Veterans honours Navy hero who inspired film
The parents of an elite US soldier whose death in Afghanistan inspired the film 'Lone Survivor' are supporting a new organisation to honour Irish people who served in the military overseas.
Navy Seal Lt Michael P Murphy (29) won the Medal of Honour, America's highest award for courage, for his actions in a June 2005 mission in Afghanistan in which he died.
The Hollywood film starred Mark Wahlberg and was based on the experience of Michael and his US Navy Seal unit.
Now, the first chapter of the new organisation Irish Veterans has been dedicated in Kinsale, Co Cork to the young Seal's memory.
His parents, Dan and Maureen, along with his brother, New York policeman John, travelled to Ireland for the dedication.
Dan is a decorated Vietnam War veteran.
"We are delighted to support Irish Veterans," he said.
"In the Navy Seal special operations community, our son Michael was known as the 'fiery Irishman from New York' and his Irish heritage had a very large impact on his persona and strong character."
The US Navy has also backed the new organisation and several of Michael's elite Seal unit colleagues travelled to Cork for the event.
A special dinner inaugurating Chapter One of the Irish Veterans will be hosted tonight by the US Ambassador Kevin O'Malley and attended by the US Defence Attache Lt Col Sean Cosden.
Also attending will be a detachment of crew from the USS Michael Murphy, an Arleigh-Burke class destroyer named after the young Seal.
US Army veteran James Sikora is the joint executive director of Irish Veterans and he said such a body had been badly needed.
"It is incredible that the service and sacrifice of so many thousands of Irish people has gone unrecognised for so long."
"We need to ensure their sacrifices are never forgotten," the Gulf War veteran said.
"Our goal of building a permanent memorial to our comrades can be achieved in the next two years."