Wintery Knight

…integrating Christian faith and knowledge in the public square

Veteran’s Day re-post: Navy SEAL Michael Murphy awarded Medal of Honor

Navy SEAL Michael Murphy wins Medal of Honor

Navy SEAL Michael Murphy wins Medal of Honor

For Veteran’s Day, I am re-posting one of my favorite Medal of Honor stories.

The Washington Examiner reports on the story of a brave Navy SEAL named Michael Murphy.

Excerpt:

Engaged in a frenzied firefight and outnumbered by the Taliban, Navy Lt. Michael Murphy made a desperate decision as he and three fellow SEALs fought for their lives on a rocky mountainside in Afghanistan’s Kunar Province in 2005.

In a last-ditch effort to save his team, Murphy pulled out his satellite phone, walked into a clearing to get reception and called for reinforcements as a fusillade of bullets ricocheted around him. One of the bullets hit him, but he finished the call and even signed off, “Thank you.”

Then he continued the battle.

Dan Murphy, the sailor’s father, said it didn’t surprise him that his slain son nicknamed “The Protector” put himself in harm’s way. Nor was he surprised that in the heat of combat his son was courteous.

“That was Michael. He was cool under fire. He had the ability to process information, even under the most difficult of circumstances. That’s what made him such a good SEAL officer,” Murphy said.

A warship bearing the name of the Medal of Honor recipient will be christened Saturday — on what would have been Murphy’s 35th birthday — at Bath Iron Works, where the destroyer is being built.

Murphy, who was 29 when he died, graduated from Pennsylvania State University and was accepted to multiple law schools, but decided he could do more for his country as one of the Navy’s elite SEALS — special forces trained to fight on sea, air and land — the same forces that killed Osama bin Laden this week in Pakistan.

[...]Murphy, of Patchogue, N.Y., earned his nickname after getting suspended in elementary school for fighting with bullies who tried to stuff a special-needs child into a locker and for intervening when some youths were picking on a homeless man, said Dan Murphy, a lawyer, former prosecutor and Army veteran who served in Vietnam.

Maureen Murphy said he thought he was too young to take a desk job as a lawyer. Instead, he went to officer candidate school, the first step on his journey to become a SEAL officer. He was in training during the Sept. 11 attacks, which shaped his views.

His view was that there are “bullies in the world and people who’re oppressed in the world. And he said, ‘Sometimes they have to be taken care of,’” she said.

On June 28, 2005, the day he was killed, Murphy was leading a SEAL team in northeastern Afghanistan looking for the commander of a group of insurgents known as the Mountain Tigers.

What happened to Murphy?

The Operation Red Wings reconnaissance team rappelled down from a helicopter at night and climbed through rain to a spot 10,000 feet high overlooking a village to keep a lookout. But the mission was compromised the following morning when three local goat herders happened upon their hiding spot.

High in the Hindu Kush mountains, Murphy and Petty Officers Marcus Luttrell of Huntsville, Texas; Matthew Axelson of Cupertino, Calif.; and Danny Dietz of Littleton, Colo.; held a tense discussion of the rules of engagement and the fate of the three goat herders, who were being held at gunpoint.

If they were Taliban sympathizers, then letting the herders go would allow them to alert the Taliban forces lurking in the area; killing them might ensure the team’s safety, but there were issues of possible military charges and a media backlash, according to Luttrell, the lone survivor.

Murphy, who favored letting the goat herders go, guided a discussion of military, political, safety and moral implications. A majority agreed with him.

An hour after the herders were released, more than 100 Taliban armed with AK-47 assault rifles and rocket-propelled grenades opened fire, attacking from higher elevation, and maneuvering to outflank the SEALs, said Gary Williams, author of “Seal of Honor,” a biography of Murphy.

[...]As the only survivor, Luttrell has pangs of regret for voting to go along with Murphy, his best friend; he now believes the team could’ve survived if the goat herders were killed.

He wasn’t willing to kill unarmed civilians. That’s the difference between the United States and the Muslim terrorists. It’s a moral difference. Michael Murphy was a good man. He used guns and violence to protect others, and he was not willing to kill unarmed civilians.

Here are the requirements for the Army version of the Medal of Honor:

The Medal of Honor is awarded by the President in the name of Congress to a person who, while a member of the Army, distinguishes himself or herself conspicuously by gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his or her life above and beyond the call of duty while engaged in an action against an enemy of the United States; while engaged in military operations involving conflict with an opposing foreign force; or while serving with friendly foreign forces engaged in an armed conflict against an opposing armed force in which the United States is not a belligerent party. The deed performed must have been one of personal bravery or self-sacrifice so conspicuous as to clearly distinguish the individual above his comrades and must have involved risk of life. Incontestable proof of the performance of the service will be exacted and each recommendation for the award of this decoration will be considered on the standard of extraordinary merit.

