He’d wanted to serve his country since the day we all know now as 9/11, and Etienne J. Murphy was just 6 years old at the time.
“I remember everything,” Murphy would say years later. “That was life-changing.”
And so in June 2013, Murphy took steps to do exactly that. He enlisted in the U.S. Army.
On May 25, SPC Murphy, of Snellville, died during a non-tactical vehicle rollover in the vicinity of northern Syria, serving his country, the Army announced. He was 22.
He was an Infantryman assigned to Bravo Company, 1st Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment at Georgia’s Hunter Army Airfield. Murphy was on his first deployment since joining the military out of South Gwinnett High School, Robert Bockholt of Army special operations command said in a news release.
He completed infantry training at Fort Benning before heading to Fort Drum, N.Y., where he was assigned to 2nd Battalion, 22nd Infantry Regiment, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division.
A native of Boston, Murphy volunteered to serve with the 75th Ranger Regiment in October 2015 and attended the Basic Airborne Course and Ranger Assessment and Selection Program 1.
After graduation from these courses, Murphy served as an anti-tank gunner.
Murphy was posthumously awarded the Army Commendation Medal.
He was once of nearly a dozen South Gwinnett JROTC students featured in a 9/11 anniversary story in 2012 in Snellville Patch who recalled their school being on lockdown during the tragedy.
The cadets manned a booth that day, where they sought to educate fellow students about the events of 9/11 and the meaning of Patriot Day.