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Veteran Spotlight: Jim Murphy, U.S. Marines

Veteran Spotlight on Jim Murphy USMC

Today we are spotlighting Central Coast Veteran, Jim Murphy.

Jim served in the US Marine Corps, 1st Marine Division, Korea and Vietnam from 1951 to 1971, completing his service as a Major. He was a “jack of all trades” with a long and storied military career starting as an enlistee Diesel Mechanic, progressing through positions of responsibility related to engineering, logistics, supply, and training instructor to name a few.

After serving 13 months in Korea, Jim received a direct commission to Second Lieutenant. Later, Jim was the only Marine on the Attack Transport Ship USS Henrico (APA-45), assigned as the Combat Cargo Officer and qualifying as Officer of the Deck while on board. Jim served In Vietnam for 14 months as an Assistant Division Engineer. After twenty years as a marine, and slotted for second deployment to Vietnam, he retired to care for his ailing parents. He completed his military career at 20 years and 26 days.

After working at Leisure World and pursuing a college degree, Jim became Director of Facilities for the seventh largest school district in California. Nine years later, he moved to the Central Coast for a faculty position at Cal Poly in what was then the College of Engineering. Jim retired from the College of Business at Cal Poly after thirteen years.

Jim’s wife of 58 years, Myra Wallace Murphy, was also a veteran, serving as a Navy WAVE and at one time out-ranked Jim. They met in 1956 while he was attending Naval Justice School. Myra delivered twins while on active duty (a first!) and left the Navy shortly after the birth.
While stationed in Korea working as a mechanic, the platoon commander approached Jim and asked him if he could type? It just so happened Jim took typing in high school, and he was a better speller than the Lieutenant. This led to a temporary commission as 2nd Lieutenant. When he came back to Camp Pendleton as a staff sergeant, he was awarded a temp commission as 2nd Lieutenant at age 20.

While reflecting on his military career, he noted a lack of counsel from his senior officers leading to missed opportunities. Jim used this as a life lesson to regularly counsel his subordinates in his civilian work life. This forged a respect and friendship with his employees lasting far into his years of retirement.

Post military life, Jim belonged to two chapters: Military Order of the World Wars (MOWW) as the most recent commander and a member and officer of the local chapter of the Military Officers Association.

Thank you for your service.

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Veteran Spotlight U.S. Army Veteran Don Mueller

Don Mueller

The Museum has launched a new social media series, Central Coast Veterans Memorial Museum. This series supports our continued efforts to honor and remember our local veterans, with a focus on the job(s) they performed while in service. Check it out:

Today we will be spotlighting Don Mueller. Don served in the U.S. Army from 1954 to 1957.

“My military service taught me a number of things that served me well in civilian life. A strong sense of responsibility, self-discipline, and living up to my commitments.”

Mueller served in Mannheim, Germany with the 2nd Armored Division, from June 1955 until June 1957. The last year of the German occupation was in 1955, after WW2. He worked on tanks as a turret artillery repairman. He repaired all functions of the tank turret, including removing and replacing worn gun tubes.

He was assigned temporary duty to the British zone in northern Germany, sent to assist in the 7th Army tank gunnery exercises. The British base was on the site of the former Nazi extermination camp Bergen-Belsen where he saw some very disturbing sights.

In the fall of 1956, during the Hungarian uprising against the Soviet Union, the 2nd Armored Division was alerted for possible movement to the Czech border to support the Hungarians. This did not end up happening.

Mueller retired from the Army in 1957, with the rank of Corporal. He was awarded the German Occupation Medal, Overseas Service Medal, and Good Conduct Medal.

After his service Don went to work and owned a retail business in San Luis Obispo for many years. Mueller has been a volunteer with the Central Coast Veterans Memorial Museum for the past 15 years. He is a member of the 2nd Armored Division Association and American Legion Post #66 in San Luis Obispo.

Thank you Don for your service!