I once read an entire book on Medal of Honor award winners in World War II. It’s hard to read those stories, because these people who won the award did amazing acts of bravery, courage and self-sacrifice, but then most of them DIED. The stories almost always end in sadness and grief. Here’s the one that really stuck with me as an example.

On a happier note, what kind of ship do you think would suit Michael Murphy?

 USS Michael Murphy DDG 112 Arleigh Burke

USS Michael Murphy DDG 112 Arleigh Burke

Michael Murphy is getting a brand new Arleigh Burke guided missile destroyer! Arleigh Burke vessels have the AEGIS missile defense system and their role is to protect carrier strike groups from incoming SSMs and ASMs.

Excerpt:

The Arleigh Burke Class destroyers are equipped with the Aegis combat system which integrates the ship’s sensors and weapons systems to engage anti-ship missile threats.

The Aegis system has a federated architecture with four subsystems – AN/SPY-1 multifunction radar, command and decision system (CDS), Aegis display system (ADS) and the weapon control system (WCS). The CDS receives data from ship and external sensors via satellite communications and provides command, control and threat assessment. The WCS receives engagement instruction from the CDS, selects weapons and interfaces with the weapon fire control systems.

[...]Lockheed Martin is developing the Aegis ballistic missile defence (BMD) capability for the Aegis combat system to engage ballistic missiles with the SM-3 missile. 15 Arleigh Burke destroyers have been fitted with the Aegis BMD system, which provides the capability for long-range surveillance, tracking and engagement of short and medium-range ballistic missiles. The system received US Navy certification for full deployment in September 2006. Work was completed on the 15 destroyers at the end of 2008 and the vessels, with three Ticonderoga cruisers, form the Aegis BMD fleet. On 30 July 2009 the Aegis BMD system was successfully tested by the US Navy on the USS Hopper (DDG 70).Aegis BMD is the main sea-based component of the US ballistic missile defence system.

The weapons control systems include a SWG-1A for Harpoon, SWG-3 for Tomahawk, mk99 mod 3 missile fire control system, GWS34 mod 0 gun fire control system and mk116 mod 7 fire control system for anti-submarine systems.

Only two classes of warships that I know of have the AEGIS system. The DDG Arleigh Burke and the CG Ticonderoga.

Michael Murphy was a real hero. It makes me sad that he is gone. But his spirit will live on in the new warship that bears his name.

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Islamic terrorists behead unarmed British soldier in London street in broad daylight

The left-leaning UK Independent reports.

Excerpt:

Terrorism returned to the streets of Britain yesterday when a soldier was murdered by two suspected Islamists who attempted to behead and disembowel him as he left a barracks, in the first deadly attack since the 2005 London bombings.

One of the suspected killers, who addressed an onlooker who had a camera, said the pair had carried out the attack “because David Cameron, [the] British government sent troops in Arabic country”.

As pedestrians stood close by the armed men, he went on: “We swear by almighty Allah we will never stop fighting you,” according to footage obtained by ITV News .

The Independent understands the dead soldier – who was wearing a Help for Heroes T-shirt – was a member of the Royal Regiment of Fusiliers, which is currently based overseas. He was ambushed by the men as he left the base in Woolwich, south-east London, who attacked him and then dragged his body into the middle of the road to pose for photographs while standing over him waving a cleaver and a gun, according to witnesses.

[...]One witness, identified only as James, said he and his partner saw two black men attack a young man aged about 20 with kitchen knives like he was “a piece of meat”.

“They were hacking at this poor guy, literally,” he told LBC Radio, adding that a group of brave women tried to shield the soldier from the two men.

“They were hacking at him, chopping him, cutting him. These two guys were crazed. They were just animals. They dragged him from the pavement and dumped his body in the middle of the road and left his body there.”

More politically incorrect details here from Sky News. (H/T The Gateway Pundit)

Excerpt:

Two attackers armed with meat cleavers filmed their deadly assault on a man in London, according to Sky sources.

A man reported to be a serving soldier died and two people have been shot in Woolwich, after what Sky sources understand is being treated as a terrorist attack.

Senior Whitehall sources said the two attackers asked passers-by to film them, and they shouted “Allahu Akbar” (Allah is great).

In footage that has emerged, one of the attackers wields a bloodied meat cleaver and says: “We swear by almighty Allah we will never stop fighting you.”

The black man, dressed in a grey hooded jacket and black woolly hat, apologises to members of the public who witnessed the horrific scenes before making a number of political statements.

