Christopher E. Murphy
Corporal, United States Army
Department of Defense
Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense (Public Affairs)
IMMEDIATE RELEASE No. 590-07
May 15, 2007
DoD Identifies Army Casualties
The Department of Defense announced today the death of three soldiers who were supporting Operation Iraqi Freedom. They died May 12, 2007, in Al Taqa, Iraq, of wounds suffered when their patrol was attacked by enemy forces using automatic fire and explosives. They were assigned to the 4th Battalion, 31st Infantry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division, Fort Drum, New York.
Sergeant First Class James
D. Connell Jr., 40, of Lake City, Tennessee
For further information related to this release,
contact the Fort Drum public affairs office at (315) 772-8286.
A day after crowds visited Arlington National Cemetery to honor the nation's war dead on Memorial Day, family and friends of Private First Class Christopher E. Murphy gathered there to see him laid to rest.
Murphy, 21, of the rural Gladys area of Campbell County, Virginia, near Lynchburg, died May 12, 2007, in Al Taqa, Iraq, from wounds suffered when his unit's patrol was attacked by enemy forces using automatic weapons and explosives. The attack killed three other U.S. soldiers and an Iraqi interpreter; two soldiers are missing and believed to have been captured.
Yesterday, more than 50 mourners paid their respects to Murphy, standing at attention in their civilian and military best under a blazing afternoon sun. Murphy was the 340th member of the military killed in Iraq to be buried at Arlington.
Murphy's mother, Rosemary M. Balian, sat at the front of the group and was presented with a folded American flag by Major General Michael Oates, commander of the 10th Mountain Division. She looked to the sky as a bugler began to play taps, wiping tears from her eyes with her right hand and clutching the flag with her left.
"I'm going to always remember him for the depth of love he had for the people around him," Murphy's sister, Shawna Murphy, said at a memorial service Sunday, according to the News & Advance of Lynchburg. "Christopher was more generous of a heart than anyone had a right to be."
Murphy graduated in 2004 from William Campbell High School in Campbell County. Three years later, his memorial service was held in the school's gymnasium. Murphy was awarded several medals, including the Bronze Star and Purple Heart, which were presented to his mother and his father, Daryl Balian, at the service.
Murphy had played football for the William Campbell Generals, and the school plans to retire his No. 75 jersey, according to the News & Advance.
"He was just one of those kids everyone enjoyed being around," James Rinella, the school's assistant principal, told The Washington Post this month. "A very hardworking kid, a very humble kid."
Murphy's coaches recalled a guy who couldn't see 10 feet in front of him without his glasses but who worked as hard as anyone and made his plays. The high school's Web site now carries an image of a bespectacled Murphy, in tribute.
Although Murphy was raised in Virginia, he was born in Massachusetts, on Cape Cod. He spent his last leave in February visiting family there. According to the Cape Cod Times, Murphy planned to make the Army his career, though he wasn't keen on returning to Iraq, family members said.
The other soldiers killed in the May 12 attack were Sergeant FirstClass James Connell Jr., 40, of Lake City, Tennessee; Private First Class Daniel Courneya, 19, of Nashville, Michigan; and Sergeant Anthony Schober, 23, of Reno, Nevada. The men were assigned to the 4th Battalion, 31st Infantry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division, based at Fort Drum, New York.
MURPHY, CHRISTOPHER E
Posted: 3 June 2007 Updated: 2 July 2007 Updated: 16 July 2007
Photo Courtesy of Holly, July 2007
Photo Courtesy of Holly, June 2007