Every Memorial Day, fitness enthusiasts and newcomers around the country and across the globe prepare to honor fallen Navy SEAL Michael P. Murphy and many others who have made the ultimate sacrifice by completing “The Murph Challenge.” The grueling workout consists of a one-mile run, 100 pull-ups, 200 push-ups, 300 squats, and another one-mile run.
Murphy originally dubbed the workout “Body Armor” as he executed the routine with a 20-pound protective vest. He developed the workout as a functional routine that was practical for his work as a SEAL. While his average time was between 32 and 34 minutes, his best time was reportedly just over 28 minutes. The workout would prove invaluable in the treacherous mountains of Afghanistan.
Operation Red Wings
On June 28, 2005, Murphy and three other SEALs, Matthew Axelson, Danny Dietz, and Marcus Luttrell, were on a reconnaissance mission, code name Operation Red Wings, in eastern Afghanistan.
But when they were discovered by unarmed locals, their mission became compromised. The SEAL team let them go, knowing that they would most likely inform the Taliban of their presence.
As the three SEALs attempted to return to base, scores of Taliban fighters reached their position, and a firefight ensued. The unforgiving terrain made it impossible to get a connection to call for a quick reaction force to come to their aid.
Murphy, having already been gravely wounded, left his covered position and went out into the open to get a signal. As he exposed himself to enemy fire, he was able to call for assistance before being shot again. He returned to cover, and continued to fight until he was killed. Only Luttrell would survive the battle.
The Murph Challenge
Years later, Michael Murphy’s father, Dan Murphy, approached former SEAL Michael Sauers regarding the LT. Michael P. Murphy Memorial Scholarship Foundation that was established in the aftermath of Operation Red Wings. Sauers, the founder of FORGED, an apparel company, served on active duty for 13 years and seven years as an instructor and had crossed paths with Murphy several times throughout his service.