b. 10/12/1946 Bronx County, New York. d. 07/06/1970 near Hiep Duc, Vietnam.
DATE OF MOH ACTION: 07/06/1970 near Hiep Duc, Vietnam.
One of six children in a devout Catholic family, Murray spent his early years on Marion Avenue in the Bronx, a stone’s throw from the Rose Hill campus. As a child, he went to Mass and grammar school at Our Lady of Mercy Church, an old parish whose first home was Fordham’s own University Church. Soon Murray was making the short trek down Fordham Road to Fordham Prep, where he served as a class officer all four years and graduated with honors in 1964. He went on to study at Fordham College at Rose Hill, earning a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1968. Murray entered Harvard Business School the following year, but left early to join the Army. At a dinner in his honor before he left for training, he told a friend that he wanted to be as prepared as possible for his service in Vietnam, and that he thought he could make a difference.
Though he had the option to join a non-combat unit, Murray chose to volunteer for Ranger combat training. On June 7, 1970, Staff Sergeant Murray was serving as a squad leader with Company B, searching for enemy mortar near the village of Hiep Duc in Vietnam. When a member of the squad tripped an enemy grenade rigged as a booby trap, Murray shouted for his men to take cover. “Instantly assessing the danger to the men of his squad,” his Medal of Honor citation reads, “Staff Sgt. Murray unhesitatingly and with complete disregard for his own safety, threw himself on the grenade absorbing the full and fatal impact of the explosion. By his gallant action, he prevented the death or injury of the other members of his squad.”
Vice President Gerald R. Ford presented the Medal of Honor to Murray’s family at Blair House in Washington, D.C., in August 1974. “It was just like Bob to die for his men,” his mother said at the time. “He was always so worried about them.” Murray was also posthumously awarded the Purple Heart. He was inducted into the Fordham University ROTC Hall of Fame in 2014, and his name is inscribed on the Vietnam War Memorial in the University Church.
S/Sgt. Murray distinguished himself while serving as a squad leader with Company B. S/Sgt. Murray’s squad was searching for an enemy mortar that had been threatening friendly positions when a member of the squad tripped an enemy grenade rigged as a booby trap. Realizing that he had activated the enemy booby trap, the soldier shouted for everybody to take cover. Instantly assessing the danger to the men of his squad, S/Sgt. Murray unhesitatingly and with complete disregard for his own safety threw himself on the grenade absorbing the full and fatal impact of the explosion. By his gallant action and self sacrifice, he prevented the death or injury of the other members of his squad. S/Sgt. Murray’s extraordinary courage and gallantry, at the cost of his life above and beyond the call to duty, are in keeping with the highest traditions of the military service and reflect great credit on him, his unit, and the U.S. Army.
BURIAL LOCATION: GATE OF HEAVEN CEMETERY, HAWTHORNE, NEW YORK.
SECTION 43, LOT 6A, GRAVE 9.
LOCATION OF MEDAL: FAMILY.