NEW YORK — In a ceremony that was more joyful than solemn, the Navy on Saturday commissioned the USS Michael Murphy, a sleek new warship named for a Navy SEAL who died in Afghanistan at age 29.
Cannons boomed, dignitaries spoke of heroism, and nearly 300 sailors charged up a ramp while a band played “Anchors Aweigh” as the destroyer sprang to life in a ceremony in New York Harbor.
“You are now our family, our team,” the ship’s commander, Tom Shultz, told Murphy’s parents, before leading hundreds of visitors in a SEAL battle cry.
Murphy, a Navy lieutenant who grew up in Patchogue, N.Y., was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor for his actions during a 2005 ambush. Military officials said that after his four-man team was surrounded, Murphy risked exposure to enemy fire so he could radio a base for help.
Navy Secretary Ray Mabus said the ship would guarantee that Murphy’s story would be retold. US Representative Peter King heralded the young sailor for “unbridled courage.” Senator Charles Schumer recounted stories of how Murphy, since he was a child, had empathy for others.