Harold “Nate” Murphy - Coronado Eagle & Journal | Coronado News | Coronado Island News: Obituaries

Harold “Nate” Murphy

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Posted: Friday, August 23, 2019 4:09 pm

Harold Nathan “Nate” Murphy, CDR, USN retired died peacefully in his sleep in his Coronado home on 8/9/19. He was 101 years old.

Nate was a hero of Guadalcanal, one of the most ferociously fought campaigns of World War II. Twice decorated with the Distinguished Flying Cross for heroism during island- hopping operations in the Solomon Islands, Nate flew over 50 missions in SBDs (dive bombers) against Japanese surface ships, airfields, and land forces. He was one of the few surviving veterans of the “Cactus Air Force.”

Murphy was born on May 29, 1918 in Boston, Massachusetts. He volunteered for service in the Navy’s Aviation Cadet Program on March 15, 1941, and was assigned to USS Wasp (CV-7) which in the Fall of 1941 was escorting troop ships to Guadacanal. On Sept 15, 1942, Nate was flying back to his ship when the Wasp was struck and sunk by a torpedo. His ship in flames, he made an emergency landing on another carrier, then flew to Henderson Field on Guadacanal, also in flames when he arrived. The island had just been captured, and the Japanese were trying desperately to get it back. In those early days, conditions at the Field were horrendous. The Japanese attacked day and night. There were no showers, no hot food, not even a change of clothes. The pilots were exhausted, hungry and racked with malarial fever. Still, when called, they went to their planes and took to the air.

Nate bought his first home in Coronado in 1960 and lived in it ever since. He graduated from San Diego State College in 1965 with an Engineering degree. After his retirement from the Navy, he worked for Convair as an executive pilot, and later worked as an accountant at his son-in-law’s business, ComputerLand.

Nate was preceded in death by his wife of 74 years, Elsie. He is survived by his daughters, Cynthia Murphy of Pacific Beach, Sandy Murphy Dinnsen of La Jolla, his two grandchildren Kelly Dinnsen Posthumus and Brady Dinnsen and his new great grandson, Jax. Both of Nate’s daughters graduated from Coronado High School.

Nate was a fine man, lover of family, God and country. He lived a long and happy life. He will be missed.