Patrick Murphy – Iraq War vet – is new Army under secretary

Patrick Murphy – Iraq War vet – is new Army under secretary

Friday, April 1, 2016

Patrick J. Murphy, a third-generation veteran and the first soldier to serve in the Iraq War elected to Congress, was officially sworn in as the 32nd under secretary of the Army in a Pentagon ceremony Feb. 24.

Murphy had been confirmed by the Senate as under secretary, Dec. 18, and legally sworn into the post, Jan. 4. Three days later, Jan. 7, he was appointed as acting secretary of the Army, effectively giving him dual-hat responsibility.

Before the 42-year-old Murphy took the oath administered by Army General Counsel Alissa M. Starzak, the ceremony’s hosts, the Army chief of staff, Gen. Mark A. Milley and Eric K. Fanning addressed the audience.

Fanning, who has been nominated by President Obama to be the next secretary of the Army but not yet confirmed by the Senate, opened his remarks by explaining how he first met Murphy.

Fanning was a new under secretary of the Navy when he met Murphy for the first time. Murphy was in Congress leading the charge for the repeal of "don’t ask, don’t tell."

Fanning addressed Murphy’s father, a former sailor who served 22 years with the Philadelphia Police Department.

"Jack … Patrick tells us that you taught him that you have to stand for something or you’ll fall for anything, so you damn well better stand for something," Fanning said.

Adding, "It’s clear Patrick has taken these words to heart. I don’t think anyone doubts his positions or his convictions."

Murphy is a 1996 graduate of Kings College in Pennsylvania, where he was captain of the hockey team and student government president as well as a graduate of the Army Reserve Officers’ Training Corps at the University of Scranton.

Following graduation, he was commissioned a second lieutenant in the Army Reserve, but remained on inactive duty while attending law school at Widener University, earning his juris doctor in 1999.

In 2000, Murphy went on active duty serving with the Judge Advocate General Corps and teaching constitutional law at West Point.

Following the 9/11 attacks, Murphy volunteered for overseas deployment, serving in Bosnia in 2002 and in Baghdad as a JAG lawyer with the 82nd Airborne Division from 2003 to 2004.

Murphy worked to reconstruct the justice system for some 1.5 million Iraqis and also prosecuted two high-level terrorists in Iraq’s highest court.

Milley expressed his support for Murphy, saying the secretary has the traits of Army leadership taught from the beginning of any Army career – competence, commitment and character.

He said Murphy has an "exceptional level" of confidence, "from what I have seen day in and day out many hours a day."

"Commitment – it comes through in spades, every day, in every meeting on every issue – he has an incredible amount of commitment," said Milley.

"He’s also got a huge amount of character, which is a lot of different things, but one part of character that I look to the most is integrity – that portion of your character, which means you’re going to stand tall in the breach, that you’ve got a spine of steel and you’re willing to tell truth to power no matter the personal consequences – that level of courage I see in Secretary Murphy."

Milley said Murphy also possessed "enormous compassion" that was selfless and focused on soldiers, their families and the Army civilian corps.

"This is a secretary who has a tremendous amount of talent and energy, and this is a secretary that I personally am very proud to serve alongside – so thank you Secretary Murphy for doing what you’re going to do for the country and for what you’ve already done," he said.

After the swearing-in, Murphy was presented a presidential commission signed by President Obama.

"This is such an awesome, awesome honor to be back with the Army family. I joined it at age 19 when I was a student at Kings College," he said, explaining the Army would be doubling down on the Army’s Soldier for Life program.

"To be part of the leadership team of the Army is a pretty incredible responsibility. When you look at what’s going on with ISIS, Iraq, Syria and now Libya … we’re asking so much of our soldiers and our civilians and families. … I’m so grateful to be back on the Army team to help serve. … I’m all about it."

J.D. Leipold

Army News Service