In the footage, he is heard to say: “We must fight them as they fight us. An eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth.

“I apologise that women have had to witness this today, but in our land our women have to see the same. You people will never be safe.

“Remove your government, they don’t care about you.”

Witnesses also described seeing the “crazed” Woolwich attackers “hacking” at their victim and posing for pictures before charging at police wielding meat cleavers.

Here’s a still shot of one the murderers at the scene:

Islamic terrorist murderer

Islamic terrorist on camera: how will the liberal media spin this?

If this happened in the United States, I have no doubt that the fools on the secular left would be blaming this on the Tea Party conservatives and evangelical Christians. I have no doubt that the Democrats in the Obama administration will look at the video and the still images of the murderer and come away thinking that a crackdown on evangelical Christians who are pro-life and believe in limited government is needed. In addition to going after Bible-believing Christians, they would probably want to double welfare payments for people who are in the country illegally.

One other point. A lot of very stupid secularists see stories like this and then have the view that there is something wrong with certainty and conviction in religion. There is nothing wrong with certainty and conviction in religion provided that the religion is not Islam. I have a friend who is a Christian who is very firm in her convictions and she carried groceries Wednesday to an atheist who was sick and on crutches. She is very convinced about the truth of her beliefs and acted on them. Being certain of your views and acting on them is fine as long as the views are rooted in truth.

Filed under: News, , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

SAS war hero jailed for keeping trophy pistol given to him by Iraqi Army

The UK Telegraph reports.

Excerpt:

An SAS soldier has been jailed for possessing a “war trophy” pistol presented to him by the Iraqi Army for outstanding service.

Sgt Danny Nightingale, a special forces sniper who served in Iraq and Afghanistan, was sentenced to 18 months in military detention by a court martial last week.

His sentence was described last night as the “betrayal of a war hero”, made worse because it was handed down in the run-up to Remembrance Sunday.

Sgt Nightingale had planned to fight the charge of illegally possessing the 9mm Glock.

But his lawyer said he pleaded guilty after being warned that he could otherwise face a five-year sentence.

The soldier had hoped for leniency given the circumstances. At the court martial, even the prosecution described him as a serviceman of exemplary character, who had served his country for 17 years, 11 in the special forces.

The court was told that he returned to Britain in a hurry after two friends were killed in Iraq, leaving his equipment — including the pistol — to be packed up by colleagues.

It accepted evidence from expert witnesses that he suffered severe memory loss due to a brain injury.

Judge Advocate Alistair McGrigor, presiding over the court martial, could have spared the soldier prison by passing a suspended sentence. Instead he handed down the custodial term.

Sgt Nightingale and his family chose to waive the anonymity usually given to members of the special forces.

His wife, Sally, said her husband’s sentence was a “disgrace”. She called him a “hero who had been betrayed”. She said she and the couple’s two daughters, aged two and five, faced losing their home after his Army pay was stopped.

The soldier’s former commanding officer and politicians have called for the sentence to be overturned.

Lt Col Richard Williams, who won a Military Cross in Afghanistan in 2001 and was Sgt Nightingale’s commanding officer in Iraq, said the sentence “clearly needed to be overturned immediately”.

He said: “His military career has been ruined and his wife and children face being evicted from their home — this is a total betrayal of a man who dedicated his life to the service of his country.”

Patrick Mercer, the Conservative MP for Newark and a former infantry officer, said he planned to take up the case with the Defence Secretary. Simon McKay, Sgt Nightingale’s lawyer, said: “On Remembrance Sunday, when the nation remembers its war heroes, my client — one of their number — is in a prison cell.

“I consider the sentence to be excessive and the basis of the guilty plea unsafe. It is a gross miscarriage of justice and grounds of appeal are already being prepared.”

In 2007, Sgt Nightingale was serving in Iraq as a member of Task Force Black, a covert counter-terrorist unit that conducted operations under orders to capture and kill members of al-Qaeda.

He also helped train members of a secret counter-terrorist force called the Apostles. At the end of the training he was presented with the Glock, which he planned to donate to his regiment as a war trophy.

The Special Air Service is the absolute best counter-terrorism unit in the world. Better than the U.S. Army’s Delta Force, better than the U.S. Navy SEALS, better than the Central Intelligence Agency’s Special Operations Group. This is no way to treat a member of the SAS.

