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The Navy SEAL reconnaissance mission that prompted a Memorial Day fitness competition in Rigby


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RIGBY — During a reconnaissance mission on June 28, 2005, Lt. Michael Murphy and his team of Navy SEALs were deep in the throes of an enemy attack.

The team of four was scouting for signs of Ahmad Shah, a terrorist leader in his mid-30s, in the Hindu Kush of Afghanistan. Different groups had notified the Taliban of the SEALs’ presence and Murphy and his men had been spotted and were outnumbered.

A fierce fight erupted between them in extreme terrain.

“Approximately 45 minutes into the fight, pinned down by overwhelming forces, Danny Dietz, the communications petty officer, sought open air to place a distress call back to the base. But before he could, he was shot in the hand, the blast shattering his thumb,” according to an article from the U.S. Navy.

Murphy swiftly responded, moving into the open to get a better signal to transmit a call for help. His actions put him in a vulnerable position and made him a target to the enemy.

While being fired upon, he made contact with Bagram Air Force Base and requested assistance after providing the location and size of the enemy force. Murphy was shot in the back in the process, dropping the transmitter.

“Murphy picked it back up, completed the call and continued firing at the enemy who was closing in. Severely wounded, Lt. Murphy returned to his cover position with his men and continued the battle,” the U.S. Navy reports.

After two hours of intense struggle, Murphy and his men were ultimately killed. So were the 16 men on board the MH-47 Chinook helicopter that was sent to help. The combat resulted in some Taliban deaths as well. An estimated 35 Taliban members were killed in the skirmish.

Despite Murphy’s “undaunted courage, intrepid fighting spirit and inspirational devotion to his men,” the U.S. Navy says June 28, 2005 remains “the single largest loss of life for Naval Special Warfare since World War II.”

The 2013 film, “Lone Survivor,” starring Mark Wahlberg, Taylor Kitsch and Emile Hirsch depicts the battle and the events of that day.

RELATED | CrossFit transformed this military vet’s body and now he owns a gym in Rigby

The sacrifice and patriotism of those men prompted Dave McMullan, a U.S. Army veteran and owner of a CrossFit gym in Rigby, to organize the first-ever Memorial Day “Murph” at Jefferson County Lake in their honor.

McMullan describes it as a “hero workout” that begins with a 1-mile run, followed by 100 pull-ups, 200 push-ups, 300 squats, and finishes with another 1-mile run. Participants are supposed to wear a weighted vest while they do it.

A recent photo of Dave McMullan at a CrossFit competition. | Dave McMullan

“At CrossFit, we do a bunch of workouts we call ‘hero workouts.’ They’re all named after men and women who gave their lives in the service of their country,” McMullan tells “All the hero workouts we do are important to me. I (wanted) to show support for our armed forces and give back however I can.”

Proceeds from the event will benefit Phoenix QRF, a local charity that provides resources and support for veterans coming out of the military.

McMullan plans to make this an annual event going forward.

The 2022 Memorial Day Murph CrossFit “Hero Workout” will kick off at 7:30 a.m. on May 30. Bishop Barbell in Idaho Falls will provide a pull-up rig for the event and multiple food trucks and vendors will be on hand as well.

The cost is $20 for those who would like to participate. Tickets are available online. The entrance fee for spectators is $6 per carload.