Daniel P. Murphy (1951/09/03)

"He was a MAN beyond a doubt."

Daniel Patrick Murphy was born in Watsonville, California, on October 21, 1927, to Mr. and Mrs. M. M. Murphy. He shared the Murphy home with his parents, a brother and three sisters. Murphy spent his formative years in Watsonville and attended local schools. In 1945 he graduated from Watsonville High School and enrolled in Santa Clara University. While at SCU, he entered the ROTC program and upon his graduation was commissioned a second lieutenant.

In 1949 Murphy enrolled in Hastings Law School in San Francisco; however, before he could complete the program the Korean War began. He was called to active duty on November 4, 1950, and sent to Fort Sill, Oklahoma, where he was trained as an artillery officer. On February 19, 1951, while stationed at Fort Sill, Daniel married Marjorie Bakich of Watsonville.

Lt. Murphy arrived in Korea on July 12, 1951, and was assigned as a forward observer with the 49th Field Artillery Battalion of the 7th Infantry Division. At the time he joined his unit they were serving in the central front of Korea in the Yangu-Ije-Hwachon area.

On Sept 3, 1951, Second Lieutenant Daniel P. Murphy was attached to Company I, of the 17th Infantry at a time when it was were experiencing an intense mortar barrage by the Chinese. For his part in the ensuing action he was awarded the Silver Star. The accompanying citation read:
“Immediately, Lt. Murphy exposed himself to the bursting rounds to move to a position that afforded better observation and from where he could direct accurate counter fire. When forward elements of Company I were overrun by the enemy and his position endangered by infiltration, Lt. Murphy refused to leave and remained in his position until his radio was destroyed by an enemy grenade. Forced to abandon his position, Lt. Murphy, armed with a carbine, offered his services as an infantryman and while fighting in the command post area, was mortally wounded by an exploding grenade."

The body of Lieutenant Murphy was returned home accompanied by his brother-in-law Capt. Frank Osmer. Fol- lowing its arrival in December 1951, a funeral was held at St. Patrick's church in Watsonville and Daniel was interred in the Valley Catholic cemetery in the Pajaro Valley.

In February 1952 a letter arrived in the Murphy home from Sergeant Robert W. Turek, Lt. Murphy's reconnaissance sergeant, who was with him when he died. Sgt. Turek wrote,
“I was his recon sergeant, and believe me I was proud to be with him wherever we went. Yes, I was with him when he got killedIn the evening after the sun had gone down, we used to talk of home and all our loved onesPlease accept this letter as a token of a guy I'll never forget. He was a MAN beyond a doubt.”

In addition to the Silver Star, Daniel Murphy was awarded the Purple Heart and other awards.

(CBR; ABMC; NARAK; WRP February 27, 1951 3:1, September 21, 1951, 1:1 December 1, 1951, February 4, 1952)

Creator: Nelson, Robert L.
Source: Remembering our own: the Santa Cruz County military roll of honor 1861-2010. Santa Cruz, CA: The Museum of Art & History, c2010.
Date: Undated
Type: OBIT
Coverage: 1950s
Rights: Reproduced by permission of Robert L. Nelson and The Museum of Art & History.
Identifier: RO-MURPHY


Nelson, Robert L. “Daniel P. Murphy (1951/09/03).” Remembering our own: the Santa Cruz County military roll of honor 1861-2010. Santa Cruz, CA: The Museum of Art & History, c2010. SCPL Local History. https://history.santacruzpl.org/omeka/items/show/4790. Accessed 23 May 2024.