Coast Guard Sector San Juan honors U.S. Navy Medal of Honor recipient with Murph Challenge

From left to right: Chief Petty Officer Nelson Duarte, Sector San Juan Maritime Enforcement Specialist chief, and a fellow Coastguardsman look to complete 100 pull-ups as part of the 2016 Murph Challenge event at Sector San Juan May 27, 2016 in Puerto Rico. A total of 96 participants comprised of coastguardsmen, sailors, soldiers, Marines, military dependents and federal law enforcement agents from multiple agencies, competed in four-person teams in which each member completed a one-mile run, 100 pull-ups, 200 push-ups, 300 squats followed by another mile run. The challenge is named after Navy SEAL Lt. Michael Murphy, who was killed in action in Afghanistan on June 28, 2005, and the event was held to honor his sacrifice and that of all other fallen veterans as part of Memorial Day celebrations. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Ricardo Castrodad.

Chief Petty Officer Nelson Duarte (left) and a fellow Coast Guardsman look to complete 100 pull-ups as part of the 2016 Murph Challenge event at Sector San Juan May 27, 2016. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Ricardo Castrodad.

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico — Coastguardsmen, soldiers, sailors, marines, federal law enforcement officers and military dependents in Puerto Rico performed the Murph Challenge May 27 at Coast Guard Sector San Juan as part of Memorial Day celebrations.

The Murph Challenge is a mentally and physically excruciating fitness routine named in honor of Navy SEAL Lt. Michael Murphy, who was killed by enemy fire in Afghanistan on June 28, 2005.  For his heroic actions, Murphy was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor.

“We came together to honor Lt. Michael Murphy’s sacrifice and that of all our fallen veterans,” said Chief Petty Officer Nelson Duarte, Sector San Juan Maritime Enforcement Specialist chief and Murph Challenge organizer.  “Throughout the event we witnessed a true display of friendship, camaraderie and competition amongst our sister services and fellow federal law enforcement partners, who day and day out protect our way of life and defend our nation.”

The Murph Challenge consists of a one-mile run, 100 pull-ups, 200 pushups, 300 squats and concludes with a final one-mile run, while wearing a 20-pound body armor vest.

Duarte explained that in Sector San Juan the challenge was organized and performed as a team event.  Teams were comprised of four members with the option of performing the challenge either assisted or unassisted.  Only the unassisted teams would compete to post an official time and be considered for overall team placement.

“This was all about getting out there and simply doing your very best,” said Duarte.  “To see so many people willing to put themselves out there in such a meaningful way was truly inspiring.”

Before facing and welcoming the pain, all 96 participants formed up in their respective teams to observe morning colors and the invocation delivered by LT Barret Craig, Sector San Juan command chaplain.

The winning team of the Sector San Juan 2016 Murph Challenge was comprised of Coast Guardsmen from Sector San Juan, Petty Officer 3rd Class Zachary Rico; Petty Officer 3rd Class Lucas Orjuela, Petty Officer 3rd Class Alexander Esqueda and Seaman Omar Canas, who work scored a combined time of 53 minutes.  The second place and third place times of 57:10 and 1:05:45 were also posted by two other Coast Guard teams.  The Puerto Rico Army National Guard’s team posted a fourth-place time of 1:09:14, while the United States Marine Corps Reserve Det. 1 came in fifth place with a time of 1:11:00.

Among the services and agencies taking part in the event were the Coast Guard, the United States Marine Corps Reserve, the Navy, the Army,  Army Garrison Fort Buchanan, the Puerto Rico Army National Guard, Immigrations and Customs Enforcement, Customs and Border Protection, the Federal Bureau of Investigations, and Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms.

Lt. Murphy was leading a SEAL reconnaissance element with Naval Special Warfare Task Unit Afghanistan to locate a high-level anti-coalition militia in the mountains in the vicinity of the Asadabad, Konar Province, when he was killed in Afghanistan. For his conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his live above and beyond the call of duty Murphy was awarded the Medal of Honor. (To see Lt. Murphy’s Medal of Honor citation: http://ift.tt/1WJ0HNk).

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