Tanner Murray is attending the University of North Carolina at Wilmington. He is majoring in Marine Biology with an emphasis on conservation. He also intends to minor in sustainability. When he graduates from UNC-W, he plans to work in ocean and beach conservation.
When Tanner was four years old, his father was injured by multiple improvised explosive devices in Ar Ramadi, Iraq during his third deployment in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF). Tanner has spent all but two years of his life close to either the Pacific or Atlantic Oceans and has developed a genuine love for the water. His decision to pursue a degree in Marine Biology started when he was in middle school and has not waivered. When he was a sophomore at the Onslow Early College High School, Tanner planned, organized, and executed a beach cleanup in which he had 75 volunteer participants clean a stretch of the beach spanning several miles. In the planning of this event, he personally went to all of the local small businesses for sponsorship of prizes used as a raffle at the end of the event. In addition to this support, his cleanup was supported with prizes from “4Ocean” and gear and assistance from the local chapter of the Surfrider Foundation.
Tanner voluntarily manages the audio/visual and streaming at his church on Wednesdays and Sundays. He accumulated well over 150 hours of community service throughout his high school years, while maintaining a 4.0 grade point average and earning his associate degree in Biology upon graduation from high school. Tanner graduated as the Salutatorian from his high school class and Summa Cum Laude from the Coastal Carolina Community College. He graduated from high school on a Friday night and the very next morning he graduated from Coastal Community College with his associate degree in biology.
Tanner’s father, Marine Major Mikeal S. Murray, ret. was serving with 1st Air Naval Gunfire Liaison Company (ANGLICO) attached to 101st Airborne in Ramadi, Iraq in 2005-2006, where he was directly affected by twelve IEDs within a four-month period, the last two of which resulted in medical evacuation. He sustained shrapnel wounds to his right lower leg and ankle, shattering his tibia and fibula. He was evacuated through Germany to Andrews AFB and eventually to Camp Pendleton Naval Hospital, where the last of seven reconstructive surgeries on his leg were performed. He would deploy once more to Iraq and twice to Afghanistan before the impacts of his injuries forced him to retire as a result of severe nerve damage, spinal damage to his neck and back, multiple TBIs, and hearing loss.
He was awarded the Purple Heart and the Army Commendation Medal for the work that he did in support of Army units during his deployment. Though this deployment ended in injury, he says that it was the most rewarding and he would go back tomorrow if he could.
Mikeal says, “The NGS Scholarship has been such a blessing to our family. First, his older brother Tyler received the scholarship, and now Tanner is the recipient of the generosity and care that the NGS team and the many donors provide to so many families. It is the selfless efforts of these people that make it possible for Tanner and countless others to pursue their dreams through education and training.”
NGS would like to thank the Johnny Mac Soldiers Fund in supporting Tanner to reach his dreams.