Skip to comments.Deployed sergeant served in Marines, Army, Navy and now Air Force (A One Man DoD)
Posted on 09/14/2005 6:27:11 PM PDT by SandRat
SOUTHWEST ASIA (AFPN) -- Staff Sgt. James Murphy isnt your typical Airman. A 30-year-old tattoo of U.S.M.C. peeking out from his T-shirt sleeve and his no-nonsense attitude may shed light on some of his life story, but it wouldnt come close to telling most of it.
Sergeant Murphy, a night shift supervisor for the flightline dining hall in the 380th Expeditionary Services Squadron, is deployed from the 920th Rescue Wing from Cocoa Beach, Fla.
After almost three years in the Air Force, the 48-year-old never thought hed be here, in the Air Force. He also didnt think hed go from the Marines, to the Army National Guard, then to the Navy, and finally into the Air Force Reserve over a 30-year timeframe. Its not like I planned it, he said.
But he said he remembers exactly when it all started.
I remember being on a bus with my grandmother -- an old Irish woman -- and we passed a billboard with a Marine in his green winter service dress, he said, smiling with the memory. I remember pointing at it and telling my grandmother thats what I wanted to be. His grandmother looked down and the 6-year-old Murphy and said, Oh boy son, those are tough men.
The Bronx native held true to his dream, and in 1973 he dropped out of high school -- We could do that back then, he said -- and joined the Marines at age 17. He soon earned is GED and went on to serve nine years with the Marines. He admits, though, if he were to fast-forward time to 2005, he never would have guessed this would be the future: A former Marine trading his weapon for a spatula! Any Marine worth his salt probably would tell you they wouldnt do it, not even on a dare.
However, there was a reason for each twist of his service.
Deciding to pursue a career in law enforcement, he left the Marines in the late 1970s. However, civilian life was too sedate for the former Marine, so he decided he wanted to come back. But it wasnt meant to be. They said I was too old, he said. Not that Sergeant Murphy was too old to enlist or re-enlist. They said he probably wouldnt want some young guy telling him what to do.
So he went into the Army National Guard. After a year, he decided he wanted more, but not of the Army. So, on a whim, he and one of his friends joined the Navy. As a Seabee military instructor, it was kind of like the Marines, he said. After four and one-half years, it still wasnt enough to feed the patriot desire that burns within.
He said he is not a war monger, but he wanted to be in the mix of things. I wanted to be where the action is, he said. I have no illusions (about war). I just feel like its the right thing to do. Serving is the price of citizenship.
While he didnt deploy, he did find himself in the middle of what looked like a war zone. Having worked as a customs agent in the World Trade Center and seeing the events of Sept. 11, 2001, unfold, he said he had to do something. Assigned to the Naval Reserve Headquarters in New Orleans, he worked federal orders to get assigned temporarily to the N.Y. National Guard. As the only Navy person on that type of orders, he is specifically noted in the Naval History Society archives.
Returning to his civilian law enforcement agency job, he still wanted to contribute more to the military and its worldwide reach.
So, living next to Patrick Air Force Base, Fla., the customs agent decided to go into the Air Force Reserve in 2002. Convinced that this time he would be in the mix somewhere, Sergeant Murphy raised his right hand for the fourth time, enlisting as an aerial gunner. You have to see action doing that, he said.
Yet after one and one-half years, no slots, no school, meant that he wasnt deploying anywhere. He then decided to go into the services career field where he immediately went into training and eventually deployed. Finally.
He also finally was able to answer the call to action he saw in his youth. His father was in the Army during the Korean War. His neighborhood also was rife with former Marines who reflected the tough attitude of Sergeant John Stryker (John Wayne) in The Sands of Iwo Jima.
The old Marines, telling stories like they do, he said, they were the best.
He has no patience for sunshine patriots who, he said, sit on bar stools and talk about what should be done, rather than doing what needs to be done. In the end, he said all of the military services got a fairly big chunk of me. And that is exactly what he wanted.
ONE MAN ALL MILITARY PING
Well, he started with the hardest service and ended up with the easiest. Sometimes it takes a Marine a little longer to catch on.
My son spent 4 years in the Army and then joined the Navy for 6 years. He said he was going to join the Marines next but reupped in the Navy. I guess being with the Seabees(ms?) was the best of both, huh?:')
That's pretty cool! I wonder how many people have ever served in every branch? Maybe someone has served in all of those and the Coast Guard too???
I think thats called a grand slam.
No we don't discriminate against our brothers.
Nah that's what you get at Denny's. Now let's see he still has the Coast Guard and the Merchant Marines to do.
If he does those two I guess its a touchdown. What the heck does he do for the extra point? FBI?
I Guess, maybe take Tubby Teddies Senate Seat from him.
As a seabee, the heavy equipment operator nec will come in handy.
what a great american!!!! god bless you!!!!
I trained a Marine that was in all 4 branches. He was so sorry that he picked the Marine Corps last because they sent him to boot camp and removed all rank. The other branches did'nt. I spent time in the USMC and the Army but I dont tell many I was in the Army.
Got it right on his fourth try. Good for him.
Ken Daves (Retired USAF)
I was in the Seabees, served with a guy who had been Army, 101st in Vietnam. He sure got some looks with jump wings, 4 rows of ribbons topped by a Bronze Star, E-3 stripes and 2 good conduct stripes on his crackerjacks.
Man! Talk about LOWERING expectations! From the MARINES to the air farce? Slumming!
That it. LOL.
If he'd gotten that aerial gunner slot he wanted, it wouldn't have been so easy. It doesn't sound like he ever picked the easy way.
Didn't realize the AF had an affirmative action program. LOL
Good for him and thanks for ALL of his service.
Man! These zoomies are getting thick skinned lately! That jab should have brought out most of them crying "Unfair!"
I was Army and always heard Marine Air was much preferred over Zoomie Air in a pinch. Alas another time and generation.