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Murphy to assume duties in Persian Gulf

June 09, 2005|by MARLO BARNHART

marlob@herald-mail.com

HANCOCK - Allen Murphy was in his first days at the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis when the events of Sept. 11, 2001, forever changed his life and the world in which he will be serving his country.

"I remember I was just out of class that day when the first plane hit," Murphy said. "Of course there was a lot of military at the academy and many from New York, so everyone was very concerned."

Allen graduated from the academy on May 27 in a ceremony attended by his parents, Daniel and Debbie Murphy, his sister Emily and her husband, two of his grandparents and a number of friends. Now 22, he is a brand new ensign.

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"President Bush shook Allen's hand and told him he was proud of him," said Daniel Murphy of his son's graduation day experience.

His class - which numbered about 1,250 when he began four years ago - was down to around 1,000 on graduation day. Murphy estimated 20 percent of the graduates in his class were women.

"I'm so very proud of him and glad that he is home," said his mother, Debbie Murphy. "It can be a roller coaster."

Now that his studies are over, Murphy will spend a month at home before leaving for Everett, Wash. After that, he will be on escort duty on the frigate USS Ingraham in the Persian Gulf by July.

"I hope to be back in about six months," Murphy said. Valedictorian of his graduating class at Hancock High School, he received his appointment to the academy from U.S. Rep. Roscoe Bartlett, R-Md.

During his four years at the academy, Murphy said, his life was filled with military drills, academics, and leadership classes. There were also the moral, mental and physical missions expected of all students to develop honor, character and ethics, he said.

"I'm into surface warfare," Murphy said. "I'll be a division officer on my ship with 20 to 30 people working under me in engineering and communications."

Murphy was a history major but had no engineering training. He is to learn that aboard ship, he said.

The mission in the Persian Gulf will include transporting Marines to the volatile area as well as patrolling, guarding and, if necessary, boarding. "At certain hours, I will be standing watch aboard ship," he said.

Living on campus at the academy was unique, with all its military customs and the plebe system, Murphy said.

"You are divided into companies for the four years you are there. There are about 120 in a company."

He added that it was great living in a city like Annapolis as well as being so close to Washington, D.C. "All in all, going to the academy was a really good fit for me," Murphy said.

Not that he has graduated, Murphy said he will be in the Navy for at least five years and maybe as long as seven years. After that, he isn't sure what he will do with his life.

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