ROWLAND M. MURPHY, 2LT, USMC

From USNA Virtual Memorial Hall

Lucky Bag

Rowland is listed in the 1950 Lucky Bag with “Those We Left Behind.”

Memorial Hall Error

2nd Lieutenant Rowland Max Murphy, USMC, non-graduate from class of 1950, was not killed in action in Korea, nor was he lost in any operational incident. He passed away in Florida in 2009, at age 81. Thus far, he is the only proven "false positive" identified in Memorial Hall.

From an email from Mrs. Timothy Woodbury, Memorial Affairs at the USNA Alumni Association, on May 11, 2017:

From the Archives: "DOB and place of birth match his Oath of Office. Parents names also match Personal Data Sheet."

Looks like we have a match and I will update him here in our records. He did NOT die in Korea.

From the National Archives and via the POW Network, a summary of Max's service shows he served in the Marines through 1967 and attained the rank of Major. Ten years later he entered the Army reserve, and then in 1979 became a member of the National Guard (state not given) until November 1985.

Capture and Release

Rowland was captured by the North Koreans "a little more than a month after he arrived in Korea" on May 7, 1952. He was held for 16 months until his release on September 2, 1953. He died, having served as a Major in both the USMC and Army, in 2009; he is buried in Arlington National Cemetery. (Middle name is known from the Memorial Hall KIA panel.)

Marines.mil mentions 2LT Rowland M. Murphy in "US Marine Operations In Korea". The context is of a POW camp at the close of hostilities.

Camden News (Arkansas) reported his release — and used his full name — on September 7, 1953.

The Naval Academy Register of 1946-1947, page 115, lists Rowland Max Murphy, of Arkansas, Class of 1950, as having been admitted on July 3, 1946. His age at date of admission is listed as 18 years 8 months; this aligns with Rowland's birthday of November 5, 1927.

From Daytona Beach News-Journal on September 27, 2009:

Rowland Max Murphy, 81, DeLand, passed away on September 25, 2009. He was born November 5, 1927 in Prescott, Arkansas to Henry C. and Elgie Robins Murphy. He is survived by his wife of 55 years, Mary C. Murphy, his children: son, Patrick Murphy and wife, Suzanne of Florence, KY; daughter, Cathy Murphy of Anderson, SC; daughter, Regina Ryan and husband, Mark of Smithfied, NC; and son, Mark Murphy and wife, Lourdes of Deltona, FL; and sister-in-law, Neoma Murphy of Nashville, Arkansas; as well as eight granddaughters and a great grandson. Rowland graduated from Ole Miss with a degree in Civil Engineering and then served in the Marine Corps for 14 years. He fought in the Korean War, was wounded, captured and held a Prisoner of War for 13 months by the Chinese. He also had a career as an engineer with the Department of Defense designing and testing military equipment. Rowland was devoted to his family and his home. Woodworking and yard work were favorite pastimes. He was a member and usher at Trinity United Methodist Church for many years. He was an avid golfer, and a long term member of DeLand country Club. Always good with numbers and a great organizer, he enjoyed assisting individuals with tax preparation through the VITA Program. He also enjoyed investing and was a member of the Royal Tees investment club. A Southern Gentleman, Rowland had a unique ability to make those around him feel loved and valued. A Memorial Service will be held on Monday, September 28 at 1:30 pm at Trinity United Methodist Church with the Reverend John Campbell officiating. Burial will take place at Arlington National Cemetery at a later date. Lankford Funeral Home is in charge.

It appears that his wife is 87 years old and living in Florida. Relatives are listed as Lourdes Villarez Murphy and Mark Alan Murphy. Emailed Mark at two different email addresses on 2017.04.17… turns out it was the wrong Mark.

USNA 1950 lists him as "Killed in action, Korean War 1953."

There is no record of any similarly-named serviceman of any service killed in Korea who could have been mistaken for Rowland, or whose name could have been misspelled in a likely way.


Class of 1950

Rowland is one of 35 members of the Class of 1950 in Memorial Hall.