CTI1 Mitchell Murphy was selected as the Commander, Naval Security Group Sailor of the Year, and was NSGs nomination in the Vice Chief of Naval Operations (Naval Shore Activities) 1997 Sailor of the Year program. CTIl Murphy was born in Eugene, Oregon and graduated from Creswell (Oregon) High School in 1985. Following basic training in San Diego, California he was assigned to the Defense Language Institute on Monterey, California where he completed the basic Spanish course. He received additional training at Goodfellow Air Force Base in San Angelo, Texas with follow-on orders to Naval Security Group Activity (NSGA) Key West, Florida. In February 1989 after basic firefighting and damage control school in Norfolk, Virginia he reported on board USS SPHINX (ARL-24) for a One year tour. It turned out to be less than a year because SPHlNX was decommissioned in June 1989. He was then ordered to the Defense Language Institute in Washington, D.C., in July 1989 for training in Serbo-Croatian.

Following completion of Naval Aircrew Candidate School and SERE school in August 1990 he was assigned to (NSGA) Fort Meade, Maryland. As a 9197 airborne direct support element from September 1990 through August 1992, he flew aboard EA3B (Skywarrior) and EP-3E aircraft of VQ-2 and completed two subsurface deployments on board USS ARCHERFISH and USS CITY OF CORPUS CHRISTI. These deployments were in support of Operations PROVIDE PROMISE and SHARP GUARD and also provided tactical cryptologic support to UNPROFOR elements on the ground in both Croatia and Bosnia-Hercegovina. In September 1992, he transferred to the University of Maryland College Park for a two-year assignment in the enlisted Educational Advancement Program. He graduated Magna Cum Laude/Phi Beta Kappa from UMCP in August 1994 with a Bachelor’s Degree in Balkan History and was briefly assigned to the Naval Liaison Office awaiting transfer to NSGA Rota, Spain in December, 1991.

On his arrival in Rota he was assigned as a Serbo-Croatian airborne mission supervisor aboard EP-3 aircraft flying combat reconnaissance mission in support of Operations DENY FLIGHT, SHARP GUARD, JOINT ENDEAVOR and DELIBERATE FORCE.

In November 1995 he was hand-picked by Commander in Chief U.S. Naval Forces Europe, Admiral Leighton Smith, to accompany him to Bosnia-Herzegovina as his personal translator, following the implementation of the Dayton Peace Accords. While in Bosnia, from December 1995 through May 1996, he acted as translator for both the Commander Implementation Force as well as his personal security detachment, conducting multiple forward reconnaissance missions in support of COMIFOR visits, and in one instance, assisting International War Crime Tribunal members in uncovering a Bosnian-Serb torture chamber and mass grave. Following his return from Bosnia in May 1996, he returned to his duties at NSGA Rota, Spain where he flew in the same capacity in support of Operation DELIBERATE GUARD, providing tactical cryptologic support to the multinational Stabilization Force (SFOR) enforcing the peace in Bosnia-Herzegovina.