Campus News

NPR Follows "America's Battalion," Brendan Murphy '07

Story posted July 29, 2009

The Marines of the 2nd Battalion, 8th Regiment, who count Brendan Murphy '07 among their ranks, were originally bound for Iraq this spring.

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Brendan Murphy '07 in uniform, as caption of football team (top) and as second lieutenant in U.S. Marine Corps (bottom).

But members of the unit known as "America's Battalion" instead find themselves in Afghanistan as part of the 21,000 additional forces President Obama is deploying in the administration's new strategy for the war effort there — the largest American military operation in years.

Two National Public Radio (NPR) staffers, All Things Considered producer Graham Smith and photographer David Gilkey, are travelling with the unit and sharing stories with NPR's listeners.

They've reported on various aspects of the effort to root out the Taliban in Helmand province, including the death of the first Marine killed in the new offensive.

As part of the series, NPR is also airing stories of the Marines' families here at home in the U.S., including how they braced for Father's Day without Dad and how they anxiously await word from their loved ones overseas.

In emails to family and friends, Murphy writes of running convoys across open desert terrain.

"America's Battalion" on NPR
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Commissioning ceremonies for graduates enlisting with the U.S. Marine Corps take place following Commencement exercises. Above and below, the commissioning of two 2009 graduates in front of the Chapel.

Listen to NPR's "America's Battalion" stories, read the accompanying articles and see the photos here.

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"On our first one, we drove for 12 hours and the only things we saw were six mud brick homes, a shepherd with his sheep and a few shrubs," wrote Murphy.

"When we drive through the market and the surrounding villages, the people seem relatively receptive to our presence. The kids usually come out and wave, while the adults just stare blankly as we pass, occasionally nodding in stoic approval."

Murphy, of Winthrop, Mass., double-majored in English and government and legal studies.

He was also a defensive back on the football team, serving as a captain his senior year.

Murphy received his commission immediately following Commencement May 26, 2007.

John Murphy, Brendan's father, says he knows Brendan and his platoon would appreciate care packages and messages of support.

They can be mailed to:
2nd Lt. Brendan Murphy, USMC
2nd Battalion, 8th Marines
H&S Company
Unit 73225
FPO AE 09510-3225

2-8 MT530

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