Edward N. Murray: Two wars, nine medals

U.S. Navy   World War II and Korean War   Herscher, IL   Flight date: 09/13/17

By Roseann Elliott, Honor Flight Chicago Veteran Interviews Volunteer

Ed Murray, a Long Island, NY native, is proud to be named after his Uncle Ed who served in the Army during WWI. Ed was a senior at Notre Dame when Japan bombed Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941.  Two weeks after Roosevelt declared war on Japan, Ed knew he would be drafted. Given a choice, he would choose the Navy so he enlisted before he could be drafted into the Army. Ed finished his senior year in 1942 and headed to Naval Station Great Lakes in Chicago for his shipment training.  After shipment training Ed left for San Francisco.

On April 23, 1943 Ed was commissioned to the USS Prometheus (AR3) and Noumea, New Caledonia.  As they were leaving San Francisco for their 21-day voyage on a cargo ship, a Japanese attack scud fleet sub tried to get through the nets. Since Ed and the other men were considered only passengers, they were told to “stay out of the way.”  Before the “passengers” knew it, 6 PT Boats blew the subs “out of the water.”

After arriving in New Caledonia Ed’s primary duty was to take ships in and out of port, fix and maintain the ships, and to stand watch.  Ed’s training continued, and in September of 1943 after attending gunnery school, the crew started to make their way back to the USS Prometheus. Unfortunately for them, it had rained very heavily that day, and the clay roads were impassable.  After sliding off the road, their Lieutenant knew they wouldn’t make it back to the ship in time for dinner.  He told the crew about a nearby old farm house that served great French food.  It was there, during dinner that Ed had his most treasured memory of the war.  He was introduced to Admiral Halsey.  During the introduction, Admiral Halsey shook Ed’s hand and said, “take that damn tie off, you’ll be too busy to have time to tie it.”

In September of 1945, 3 days after the war was over, Ed made his way back to his college sweetheart Francis, just in time for her birthday.  Ed and Francis were married that year, and spent the next 58 years together.  June of 1950 brought the birth of their 3rd of 8 children and, unfortunately, the start of the Korean War.  Because of Ed’s experience in WWII, he was put back into commission on the USS Cascade (A20) and headed to South Korea.  In 1951, he was separated from the Navy on a hardship discharge.  

During his years of service, he received 3 bronze service stars, and 2 Presidential Citation medals-  one from the US Secretary of the Navy and the other from the President of the Philippines.  In 2014 while living in Fort Lauderdale, FL, the American Legion presented Ed with a Thanks and Honor medal from the People of Korea.  In the center of the medal is a piece of the barb wire fence that separated North and South Korea.  

Ed is honored to have been chosen to be a part of the 81st flight for Honor Flight Chicago.  

Ed, on behalf of Honor Flight Chicago, thank you for your service.  We hope you have a memorable time in Washington, D.C.