Trees dedicated to honor fallen Navy SEALs


The new Lt. Michael P. Murphy Navy SEAL Museum and Sea Cadet Training Facility’s ribbon was officially cut, last week, opening the Avenue of Heroes, which honors the 19 fallen Navy SEALs and Army Night Stalkers and the lone survivor of Operation Red Wings in 2005 in the mountains of Afghanistan — the single-largest loss of life for Naval Special Warfare since World War II.

In honor of them and their families, each service member who lost their lives has been recognized with a red maple tree and a plaque inscribed with the name, rank, branch of service, and dates of birth and passing of the fallen.

Daniel J. Murphy, Gold Star father and chairman of the museum, spoke at the event on Tuesday, Oct. 22, as well as Suffolk County executive Steve Bellone and Legis. William Lindsay. Gold Star families of Operation Red Wings attended the ceremony, as well as an honor guard of Sea Cadets from the Lt. Michael Murphy Division of the U.S. Naval Sea Cadets Corps.

Murphy said there is plenty of space for more Gold Star families to be recognized in the same capacity as those from Operation Red Wings.

“We want it to represent all fallen heroes,” Murphy said. “The red maple trees represent remembrance.”

The Avenue of Heroes leads up to the new museum and training facility, located off of West Avenue on the grounds of Charles Dominy County Park, next to the Long Island Maritime Museum in West Sayville. The structure of the museum has been completed, and focus has turned to the interior.

Murphy said the museum is on schedule to be completed next spring and suggested that the ribbon cutting and grand opening would be placed on May 7. This date, Murphy said, is highly significant, since it is Lt. Michael Murphy’s birthday. Several past commemorations have been lined up on Lt. Murphy’s birthday, including the naming of a guided-missile destroyer USS Michael Murphy as well as a post office in Patchogue.

After the ceremony, Murphy and Vincent Calvosa, a museum board member and the director of construction, will offer the first tours of the museum’s interior, providing a sneak peek at the planned layout, flow and exhibit content.

Murphy said a gala is scheduled on March 25 at Oheka Castle in Huntington, in which the proceeds will fund construction costs for the museum and training facility. Murphy also said a handful of surprise mystery guests plan on attending the gala.

The honorees

Those who lost their lives in Operation Red Wings in 2005 were each gifted a red maple tree and plaque on the Avenue of Heroes in their honor.

Navy SEALs:

• Lt. Michael P. Murphy of Patchogue, N.Y.

• Petty Officer Second Class Matthew G. Axelson of Cupertino, Calif.

• Petty Officer Second Class Danny Dietz of Littleton, Colo.

• Navy Hospital Corpsman Second Class Marcus Luttrell, of Houston, Texas.

• Chief Petty Officer Jacques J. Fontan of New Orleans, La.

• Senior Chief Petty Officer Daniel R. Healy of Exeter, N.H.

• Lt. Cmdr. Erik S. Kristensen of San Diego, Calif.

• Petty Officer First Class Jeffrey A. Lucas of Corbett, Ore.

• Lt. Michael M. McGreevy, Jr. of Portville, N.Y.

• Petty Officer Second Class Shane E. Patton Boulder City, Nev.

• Petty Officer Second Class James E. Suh of Deerfield Beach, Fla.

• Petty Officer First Class Jeffrey S. Taylor of Midway, W.V.

Army Night Stalkers

• Staff Sgt. Shamus O. Goare of Danville, Ohio.

• Chief Warrant Officer 3 Corey J. Goodnature of Clarks Grove, Minn.

• Sgt. Kip A. Jacoby of Pompano Beach, Fla.

• Sgt. First Class Marcus V. Muralles of Shelbyville, Ind.

• Master Sgt. James W. Ponder III of Franklin, Tenn.

• Maj. Stephen C. Reich of Washington Depot, Conn.

• Sgt. First Class Michael L. Russell of Stafford, Va.

• Chief Warrant Officer 4 Chris J. Scherkenbach of Jacksonville, Fla.


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