Saturday, November 12, 2011

JOHN S. MURPHY, JR., Veteran Tribute

As many of us still have our veterans on our minds and in our hearts today, I want to share with you the story of one of our own. 

A Mineral Wells High School graduate from the class of 1958, John S. Murphy, Jr. began his long career with the U. S. Air Force in the Reserves in 1961 after spending some time in the Texas Army National Guard. He was commissioned a 2nd Lt through the Air Force ROTC program at Texas Technological College in 1964, and went on active duty beginning in July of that year. He then completed Undergraduate Pilot Training and was awarded his pilot wings at Reese AFB, Texas, in August 1965, followed by B-52 Stratofortress Combat Crew Training.

His first assignment was as a B-52 pilot with the 26th Bomb Squadron at Altus AFB, Oklahoma, and after completing F-105 Thunderchief Combat Crew Training, he served as an F-105 pilot with the 34th Tactical Fighter Squadron at Korat Royal Thai AFB, Thailand, from February to October 1968.

Capt Murphy served as an instructor pilot with the 3500th and 3501st Pilot Training Squadrons at Reese AFB from November 1968 to August 1971, and then completed F-4 Phantom II Combat Crew Training before serving as an F-4 pilot with the 469th Tactical Fighter Squadron at Korat Royal Thai AFB from November 1971.

On June 8, 1972 he was forced to eject over South Vietnam while flying a Tiger Fast FAC mission, and was taken as a Prisoner of War by North Vietnamese forces. This was his second shoot-down, having been forced to eject over Laos during an earlier Tiger Fast FAC mission on February 10, 1972, and being rescued the next day. After spending 293 days in captivity, Capt. Murphy was released during Operation Homecoming on March 27, 1973.

He was briefly hospitalized to recover from his injuries at Sheppard AFB, Texas, and then served as an F-4 pilot with the 32nd Tactical Fighter Squadron at Camp New Amsterdam in the Netherlands from Sept 1973 to June 1976, followed by Air command and Staff College at Maxwell AFB, Alabama.

Maj Murphy's final assignment was on the staff of Headquarters U. S. Air Force in the Pentagon, where he served as an Air Operations Staff Officer with the Tactical Division in the Office of the Deputy Director for Combat Readiness, Directorate of Operations and Readiness, Deputy Chief of Staff for Plans and Operations, from June 1977 until he resigned his commission in the Air Force on June 15, 1978.

John and Jo McCloud (Class of 1959) have been married since 1959 and have 3 children and 8 grandchildren.

His 2nd Distinguished Flying Cross w/Valor Citation reads:

Captain John S. Murphy distinguished himself by heroism while participating in aerial flight as an F-4E Forward Air Controller in Southeast Asia on 30 April 1972. On that date Captain Murphy repeatedly led strike flights into lucrative warehouse and storage complexes despite deteriorating weather and intense antiaircraft fire. Remaining in the target area for over four hours, his directions, under extremely trying circumstances, were responsible for the destruction of eleven warehouses and large amounts of supplies with no friendly losses. The outstanding heroism and selfless devotion to duty displayed by Captain Murphy reflect great credit upon himself and the United States Air Force.

Thank you for your service, John, and your love of country; and we also thank Jo for her faithfulness and courage, holding your beautiful family together until you returned.

Capt. Murphy with his F-105 Thunderchief in 1968

Major O-4,  U.S. Air Force
Texas Army National Guard 1957-1961
U.S. Air Force Reserve 1961-1964
U.S. Air Force 1964-1978
Cold War 1957-1978
Vietnam War 1968, 1971-1973 (POW)

John S. Murphy, Jr., Veteran Tribute,, accessed November 12, 2011
Mineral Wells High School Yearbooks, 1958, 1959


  1. Congratulations to John and Jo Murphy and thank you for your service and dedication.

  2. Thank you very much for the piece you wrote about John. I think you wrote a marvelous piece - but then you always do! Thank you, again, Judy.



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