Thursday, 13 Dec 2018
News

Seventy-four years after his death in the Second World War, a navy is sent home


The journalist Jessica Contrera Enterprise focuses on stories about people whose lives are affected by the news. On December 1st at 19:29, a bug sounded, a flag was presented and a sailor was buried Saturday in Maryland – 74 years after his death. Staff Sgt. Richard J. Murphy Jr. was one of 72,000 Americans listed as "missing in action" during World War II. In June 1944, Murphy was killed in the Pacific off Saipan in the Northern Mariana Islands. He was 26 years old. His body was washed on the ground but was not identified at the time. They were buried in an American cemetery in the Philippines and remained there until the Ministry of Defense exhumed them this year and confirmed their identity. Due to modern science, a determined military historian and a family determined to preserve Murphy's memory, the Navy was returned to the area where he was born and was buried alongside his mother at Gate Cemetery. from Heaven to Silver Spring. "It's an odyssey," said Gerry Murphy, 68-year-old Murphy's nephew. "We took for gospel that Uncle Richard was MIA and he would still live in our hearts, but now. . . . It's amazing, it's amazing and it's beautiful. Murphy's story began a century ago in the District, where he was born to Mollie and Richard Murphy, a car dealership. Richard Jr. was the youngest of the Irish couple's four children and was known in their Lamont Street townhouse for his chatter, his charm and his talent at the piano, so that his interpretation of "Ave Maria" could move listeners . After graduating from Central High School – now known as Cardozo – and Georgetown University, Murphy stayed in the city to work for what was calling him. era the newspaper Evening Star. According to his 1943 enrollment papers, he "wrote stories of local interest" and was "at one and the same time [a] leg man and man rewrite. "
Murphy was a Marine Corps war correspondent before being killed during a World War II battle on the Pacific Front. (Family photo) This experience prepared Murphy for a position of war correspondent for the Marines. Although blind in one eye, he was sent to the front to chronicle the war. "He did not want other boys arguing," he has already written to his mother. "He wanted to have some of the danger." A year after his enlistment, Murphy found himself faced with danger in the Pacific, aboard a vehicle capable of navigating on land and sea. His fleet was close to the Marianas Islands North, approaching the Japanese stronghold of Saipan, when mortar fire began to rain, according to a testimony sent to his mother. In chaos, Murphy's amphibious craft found himself stuck on a coral reef. His Marine comrades began to jump overboard, but Murphy, telling the story of the family, stayed to help a wounded man. "A shell fell and blew up the watercraft," Murphy said. "None of them have been seen alive." Three months passed before the Murphy family received a telegram: "ENJOY THAT YOU REMEMBER TO INFORM YOU THAT YOUR SON … LACK IN ACTION … I ACHIEVE YOUR GREAT ANXIETY BUT THE DETAILS ARE NOT NOW AVAILABLE. A year later another telegram confirmed his presumed death. Murphy's trunk, containing 22 books, four notebooks and two tobacco jokes, was sent back to his parents. His body has never been.
Murphy, center, "interrogates two members of the famous Second Marine Division before the assault on Japan." This is one of the photographs that the Marine Corps gave to Murphy's parents after his disappearance during a battle on the Pacific Front. (Family Photo) For the rest of their lives, Murphy's parents posted a framed picture of him next to his posthumously awarded Purple Heart. They reserved a place for Thanksgiving and grilled it on New Year's Eve. "Even though we never met him, we had the feeling of knowing him because of all the stories they told about him," said his nephew. Gerry Murphy inherited the framed picture. He was suspended at his home in Potomac, Maryland, in 2014, when he received a call from
Kuentai-USA, a non-profit organization dedicated to bringing home the remains of World War II service personnel lost in the Pacific. At first, he thought that this could be a kind of scam. It was said that it was possible that Uncle Richard was found. The story began with a man named Ted Darcy, a former sailor who worked to recover the debris of World War II aircraft for museums and collectors. In 1991, Darcy was working on a plane in Hawaii when he discovered the remains of the pilot who was under him. He reported his discovery to the government agency responsible for recovering missing military personnel, which is now known as the POW / MIA Accounting Agency for Defense (DPAA). Through fragments of lives long lost, the laboratory aims to give military families a little peace. According to Darcy, it took 17 years for the remains of this pilot to be sent home. This was Darcy's introduction of a slow reunification process. Frustrated, Darcy shifts her personal aircraft efforts and creates an organization called the WFI Research Group. By building databases of missing service members and unidentified remains records, Darcy has since identified more than 200 service members who were MIAs. A dozen of them have been confirmed by the government. Murphy was his 13th. Murphy's remains, classified as "Unknown X-15", had been buried in Section L, Row 9, of an American cemetery in Manila. The plot was marked with a marble cross on which were engraved the words: "Known but god." "I think I'm pretty good company, because I know who it is," Darcy liked to say. He discovered it in 2010, thanks to Murphy's teeth. When the young Marine enlisted, a forensic doctor created a map showing his gold crown, his silver fill and a cavity. This table was in Darcy's database. He compared the Unknown X-15 dental records that the government filed before the burial. Darcy informed the government of his discovery. Four years later, he seeks the help of Kuentai-USA to speed up the processing of his file. The records were reviewed by forensic dentists. This analysis convinced the DPAA defense agency to exhume Murphy's coffin in Manila, empty it and send it by plane to Hawaii. The remains were tested with DNA collected from Gerry Murphy and one of his cousins, Jeanne Minahan Robinson. In July, eight years after Darcy's first identification of Murphy and 74 years after the Navy's death, DPAA confirmed the match. The Murphy family organized a funeral in November to allow extended family members to attend. On Saturday, more than 75 people went to St. Patrick's Catholic Church in Rockville to pay tribute to Murphy. A polished wooden coffin, his second, was draped with an American flag. A bagpiper came to honor his Irish heritage. An organist played "Ave Maria". Those who came together to pay tribute to Murphy remembered the man they had never met but whom they had so much admired. "Now," Robinson said, "our family can really get together and say," Welcome home, Uncle Richard. "".

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