Murphy, Ralph Oliver III
Grove City, PA
U.S. Army – Vietnam
During the Vietnam War, the United States military fought a limited war against an enemy who was fighting an all-out war. The Viet Cong and North Vietnamese Army could cross the international borders with impunity, attacking the U.S. forces in Vietnam from bases in Cambodia and Laos, while our military was prohibited from attacking those bases – at least technically, and at least at first.
From early on, however, Special Forces conducted “black op” raids into Laos and Cambodia with units from the South Vietnamese Army (ARVN – Army of the Republic of Vietnam). As the war progressed, larger units of the American forces themselves crossed the borders to attack enemy strongholds.
A guy named Mike explains why and wherefore on the web site www.armchairgeneral.com/forums:
“It was well known that this area in Cambodia was a NVA sanctuary with vast amounts of stores and bases. The routes they used were known by us as “Adams Trail” and “The Serges Jungle Highway.” One of our responsibilities was to interfere with these as much as possible. The idea was going in with boots on the ground to destroy as much of it as possible to help cover our withdrawal. The anti-war faction had a field day — turning it into a major invasion of another country. It was 99% wilderness as shown and a lot was accomplished. SOG [Studies and Observations Group] had spent a lot of time and effort scouting out that area. . . . My camp was just south and east of the border and we were on the receiving end of a lot of the stuff stored there. It was often safer to be out on recon than in camp.”
Ralph Oliver Murphy III was with them in Cambodia when he died from multiple fragmentation wounds.
Kevin Scanlon, a fellow soldier, wrote on the Vietnam Veterans Memorial web site: “I trained with Ralph @ Ft. Jackson, SC & went to Nam with him in ’70. I didn’t know Ralph real well but was sad to hear when I returned home from Nam & Cambodia that he did not. He was a quiet but very good soldier as I remember in AIT [Advanced Individual Training]. . . . I think about you guys all the time! God Bless you Ralph, you are a Hero.”
Ralph was a 1966 graduate of Grove City High School. He was the first person from Mercer County to be killed in Cambodia.
On the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Panel W10 Line 13