BISMARCK, N.D. — Retired Maj. Gen. C. Emerson Murry passed away on Aug. 29 at age 86 at his Bismarck home. Murry, a World War II Veteran, served as adjutant general of the North Dakota National Guard from 1975 to 1984.
“A dedicated patriot, C. Emerson Murry served his state and nation in uniform during wartime and during peacetime for more than 30 years,” said Maj. Gen. David Sprynczynatyk, North Dakota adjutant general.
In 1942, Murry interrupted his college studies to enlist in the U.S. Army during World War II and served as an infantryman in the European theater with the 17th and 82nd Airborne Divisions. He participated in several major campaigns, to include the Battle of the Bulge in 1944. After Germany’s surrender, he performed occupation duty in Berlin. Upon returning to the United States in 1946, he participated in the New York City WWII Victory Parade before receiving a discharge as a sergeant and returning home to North Dakota.
He immediately resumed his studies, graduating from the University of North Dakota in 1950 with a Juris Doctor degree. As an attorney, he served as head of the North Dakota Legislative Council in 1951, a position he held for more than 25 years. In 1955, he joined the North Dakota National Guard as a Judge Advocate General officer, serving in positions of increasing responsibility until his appointment to adjutant general by then Gov. Arthur A. Link.
During his tenure as adjutant general in 1983, the North Dakota National Guard boasted a membership rate of 124% of authorized strength.
“Under his watch, the North Dakota National Guard grew into a premier organization that led the nation in recruitment and retention,” said Sprynczynatyk. “Maj. Gen. Murry also recognized the importance of Camp Grafton near Devils Lake and worked hard to develop it into a first rate training facility.”
Murry’s efforts led to the construction of the 800-person barracks and readiness center at the Camp as well as securing additional maneuver training area to the south. The firing range complex at Camp Grafton South is named for him because of his initiative and vision in developing a much needed area for Guardsmen to fire and train with their weapons.
“In addition to his military service, Maj. Gen. Murry served the citizens of North Dakota for more than four decades in several key positions,” Sprynczynatyk added. “He was a mentor and trusted advisor to me and so many others, and was truly dedicated to a life of public service. Our entire National Guard family mourns his passing.”
After retiring from the North Dakota National Guard in 1984, Murry served as director of the Garrison Conservancy District until 1993. He was an active member of the North Dakota Bar Association, past commander of Veteran of Foreign Wars (VFW), Gilbert N. Nelson Post #1326, Bismarck, associate member of the Conference of Commissioners on Uniform State Laws and received many awards for his leadership contributions from a wide spectrum of civilian and military organizations.
In his last public appearance on Memorial Day, he delivered the keynote speech at the North Dakota Veterans Cemetery highlighting the service of World War II veterans. This speech was so popular that it was published in the North Dakota National Guard’s Guardian magazine the following month.
Murry is a graduate of the U.S. Army War College, Command and General Staff College and the Judge Advocate General Reserve Components General Staff Course. His military decorations include the Combat Infantry Badge, Glider Badge, Distinguished Service Medal, Legion of Merit, Bronze Star Medal (with “V” device for valor), American Defense Service Medal, Army of Occupation Medal, European-African Middle Eastern Campaign Medal, World War II Victory Medal, Presidential Unit Citation, Belgian Fourragère, and Netherlands Orange Lanyard.
Services will be held Sept. 2 at 10:30 a.m. at Trinity Lutheran Church, Bismarck. Interment will follow at 2 p.m. at the North Dakota Veterans Cemetery. Full military honors will be rendered by the North Dakota National Guard Military Funeral Honors Team and the VFW Post #1326.
Since the 2001 terrorist attacks on America, the North Dakota National Guard has mobilized more than 3,500 Soldiers and more than 1,800 Airmen in support of the Global War on Terrorism. Currently, about 150 North Dakota Guardsmen are serving overseas while more than 4,000 remain in the state for emergency response and national defense. For every 10,000 citizens in North Dakota, 52 serve in the North Dakota National Guard, a rate that’s more than four times the national average.