Who is Murph

Memorial Day is a time to celebrate the lives of our fallen soldiers, a practice which began following the Civil War.

Today, many will celebrate the holiday with burgers, beer, and good company, often forgetting all of those who gave their lives as the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom. There has, however, been a resurgence of those who want to make the day more than the unofficial start to summer. In the fitness community, it’s called the “Murph”, a workout in honor of a fallen American hero.

We do the “Murph” in honor of fallen United States Navy SEAL Lieutenant Michael Patrick Murphy.

Who Was Lt. Michael Murphy?

Murph was a graduate of Penn State University where he majored in political science and psychology. Following his graduation, he enlisted in the United States Navy in 2000. He went on to complete Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL (BUD/S) training in 2001 and officially became a SEAL in 2002.  Very few Americans are admitted to the Navy SEAL program, and even fewer successfully complete the rigorous training.

In 2005, Lt. Murphy was deployed to Afghanistan to lead a team of four SEALs assisting with Operation Red Wings. To fight the war on terror, their mission was to capture or kill a Taliban leader located in eastern Afghan mountains. When his unit was overwhelmed by Taliban forces, Lt. Murphy left his cover to call for backup, taking on heavy gunfire. Help did arrive, but not until three of the four SEALs and a helicopter of 16 soldiers perished. The only one to survive was SEAL Matthew Lutrell, his story brought to life in the book and movie Lone Survivor.

Lieutenant Michael Murphy was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor and Purple Heart, among many others for his actions that day.

Memorializing our Heroes

The workout we do on Memorial Day is one of Lieutenant Murphy’s favorites, which he had called “Body Armor”:

1 Mile Run
100 Pull Ups
200 Push Ups
300 Air Squats
1 Mile Run
*With 20lb weight vest

Now, on Memorial Day, rather than calling it “Body Armor,” it is known around the world as “Murph.” It is a workout, a challenge, and, most importantly, a memorial.

When you participate in your local “Memorial Day Murph,” take time to remember those who fought, and those who continue to fight. The wars are not over. There are still volunteers fighting for you and your freedom domestically and internationally every single day.


George Cullen