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Supporting Our Veterans

Actor Sean Murray’s Commitment to Honoring the Military on TV and in Real Life


Even though actor Sean Murray didn’t serve in the military, he knows the meaning of service and sacrifice; his father served 30 years in the U.S. Navy before retiring as a naval officer.

“The service that people give and the selflessness that’s involved is just unbelievable,” said Murray, who has played senior field agent Timothy McGee on “NCIS” for nearly 20 years. “I just have nothing but support for the military, military families, and veterans.”


Murray was born in Bethesda Naval Hospital and grew up on bases including Alameda and Coronado. His family also spent time in Singapore and Australia.

His father, Cpt. Craig Harland Murray, enlisted, but the whole family served and supported the mission. “If someone is in the military, the family is in the military,” Sean Murray said.

He remembers being 10 years old and taking a “tiger cruise” with his dad. His father was the commanding officer of the Enterprise aircraft carrier. Officers’ sons over age 10 got to fly to Hawaii and spend five days on the carrier as it was coming back to port. 

“It was the most amazing experience ever,” Murray said. “I’ll never forget it.”

He also remembers his dad’s long deployments. In 1990, he was looking forward to seeing his father after a seven-month deployment in the Middle East. Then the Persian Gulf War started and the deployment was further extended. In total, he didn’t see his father for a year and a half.

“I remember watching CNN and seeing the speeches of Saddam Hussein saying, ‘the streets will run red with the blood of the U.S. servicemen,’” he said. “I remember hearing those sorts of things. That’s hardcore stuff.”

Hard work

Murray credits his father’s influence for making him a hard worker

“I learned a tremendous work ethic from my dad,” he said, noting his father served on the Nimitz, the Enterprise, the Reedy, and the Vincennes. “I have a very strong work ethic and I wouldn’t have that if it wasn’t for my father and his qualities.”

He says that in recent years, he sees more people thanking service members and veterans for their service, but more needs to be done to show gratitude. 

Murray supports veterans’ organizations, including the USO and Blue Star Families. He’s often humbled to meet veterans, including when he attended a 2017 event in Washington, D.C. and sat with representatives from the Military Order of the Purple Heart. The organization gave him a coin, which he still has.


The actor, who’s married and has two kids, lives in Los Angeles, where NCIS shoots. His wife’s parents are also Navy veterans. He’s honored to star in a show that honors the military. 

“Even though we’re policing the Navy and Marines and finding some of the bad seeds,” he said, “we rightfully, I think, paint the military in a really nice light, as it should be.”

The same way Murray respects his dad’s career, he says his father is proud of him and respects his work in Hollywood. 

“When the show first started, we would talk about things like how I would clear a room and my approach with firearms,” he said. “He’d be like, ‘Oh, you’re getting good with the gun, I can tell.”

The CBS show was the highest-rated series on all of television during 2019-20. Murray’s technical advisor is a former NCIS agent. For his role, he also received training at a Federal Law Enforcement Training Center in Brunswick, Ga.

NCIS has shot over 430 episodes and has tackled many topics that impact service members and veterans, including post traumatic stress disorder and service member isolation after service

There are more stories to tell and Murray is honored to tell them. He says fans of the show say it’s authentic.

“They know that our show supports the military like nobody’s business,” he said.

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