TribLIVE

| Home


Weather Forecast
 
Larger text Larger text Smaller text Smaller text | Order Photo Reprints

Pittsburgher in key position on destroyer crew

About Craig Smith
Picture Craig Smith 412-380-5646
Staff Reporter
Tribune-Review

Daily Photo Galleries


By Craig Smith

Published: Saturday, Oct. 6, 2012, 12:01 a.m.

A Perry Traditional Academy graduate who joined the U.S. Navy in 1991 will be the most senior enlisted sailor on a destroyer to be commissioned Saturday in Manhattan.

Command Master Chief Matthew E. Danforth has joined the crew of the USS Michael Murphy.

The new guided missile destroyer honors Lt. Michael P. Murphy, a Navy SEAL posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor for his actions in combat as leader of a four-man reconnaissance team in Afghanistan.

Murphy, who attended Penn State University, was killed June 28, 2005, during a fierce gun battle near Asadabad, Afghanistan.

Danforth will be the primary liaison between commissioned officers and 290 enlisted sailors.

He almost left the Navy after his first assignment at the Naval Station in Sigonella, Sicily, but said he plans to serve another 15 years.

“I lost a lot of friends to drugs, drive-by shootings,” he said. “I was about 60 days from getting out and my dad said, ‘What will you come back to?'”

He stayed in and now hopes to serve on an aircraft carrier or in Washington.

The commissioning of the destroyer will be exciting.

“It will be the moment we bring the Murphy to life,” he said.

Danforth and the crew have been treated like royalty in New York, attending Broadway shows and ringing the bell on the New York Stock Exchange.

He participated in the “Shock and Awe” campaign against Baghdad and served two 7th Fleet deployments in the South China Sea.

But underneath, he remains a Pittsburgher. “I bleed black and gold,” he said.

Danforth also served on the USS Lake Erie, the USS O'Kane; and at the Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard and Intermediate Maintenance Facility.

A graduate of the Navy Senior Enlisted Academy (Class 134 Blue) in Newport, R.I. , he holds an associate in arts degree from Chaminade University, a Catholic university in Honolulu.

He has received the Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal (three awards), Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal (three awards), Enlisted Surface Warfare Insignia, and numerous campaign awards.

Craig Smith is a reporter for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-380-5646 or csmith@tribweb.com.

 

 
 


Show commenting policy

Most-Read Stories

  1. Maatta not a top rookie finalist
  2. Indictment alleges scheme defrauded government of $10 million
  3. Pa. men to plead guilty to smuggling equipment to Middle East
  4. Steeler testifies he didn’t know he was stabbed at first
  5. Penguins insider: Malkin found confidence in Game 3
  6. Former Steelers doctor claims agent held gun on him during pat down
  7. Switch in pairings helps Penguins defensemen find groove in Game 3
  8. ‘Save Chatham’ protesters ordered to leave Shadyside campus
  9. State College restaurant plans new statue of Joe Paterno
  10. Highmark’s insurance profit falls 40%
  11. Kittanning man part of wrestling show benefitting Ford City Summerfest
Subscribe today! Click here for our subscription offers.