Former soldier returns to Fort Drum, remembers fallen friend

Updated: Jul. 24, 2019 at 2:57 PM EDT
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WATERTOWN, N.Y. (WWNY) - Eight years ago this month, Captain Jake Murphy lost both his legs after an improvised explosive device blew up in Afghanistan. The Purple Heart and Bronze Star recipient was back on Fort Drum Wednesday walking in Memorial Park looking for a name: First Lieutenant Tim Steele.

“Tim Steele was a friend of mine of school at West Point, a classmate, we went through ranger, airborne together. We were the first ones to get up to Drum from Bennings. My son’s middle name is Steele after him,” said Murphy.

Steele was a Fort Drum solider killed in Afghanistan in 2011.

“I’m glad he wasn’t a forgotten person. He literally took my position when I got hurt, so I got hurt, he got pulled from a different company for what I got brought in for to do. And for him to die a month later, it’s hard for me,” said Murphy.

Murphy also went to talk to some soldiers from the 2nd Battalion, 87th infantry. A picture of Steele hangs on the wall in one of their training areas.

Murphy says being back on post near the anniversary of his injury is, “Tough, but also I’m grateful that I can walk around and see those names because I could easily be one of the names on that list.”

Being a bilateral amputee hasn’t stopped Murphy.

“I’ve done wounded warrior events, I’ve done hand cycling, I hand cycled marathons, I went sit skiing. The Gary Sinise Foundation honored me with a home,” he said.

Murphy says there are too many names on the plaques in the park, but he is glad that fallen Fort Drum Soldiers will be remembered forever.

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