Colonel Murtha was born in New Martinsville, WV January 30 1961. He graduated from Orrville High School in Orrville, OH in 1979, and subsequently attended the Naval Academy Prep School in Newport, RI. Upon completion of Prep School, Col. Murtha entered the United States Naval Academy and graduated with the Class of 1984.
While awaiting flight school, Col. Murtha was attached to the Marine Corps Command and Staff College as an Intel Officer. In September 1985, he reported to Pensacola, Florida to begin Naval Flight training. He was designated a Naval Aviator in March 1987. Upon completion of Flight School, Col. Murtha reported for duty at HMT-204 for Basic Helicopter training in the CH-46 Sea Knight. In August 1987, he reported aboard HMM-261 “Raging Bulls” for his first fleet tour (Assistant Operations Officer, Flight Equipment, and Quality Assurance Officer). After completing two Mediterranean cruises (one contingency: Operation Sharp Edge) and a Desert Shield/Storm deployment, Col. Murtha reported to HMT-204 as the Aviation Maintenance Officer and Instructor Pilot in July of 1991.
In June 1993, Col. Murtha was transferred to the Amphibious Warfare School, Quantico, VA. Upon completion of school in June 1994, he reported to 2d Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion, Camp Lejeune, N.C. as a Forward Air Controller/ Battalion Air Officer. In October 1995, Col. Murtha reported to HMM-365 as the Operations Officer and finished his tour with the “Blue Knights” as the Maintenance Officer. While with HMM-365, he participated in two contingencies: Operations Silver Wake and Guardian Retrieval.
During August 1998, he attended the Marine Corps Command and Staff College in Quantico, VA. After graduation in June 1999, he was assigned to Aviation Plans, Policy, Budget, and Joint Matters at HQMC as an action officer for the KC-130J program. Colonel Murtha was transferred to HMM-164 for refresher training in August of 2001. In October 2001, Col. Murtha was assigned to Marine Aircraft Group 29 as the Headquarters Squadron Commanding Officer. May 10, 2002 Col. Murtha assumed command of HMM-365 and took the “Blue Knights’ to combat during OIF 1. On the return trip home Col. Murtha’s squadron supported POTUS’s summit in Sharm al Shiek, Egypt and subsequently was designated the ACE for II MEB for the evacuation of the U.S. embassy in Liberia. Upon completion of his command tour in Nov of 2003 he was assigned Director of Aircrew Training Systems for 2nd MAW in order to stand up the first Marine Aircrew Training Systems Squadron (MATSS) for the Marine Corps. Col. Murtha attended the National War College during the academic year 04-05. Colonel Murtha holds a BS degree in Applied Science from the United States Naval Academy and a Masters in National Security Strategy Studies from the National War College.
Colonel Murtha’s personal decorations are the Defense Superior Service Medal, Legion of Merit, Bronze Star, Meritorious Service Medal: Gold star in lieu of second award, Air Medal w/Strike 5 and Navy Marine Corps Commendation Medal: Gold star in lieu of second award.
Upon completion of NWC, Col. Murtha served as a Special Assistant to the Commander United States European Command/Supreme Allied Commander Europe (Gen. Jim Jones/Gen. John Craddock) from June of 05 to July of 08. Colonel Murtha just departed HQMC as the Deputy Legislative Assistant to the Commandant of the Marine Corps.--