Special Forces Sergeant Major Joe Murray passed away on December 23 and will be laid to rest today at the Sandhills State Veterans Cemetery in Spring Lake, NC.

SGM Murray spent 30 years in the service of the US Army, with the vast majority of it being as a Green Beret in the Special Forces. Murray served from 1962 – 1992 and at the time of his retirement was the School Sergeant Major for the USA JFK SWC (US Army John F. Kennedy Special Warfare Center and School).

Murray went to Korea in 1962-63 and then to West Germany where he was in the 3rd Armored Division as a 106mm Recoilless Rifle Gunner and an 81mm mortar section leader from 1964-66.

He joined Special Forces in 1966 and after graduation was assigned to the 5th Special Forces Group (5th SFG) in Vietnam. There as the Intelligence Sergeant, he assigned to the 4th Corps Mike Force as an Airboat Section Leader, Reconnaissance Team Leader, Indigenous Company Commander, and Battalion Commander.

After returning to the US in 1968, Murray joined the 6th SFG as the team sergeant of a HALO Team (High Altitude Low Opening, military free-fall parachutists)  and went on several missions to the Middle East, the Far East and in Europe. It was in 1970 that Murray along with about 100 other men volunteered for a dangerous mission that they didn’t know the destination or the actual mission.

Murray was one of the 56 Special Forces soldiers that were selected, and who flew from Thailand thru one of the most heavily defended air corridors in the world at that time outside of Hanoi, North Vietnam. There they assaulted the POW camp at Son Tay. The Raiders, however, found a dry hole. An intelligence failure doomed the mission to failure.

The prisoners were moved to another camp a few miles away due to a flood in their prison compound. Murray was wounded in the action and was awarded the Silver Star. All of the Americans were able to assault the compound, neutralize about 200 Vietnamese and Chinese troops, and successfully exfil without losing a man.