Memorial Day Murph

It’s that time again! What better way to kick off the summer season than to ring it in with a hero wod? For the unaware, it has been a long time tradition of CrossFit to honor America’s fallen troops via ridiculously hard “hero” workouts. The thinking behind it? Nobody sacrifices more than a member of the military. The least we can do is suck it up and hit a difficult workout in their memory. It’s the closest many of us will come to experiencing the mental and physical angst that comes with protecting our nation during times of war.

Memorial Day, a national holiday in remembrance of all fallen service men and women, has become associated with “Murph” among members of the CrossFit community, and rightfully so. The workout is named after Lt. Michael P. Murphy, a United States Navy Seal who was killed June 28, 2005 along with four other Navy SEALS after exposing himself to enemy fire and knowingly leaving his position of cover in order to get a clear signal to communicate with his headquarters. He provided his unit’s location and requested immediate support for his unit and then returned to his position to continue fighting until he died from his wounds. He was awarded the Medal of Honor for his heroic actions. Such a man deserves only the toughest of workouts.

For time:
1 Mile Run
100 pull-ups
200 push-ups
300 air squats
1 Mile run

This Memorial Day, May 27, from 10am-Noon we’ll be getting together as a gym to take on this special workout. Attendees will have the option of partnering up with a fellow CFK homie or braving the workout solo. The BBQing will commence at noon. CrossFit Kinnick will be providing the awesome protein but the rest is potluck style! Bring your favorite paleo-zone dishes and let’s get our grub on. If possible, please bring a chair for comfortable seating. We’ll also be collecting donations for the Wounded Warrior Project. Most of us have the day off, so come on down and enjoy the holiday and, more importantly, the freedom we’ve been afforded by amazing men and women like Lt. Michael Murphy.

And just in case you were wondering, Murph regularly did this workout as part of his routine. It wasn’t a “hero” workout for him. It was a typical Wednesday.

*skip ahead to 2:20

Lt. Michael Murphy’s full heroic story via

“On June 28, 2005, Lt. Murphy was the officer-in-charge of a four-man SEAL element in support of Operation Red Wing tasked with finding key anti-coalition militia commander near Asadabad, Afghanistan. Shortly after inserting into the objective area, the SEALs were spotted by three goat herders who were initially detained and then released. It is believed the goat herders immediately reported the SEALs’ presence to Taliban fighters.

A fierce gun battle ensued on the steep face of the mountain between the SEALs and a much larger enemy force. Despite the intensity of the firefight and suffering grave gunshot wounds himself, Murphy is credited with risking his own life to save the lives of his teammates. Murphy, intent on making contact with headquarters, but realizing this would be impossible in the extreme terrain where they were fighting, unhesitatingly and with complete disregard for his own life moved into the open, where he could gain a better position to transmit a call to get help for his men.

Moving away from the protective mountain rocks, he knowingly exposed himself to increased enemy gunfire. This deliberate and heroic act deprived him of cover and made him a target for the enemy. While continuing to be fired upon, Murphy made contact with the SOF Quick Reaction Force at Bagram Air Base and requested assistance. He calmly provided his unit’s location and the size of the enemy force while requesting immediate support for his team. At one point, he was shot in the back causing him to drop the transmitter. Murphy picked it back up, completed the call and continued firing at the enemy who was closing in. Severely wounded, Lt. Murphy returned to his cover position with his men and continued the battle.

As a result of Murphy’s call, an MH-47 Chinook helicopter, with eight additional SEALs and eight Army Night Stalkers aboard, was sent in as part of the QRF to extract the four embattled SEALs. As the Chinook drew nearer to the fight, a rocket-propelled grenade hit the helicopter, causing it to crash and killing all 16 men aboard.

On the ground and nearly out of ammunition, the four SEALs, continued to fight. By the end of a two-hour gunfight that careened through the hills and over cliffs, Murphy, Gunner’s Mate 2nd Class (SEAL) Danny Dietz and Sonar Technician 2nd Class (SEAL) Matthew Axelson had fallen. An estimated 35 Taliban were also dead. The fourth SEAL, Hospital Corpsman 2nd Class (SEAL) Marcus Luttrell, was blasted over a ridge by a rocket-propelled grenade and knocked unconscious. Though severely wounded, the fourth SEAL and sole survivor, Luttrell, was able to evade the enemy for nearly a day; after which local nationals came to his aide, carrying him to a nearby village where they kept him for three more days. Luttrell was rescued by U.S. Forces on July 2, 2005.

By his undaunted courage, intrepid fighting spirit and inspirational devotion to his men in the face of certain death, Lt. Murphy was able to relay the position of his unit, an act that ultimately led to the rescue of Luttrell and the recovery of the remains of the three who were killed in the battle.”

Jake is a Head Trainer at CrossFit Kinnick. He has been CrossFitting for 8 years and has been a Trainer at CrossFit Kinnick for 6 years. His Certifications include: CrossFit Level 2 Instructor, USAW Sports Performance Coach. He earned his BA in Political Science from Cal Poly Pomona.