UA Tillman Military Scholar Attends Commissioning of USS Michael Murphy

Oct. 15, 2012

U.S. Air Force veteran Brian Kolfage, a fourth-year architecture student at the UA, recently traveled to New York City to attend the commissioning of the USS Michael Murphy, a naval ship named for a leader of a U.S. Navy SEAL Team killed in action in Afghanistan.

Kolfage was invited to the ship’s commissioning by the parents of Michael Murphy, who was killed in 2005 during a covert counter-terrorism combat operation along the Pakistan-Afghan border.

The invitation came after Kolfage was named a recipient of the Lt. Michael P. Murphy USN Memorial Scholarship, awarded annually by the Military Order of the Purple Heart National Scholarship Committee to individuals injured in combat.

A UA Tillman Military Scholar, Kolfage lost both legs and his right hand in a rocket attack in Iraq, but he has not let it slow him down. You can read more about his journey in pursuit of a UA architecture degree in the story, “A Unique Eye for Design.”

Kolfage said the ceremony at Pier 88 in New York City was a touching celebration of life, some of which he captured in a video on Vimeo.

“It was an honor to be there,” Kolfage said. “It was a once in a lifetime experience."

Photos, from top: Sailors aboard the USS Michael Murphy; Brian Kolfage (left) with a friend of Michael Murphy; The 9/11 flag from the World Trade Center on display at the commissioning.