By Pfc. Tiffany BanksJuly 31, 2019
FORT DRUM, N.Y. (July 24, 2019) -- Retired Capt. Jake Murphy visited Memorial Park and 2nd Battalion, 87th Infantry Regiment, July 24 at Fort Drum, N.Y.
Murphy was deployed to Afghanistan in 2011 with Bravo Company, 2nd Bn., 87th Inf. Reg. and was hit by an improvised explosive device, which caused him to lose both his legs and suffer a traumatic brain injury.
This was his first visit to Fort Drum since he was stationed here, which also marked the eight-year anniversary of his injury, which happened July 23, 2011.
Murphy was taken to Memorial Park, which honors all 10th Mountain Division Soldiers who have paid the ultimate sacrifice.
Murphy was specifically looking for the name of his close friend, Tim Steele. Murphy and Steele were classmates at the United States Military Academy, went through both ranger and airborne schools together, were stationed at Fort Drum together and later deployed with the same unit.
"I was looking through all the plaques for Tim's name," said Murphy, "My son's middle name is Steele, after him."
Murphy said this visit brought back some tough memories.
"He literally took my position when I got hurt," said Murphy. "For him to die a month later is hard for me and I think about it a lot."
Murphy explained, it was good to see that Steele wasn't a forgotten person and how the 10th Mountain Division doesn't forget anybody and the sacrifice they've given.
"I'm glad to see their names are up there forever," said Murphy, "That's good to know, that years will pass and they'll be remembered in that form."
Following his visit to Memorial park, Murphy also visited his previous unit, Bravo Company, 2nd Bn., 87th Inf. Reg. and was able to see Steele's photo displayed in the company operations facility.
While Murphy was able to commemorate his friend Tim Steele during this visit, it also showed the strong sense of comradery Soldiers build together while serving.
Murphy can tell his story and remain an inspiration for all Soldiers who have lost a battle buddy or have been wounded in combat.
"As the years have gone by, people have told me that I've inspired them," said Murphy. "So if what I did or what I am doing makes a difference, I'm happy about that."
Murphy has worked with various wounded warrior events, hand cycled marathons, gone sit skiing, and was given great opportunities after his injury, such as being gifted a specially adapted smart home by the Gary Sinise Foundation.
As a wounded warrior, Murphy wanted to express how important it is to never forget all of those who are serving and deployed around the globe.
"People are still over there getting hurt," said Murphy, "So as long as that can still be in the forefront of people's minds, even so far after 9-11, that's important to me."