There is more compassion for the criminal in the UK than for the law-abiding person. But why is that? I believe it’s because the UK has become dominated at every level by women, because of feminism. Women don’t like the sound of guns, and they don’t like people to own guns, even if they are ex-military or ex-police. Women just don’t value men who use strength and arms to do the right thing – strength and force makes them uncomfortable. Women tend to want to suppress moral judgments because they don’t want anyone, even burglars and criminals, to feel bad. Women like compassion. Women like tolerance. Women think that if every belief is true and all points of view are equally correct. They want to minimize disagreements and violence. They are uncomfortable with men using force because that makes evil people feel bad. That’s why they have these ridiculous anti-male laws.

Feminism seeks to abolish the special roles played by men, like protector, provider and moral/spiritual leader. The policies of the UK government are designed to block men from filling those roles. Handguns were banned in 1997 and men who defend their families and homes are regularly prosecuted by the UK government. Tax rates are extremely high the more you earn, making it harder for a man to support a family on one income while his wife stays home with the children to raise them. Out-of-wedlock birth is facilitated through state-run health care and single-mother welfare payments, so that women can raise fatherless children with ease.  The antipathy against strong men reflected in laws and policies is probably one of the reasons why men shy away from marriage. Why take on a commitment like that when you cannot even defend your family from evil?

Filed under: News, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Green beret dies trying to save his two daughters from house fire

From MSNBC.

Excerpt:

A Green Beret recently home from Afghanistan died trying to rescue his two young daughters from their burning home near Fort Bragg in North Carolina early Tuesday. The girls were also killed in the blaze.

Edward Cantrell and his wife escaped from the 2 a.m. blaze by jumping from the home’s second floor, the Cumberland County sheriff’s office said. Cantrell then wrapped himself in a blanket and re-entered the burning home in Hope Mills, about 10 miles from the Army base that is home to the Green Berets and other Special Forces units, sheriff’s spokeswoman Debbie Tanna said.

Cantrell, 36, was trying to reach 6-year-old Isabella and 4-year-old Natalia, who were trapped in second-floor bedrooms, Tanna said.
“He never made it back out,” Tanna said. Firefighters found their bodies inside the home, Tanna said.

[...]Cantrell was a member of the 3rd Special Forces Group at Fort Bragg. He held the rank of chief warrant officer 2, said Lt. Col. April Olsen, a spokeswoman for Army Special Forces Command. It was not clear when he served in Afghanistan.

[...]Louise Cantrell, 37, is being treated for smoke inhalation at Cape Fear Valley Medical Center, reported FayObserver.com.

There’s something about marriage that brings out the best in men.

Filed under: News, , , , , , , , , ,

What does God want Christians to accomplish in this life?

Your choices today are part of an ongoing relationship with God

Your choices today are part of an ongoing relationship with God

Melissa writes a post about it on her Hard-Core Christianity blog. I heartily endorse this post, and it represents my experience learning from C.S. Lewis’ writings as well.

Intro:

Over the past year I’ve thought a great deal about the brevity of life when it is considered in the context of eternity. I’ve pondered this so often, in fact, I’ve begun thinking of my current mental preoccupation as a sort of mid-life crisis. I’ve felt God impressing this idea–of our temporal life being a precious drop in the bucket of time–upon me more and more, and I haven’t known quite what to do with the emotions and the thoughts that have surfaced. I wouldn’t call them negative or depressing; I’d describe them as mysterious, pulsing, non-yet-solidified. I suppose I should have realized before now that God was indeed taking me somewhere in the heavy yet gentle way only He operates.

Excerpt:

HERE’S WHAT I AM COMING TO UNDERSTAND…

This is not just a life to be tolerated until we reach our eternal resting place. This is our single, fleeting opportunity to prepare ourselves for the day when we step out of these Shadowlands and into direct fellowship with God; everything we allow Him to build and nurture within us here will come to ultimate fruition and purposefulness in Heaven. A sobering thought, is it not?

My favorite analogy is that of a soldier being honed by battle after battle with the Enemy. Lewis says,

Christianity is the story of how the rightful King has landed, you might say landed in disguise, and is calling us all to take part in a great campaign of sabotage…He wants every bit of intelligence we have to be alert at its job, and in first-class fighting trim.

Through temporal life, the soldier is consciously and intentionally growing wiser and more competent; when he finally presents himself to his beloved King, he will be sublimely outfitted for a purposeful place in the eternal Kingdom. Lewis continues:

…it is quite true that there will probably be no occasion for just or courageous acts in the next world, but there will be every occasion for being the sort of people that we can become only as the result of doing such acts here.

We live at a very special point in man’s history. We can stand on the shoulders of great Christian men and women who have much to teach us if we will but read and study their legacy. God has raised up great theologians, apologists, philosophers, writers, and artists to steer and inspire us, if we will only take notice. It boils down to how we choose to dedicate our time and energy.

