Barry Daniel Murphy

Specialist Five
Army of the United States
07 January 1947 - 18 March 1969
Cutler Ridge, Florida
Panel 29W Line 069



Purple Heart, National Defense, Vietnam Service, Vietnam Campaign


The database page for Barry Daniel Murphy

14 Feb 2005

I found this poem he wrote before he left for Vietnam many years ago.

Idea Of A Young Soldier

Sword and cannon rattle far away
Far from eyes or ears
Though I cannot see them
I know that they are there.

Though I've never seen the water
Of the Mekong Delta green.
Though I've never seen the daugher
Of the humble village chief
Though I've never seen the slaughter
And the people weep.

I must go, though it may mean
Be a martyr for my soul to keep
All men bound and shaken
Their master's fears I seek
To give no rest
For my life I give
To liberate the oppressed.

My love, and friends, and family cannot hear
They do not understand the hope, pain and fear
I pray to God
History proves me right
For I leave for Viet Nam
This very night.

Sword and cannon rattle far away
Far from eyes or ears
Though I cannot see them
I know that they are there.

- Barry D. Murphy -

From a friend,
Betty Bell Homburger

A Note from The Virtual Wall

Two Special Forces troops were killed in action on 18 March 1969 - SFC Margarito Fernandez and then-SP4 Barry Murphy. Some reports connect the two men; others do not.

The POW Network biography for SP5 Murphy says

"On March 18, SP4 Murphy was serving as the assistant team leader of a 10 man team which had been inserted by helicopter on a reconnaissance mission in Kampong Cham Province, located in south central Cambodia. Soon after leaving the helicopter and moving on to the objective, the team was ambushed by an unknown size enemy force.

"During the ensuing fire fight, Murphy was hit several times from small arms fire and died. Three other team members were killed before the helicopter could extract the survivors. Because of enemy fire, all remains were left behind. Subsequent air search for the remains failed to locate them."

The MACV-SOG website contains the following entry
"18 Mar 69; Margarito Fernandez, Jr, SFC E-7 and Barry Daniel Murphy, SGT E-5 and Four Special Commandos KIA CCS; Ban Me Thuot, Ops 35 in Cambodia performing a Bomb damage Assessment. SFC Franandez remains recovered, SGT Murphy Remains not recovered. Killed in the 'Fish Hook' area in support of Operation Breakfast [B-52 strikes in SVN/Cambodia border areas] when the team became engaged with a superior enemy force."
The Special Forces casualty list has the following entries for SFC Franandez and SP5 Murphy:
  • 19690318 E-5 SP5 Barry D. Murphy 12B4S KIA, BNR
    Cam; CCS, w/ RT??, XT441912, during BDA 11km due East of A-322, Katum
  • 19690318 E-7 SFC Margarito Fernandez 11F4S KIA, DOW
    SVN; B-41, w/ 4 MSFC, A-401, at Moc Hoa in ARVN vs Mike Force shootout
Finally, the Central Identification Laboratory database has the following unit assignment entries:
  • SP5 Barry D. Murphy: "CCS, 5TH SFG"
  • SFC Margarito Fernandez: "DET B-41 CO D 5TH SFG"
Overall it appears that the deaths of SFC Fernandez and SP5 Murphy are not related, that they were not together on their last operation. According to Army records, SFC Fernandez died in Chau Doc Province, while SP5 Murphy died in Cambodia. SP5 Barry Murphy has two records in the Army's TAGCEN database; the first reflects his initial loss and placement as Missing in Action; the second, dated 07 August 1973, reflects his transfer from MIA to "Died while Missing/Body not Recovered".

However, the POW Network and MACV-SOG website reports that Murphy was involved in a recon operation in Cambodia are strengthened by the Army records. The recon teams commonly were composed of two or three Americans and 6 to 8 indigenous troops; that four or five men were killed and not recovered isn't unbelievable since the indigenous troops would not appear in the American casualty lists.

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With all respect
Jim Schueckler, former CW2, US Army
Ken Davis, Commander, United States Navy (Ret)
Last updated 08/10/2009