy, the leader of this ill-fated squad, who posthumously received the Medal of Honor for his heroic actions. For the full story behind the film, read SEAL of Honor: Operation Red Wings and the Life of Lt. Michael Murphy, USN.
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Seal of Honor

By Gary Williams, Foreword by Dick Couch

Additional Recommended Reading


About the Book

Lt. Michael Patrick Murphy, a Navy SEAL, earned the Medal of Honor on 28 June 2005 for his bravery during a fierce fight with the Taliban in the remote mountains of eastern Afghanistan. The first to receive the nation's highest military honor for service in Afghanistan, Lt. Murphy was also the first naval officer to earn the medal since the Vietnam War, and the first SEAL to be honored posthumously. A young man of great character, he is the subject of Naval Special Warfare courses on character and leadership, and an Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyer, naval base, school, post office, ball park, and hospital emergency room have been named in his honor.  

A bestselling book by the sole survivor of Operation Red Wings, Marcus Luttrell, has helped make Lt. Murphy's SEAL team's fateful encounter with the Taliban one of the Afghan war's best known engagements. Published on the 5th anniversary of the engagement, SEAL of Honor also tells the story of that fateful battle, but it does so from a very different perspective being focused on the life of Lt. Murphy. This biography uses his heroic action during this deadly firefight in Afghanistan, as a window on his character and attempts to answer why Lt. Murphy readily sacrificed his life for his comrades. SEAL of Honor is the story of a young man, who was noted by his peers for his compassion and for his leadership being guided by an extraordinary sense of duty, responsibility, and moral clarity.

In tracing Lt. Murphy's journey from a seemingly ordinary life on New York's Long Island, to that remote mountainside a half a world away, SEAL of Honor will help readers understand how he came to demonstrate the extraordinary heroism and selfless leadership that earned him the nation's highest military honor. Moreover, the book brings the Afghan war back to the home front, focusing on Lt. Murphy's tight knit family and the devastating effect of his death upon them as they watched the story of Operation Red Wings unfold in the news. The book attempts to answer why Lt. Murphy's service to his country and his comrades was a calling faithfully answered, a duty justly upheld, and a life, while all too short, well lived.

Now available in paperback, this biography of Medal of Honor recipient LT Michael P. Murphy received extensive media coverage when published in hardcover by the Naval Institute Press. Author Gary Williams and Dan Murphy, Lieutenant Murphy's father, toured widely and appeared on national television shows, including The Sean Hannity Show, Fox & Friends, and The Michael Smerconish Show.

Lieutenant Murphy, the leader of a Navy SEAL squad, was killed during a fierce battle against the Taliban on a remote mountainside in the Kongeral Valley of Afghanistan on 28 June 2005. The first to receive the nation's highest military honor for service in Afghanistan, Lieutenant Murphy was also the first naval officer to earn the medal since the Vietnam War. Honored for his courage and leadership in the face of certain death, he is now the subject of Naval Special Warfare courses on leadership, and a guided-missile destroyer, naval base, school, post office, ball park, and hospital emergency room have all been named in his honor.

SEAL of Honor tells the story of Lieutenant Murphy's life and how he came to be the man that Marcus Luttrell, the sole survivor of the mission, called "the best officer I ever knew, an iron-souled warrior of colossal, almost unbelievable courage in the face of the enemy." In attempting to answer why Lieutenant Murphy readily sacrificed his life for his comrades, the author traces the SEAL's journey from a seemingly ordinary life on New York's Long Island to those extraordinary last moments half a world away. Lieutenant Murphy's story has captured the nation's attention, making him one of the most celebrated Medal of Honor recipients since World War II.

"In his final act of bravery, he continued to engage the enemy until he was mortally wounded, gallantly giving his life for his country and for the cause of freedom. By his selfless leadership, courageous actions, and extraordinary devotion to duty, Lieutenant Murphy reflected great credit upon himself and upheld the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service." 
—GEORGE W. BUSH, Read by the President at the Presentation Ceremony at the White House on October 22, 2007.

About the Author

Gary Williams

Gary Williams is a graduate of the University of Dayton and a thirty-year employee of the State of Ohio. Married with six children, he is also the author of Siege in Lucasville. He had the full cooperation and support of the Murphy family in writing SEAL of Honor.

For more information visit the author's Web site:


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Praise for SEAL of Honor

  • "Those who have had the privilege of working with the Navy SEALs invariably ask the question, 'where do we get such incredible Americans?'  SEAL of Honor helps to answer that question in a most poignant way by focusing on Lt. Michael Murphy, his family on Long Island, NY, and the Navy SEALs; documenting the way each impacted the others. From this, we get insight not only into how Michael developed his strong sense of moral clarity, duty and honor, but also into the legacy he, his teammates and the entire Special Operations community left for our Nation." 
    —Donald C. Winter, 74th United States Secretary of the Navy
  • "The life of Lt. Michael P. Murphy is a true testament to the value of hard work and patriotism.  In SEAL of Honor, Gary Williams highlights the unfortunately brief, but purpose-driven life of this extraordinary young man and his remarkable display of selflessness and courage.  The United States suffered a terrible loss with the passing of Lt. Murphy but he left behind a legacy that all Americans can be proud of and aspire to." 
    —Bob Kerrey, President, The New School, former Navy SEAL, 1966-1969, and former United States Senator of Nebraska, 1989-2001
  • "A great deal has been written about Operation Red Wings, and exactly what took place in those mountains on that fateful day we may never know. But, we do know this.   Mike Murphy did all in his power to accomplish his mission. When that became impossible, he did all in his power to take care of his men. In the face of impossible odds and mortally wounded, he fought and led until the moment he was killed. For those of us who have since learned of Michael Murphy's courage in those last terrible hours, we marvel at such gallantry" 
    Dick Couch, author of The Sheriff of Ramadi and A Tactical Ethic


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