I implore you, as my brothers and sisters in Christ: Learn about our faith. Understand the history of Christianity, the essential doctrines, and the historical and scientific support for the reliability of our Scripture. Open your mind and heart to what the Spirit wants to teach you. Use these lessons to recruit and help train fellow soldiers. We are preparing for the Kingdom to come!

Read the whole thing!

And when you’re done with that, read this excerpt from Mere Christianity, entitled “The Obstinate Toy Soldiers”.

Excerpt:

The Son of God became a man to enable men to become sons of God… And the present state of things is this. The two kinds of life are now not only different (they would always have been that) but actually opposed.

The natural life in each of us is something self-centred, something that wants to be petted and admired, to take advantage of other lives, to exploit  the whole universe. And especially it wants to be left to itself: to keep well away from anything better or stronger or higher than it, anything that  might make it feel small. It is afraid of the light and air of the spiritual world, just as people who have been brought up to be dirty are afraid of a bath. And in a sense it is quite right It knows that if the spiritual life gets hold of it, all its self-centredness and self-will are going to be  killed and it is ready to fight tooth and nail to avoid that.

Did you ever think, when you were a child, what fun it would be if your toys could come to life? Well suppose you could really have brought them to life. Imagine turning a tin soldier into a real little man. It would involve turning the tin into flesh. And suppose the tin soldier did not like it He is not interested in flesh; all he sees is that the tin is being spoilt He thinks you are killing him. He will do everything he can to prevent you. He will not be made into a man if he can help it.

What you would have done about that tin soldier I do not know. But what God did about us was this. The Second Person in God, the Son, became human Himself: was born into the world as an actual man-a real man of a particular  height, with hair of a particular colour, speaking a particular language, weighing so many stone. The Eternal Being, who knows everything and who created the whole universe, became not only a man but (before that) a baby,  and before that a foetus inside a Woman’s body. If you want to get the hang of it, think how you would like to become a slug or a crab.

The result of this was that you now had one man who really was what all men were intended to be: one man in whom the created life, derived from his Mother, allowed itself to be completely and perfectly turned into the begotten life. The natural human creature in Him was taken up fully into the divine Son. Thus in one instance humanity had, so to speak, arrived: had passed into the life of Christ. And because the whole difficulty for us is that the natural life has to be, in a sense, “killed,” He chose an earthly career which involved the killing of His human desires at every turn-poverty, misunderstanding from His own family, betrayal by one of His intimate friends, being jeered at and manhandled by the Police, and execution by torture. And then, after being thus killed-killed every day in a sense-the human creature in Him, because it was united to the divine Son, came to life again. The Man in Christ rose again: not only the God. That is the whole point For the first time we saw a real man. One tin soldier-real tin, just like the rest-had come fully and splendidly alive.

I think there are two ways to work at not being a tin soldier. 1) Reading apologetics books in order to be able to be a friend to God by telling people the truth about him, with evidence. Those shared experiences of you speaking up for your friend because you know what you are talking about get you out of your own desires and build a self-sacrificial friendship with him. And 2) Studying public square issues like abortion, divorce, marriage and so forth in order to articulate intelligent reasons why the Bible is correct in what it asserts about moral questions. The experience of talking to other people about economics, politics and foreign policy builds the relationship with God. And the more you know, the less freedom you have to make bad decisions – learning the truth about things is how you make doing evil unthinkable.

These are the good insights in C.S. Lewis books that help people who would like to become Christians to know how they are supposed to go about doing that. I have had non-Christian friends read them in order to understand at a practical level what Christianity is all about. These books are excellent to read when you are in high school and college. My favorites are “Mere Christianity”, “The Problem of Pain”, “God In the Dock”, “The Abolition of Man”, “The Great Divorce”, “The Four Loves”, “Miracles”, “Christian Reflections”, etc . I have never read the Narnia books, though. I also recommend that non-Christians all read the gospel of John as a snapshot of what Christianity is all about. You can read it in a few hours.

I would really recommend this lecture (MP3) by Walter Bradley as well, which is the best thing I have ever encountered about the Christian life. If you are not training hard, learning new things, and having people ask you questions about your faith every day, then you are doing it wrong – you need to get a intellectual/professional mentor and get moving forward. The normal Christian life is full of dangers and adventures! If you don’t look in the mirror every morning and see a heroic knight going out to try to slay dragons, then you are doing Christianity wrong.

By the way, if you are a Christian woman and you want to impress a Christian man, you need to talk about your Christian life to the man like Melissa does – with reference to books. Melissa is a particularly good example of how to behave because she is heavily into science apologetics. She is also fiscally conservative.

Filed under: Mentoring, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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