A Long Island memorial for fallen Navy SEAL and Medal of Honor recipient Lt. Michael P. Murphy was found broken into pieces on Thursday, and former Navy SEAL Marcus Luttrell is offering to match Crime Stoppers’ $2,500 reward to “anyone who turns in the low life who did this.”
The memorial was a round granite stone inscribed with Murphy’s portrait, a Medal of Honor and a brief tribute. Photos show the stone cracked into more than a dozen pieces, with at least two indentations showing impact points.
Crime Stoppers is offering the $2,500 reward for information that leads to an arrest.
“Only a coward would do this,” Luttrell posted online.
Luttrell served with Murphy, and in his book “Lone Survivor,” he describes Murphy’s heroic acts.
The Suffolk County Police said a report has been filed, and the department is investigating “a recent act of vandalism” that occurred in Lake Ronkonkoma, N.Y., at the memorial parked named for Murphy – the Lt. Michael P. Murphy Memorial Park.
Murphy was a native of Patchogue, N.Y., just seven miles from the memorial park.
He was killed in June 2005 during Operation Red Wings in the Kunar province of Afghanistan. He and Luttrell were among a four-man SEAL team that became surrounded by more than 30 enemy fighters. All four SEALs were wounded.
In spite of his injuries, Murphy continued to fight “in the face of almost certain death” when he moved to a better position to call for aid. He was exposed to enemy fire and continued to return fire until he was killed.
His last words after calling for help were “Thank you.”
Two other team members were also killed, and Luttrell barely survived the encounter. He was the lone survivor.
Murphy’s heroism has been honored with many memorials and tributes. He is the namesake of a workout called “Murph” which many veterans and others perform on Memorial Day. The workout begins with a one-mile run, 100 pull-ups, 200 push-ups, 300 air squats, and concludes with another one-mile run – all while wearing a 20-pound weighted vest.
The Lt. Michael P. Murphy Memorial Scholarship Foundation founded by Murphy’s parents is collecting donations to replace the monument.
His father, Daniel Murphy, expressed the family’s heartbreak over the damage to the memorial.
“There were so many from the community who volunteered their labor, time and money to build Serenity Plaza,” he said in a statement. “It’s unfortunate that some devalue the service and sacrifice of our veterans and fallen heroes.”
The Lake Ronkonkoma park plaza features a black granite wall bearing the names of the two other SEALs from Murphy’s team, and 16 others who perished in a helicopter that was shot down while responding to Murphy’s call.