Yellow Ribbon Series: Hugh B. Pearce
Former student Hugh B. Pearce left behind a lasting legacy.
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From Harrisburg to Iraq to Washington
Patrick Murphy

A proud participant in the Yellow Ribbon GI Bill Program, Widener Law is committed to providing a positive learning environment to the dedicated service members of the United States armed forces. The Yellow Ribbon series highlights the students, faculty, and programs that connect the Widener Law community with the brave veterans who have served their country so admirably.

Congressman Patrick J. Murphy, a 1999 graduate of Widener Law’s Harrisburg campus, represents the people of Pennsylvania’s 8th congressional district in the U.S. House of Representatives, continuing a legacy of service he began with his time in the Army.

While at Widener Law, Congressman Murphy participated in the Trial Advocacy Honor Society and was the President of the St. Thomas More Society. Of his time at Widener Patrick says, “Although it was a large law school, my professors always took the time to give me the personal attention and direction needed to better develop the skills necessary to succeed in our profession.”

In 2000, Murphy went on active duty, teaching constitutional law and military law at West Point. After the events of September 11, 2001, he volunteered to serve overseas, serving first in Tuzla, Bosnia-Herzegovina and then in Iraq from 2003 to 2004. A Captain in the United States Army Judge Advocate General's Corps, he was awarded the Bronze Star for his service in Operation Iraqi Freedom as the Regimental Judge Advocate for the 3,500 elite paratroopers in the 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division in Baghdad, Iraq.

As the coalition forces attorney for the 1.5 million people in the Al Rashid sector of Baghdad, he ensured the justice system was operating and effective, to include two courthouses and four police stations, and served as the de facto chairman of the District Advisory Council legal subcommittee. Additionally, he prosecuted three high-profile cases in Iraqi's newly established Central Criminal Court, trained hundreds of citizens for the Iraqi Civil Defense Corps, and prosecuted 18 courts-martial.

His awards include; the Bronze Star, an Army Commendation Medal, three Army Achievement Medals, two National Defense Medals, the Army Expeditionary Medal, the NATO Medal for the former Yugoslavia, the Parachutist Badge, the Air Assault Badge, the German Armed Forces Proficiency Badge (Gold Standard), and the Service Ribbon.

Congressman Murphy became the first veteran of the Iraq War to serve in Congress when he was sworn in on January 4, 2007. He serves on the House Armed Services Committee and also on the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence. Congressman Murphy will be the 2009 graduation speaker for both the Harrisburg and Delaware campuses of Widener Law.