Audie Murphy (Little Texas) 16 years old

zaraster

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Audie L. Murphy
June 20, 1925(1925-06-20) – May 28, 1971 (aged 46)

Audie Murphy, the most decorated soldier of World War II Place of birth Kingston, Texas
Place of death Brush Mountain near Catawba or Roanoke, Virginia
Allegiance United States of America
Service/branch United States Army
Years of service 1942–1945 (US Army)
1950–1966 (Texas National Guard)
Rank First Lieutenant (USA), Major (TNG)
Battles/wars World War II: Sicily (July 1943), Salerno, Anzio, Rome, France: Operation Anvil-Dragoon (Aug. 1944), Holtzwihr (Jan. 1945)[1]
Awards Medal of Honor
Distinguished Service Cross
Silver Star (2)
Legion of Merit
Bronze Star (2)
Purple Heart (3)
French Legion of Honor[1]
French Croix de Guerre (+ Palm)[1]
Belgian Croix de Guerre 1940 Palm[1]
Other work actor, songwriter, horseracing, oil
Also see: Audie Murphy legacy.
Audie Leon Murphy (June 20, 1925 – May 28, 1971)[2] was an American soldier in World War II, who later became an actor, appearing in 44 American films.[2] He also found success as a country music composer.

In 27 months of combat action in World War II, Murphy became the most decorated United States combat soldier in United States military history.[2][3] He received the Medal of Honor, the U.S. military's highest award for valor, along with 32 additional U.S. medals,[2][3]five from France, and one from Belgium.[1][2][4]

Murphy had a successful movie career, including the extremely popular To Hell and Back (1955), based on his memoir of the same name (1949),[3] and starred in 33 Hollywood Westerns. He died in a plane crash in 1971[3] and was interred, with full military honors,[3] in ArlingtonNationalCemetery. His is the second most-visited gravesite, after that of President John F. Kennedy.[3][4][1]


[edit] Biography

[edit] Early life
He was born in Texas,[2][5] to Emmett Berry and Josie Bell Murphy (née Killian) who was of Irish descent,[5][6] poor sharecroppers,[3][5] and grew up on farms between Farmersville and Greenville, as well as near Celeste, Texas (Hunt County).[2] Murphy was the sixth of twelve children,[6][5] nine of whom survived until the age of eighteen.[1][5] His brothers and sisters included Corinne, Charles Emmett (Buck), Vernon, June, Oneta, J.W., Richard, Eugene, Nadine, Billie, and Joseph Murphy. He went to school in Celeste until the eighth grade,[5] when he dropped out to help support his family (his father deserted them in 1936), working for a dollar a day, plowing and picking cotton on any farm that would hire him.[5] He became very skilled with a rifle, hunting small game to help feed the family.[1] One of his favorite hunting companions was neighbor Dial Henley who noticed that young Audie never missed when he shot at squirrels, rabbits, or birds. When that was pointed out to him, Murphy remarked, "Well, Dial, if I don't hit what I shoot at, my family won't eat today." During the 1930s Murphy worked at a combination general store/garage and filling station in Greenville, Texas.[2][5] At sixteen he was working in a radio repair shop when his mother died[2][5] on May 23, 1941. Later that year, in agreement with his older sister, Corrinne, Murphy was forced to place his three youngest siblings in an orphanage[5] to ensure their care (he reclaimed them after World War II).


[edit] Enlistment
After the attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, Murphy (then just 16 years old) tried to enlist in the military, but the services rejected him for being underage.[4] In June 1942, shortly after his 17th birthday (sister Corrine adjusted his birth date so he appeared to be 18 and legally allowed to enlist, and his war memoirs, To Hell and Back, maintained this misinformation, leading to later confusion and contradictory statements as to his year of birth), Murphy was accepted into the United States Army,[3][4] at Greenville,[6] after being turned down by the Marines and the paratroopers for being too short (5'5"/1.65 m)[2] and of slight build.[3][4] He was sent to Camp Wolters, Texas, for basic training[1][6] and during a session of close order drill, passed out. His company commander tried to have him transferred to a cook and bakers' school[5] because of his baby-faced youthfulness, but Murphy insisted on becoming a combat soldier. His wish was granted: after 13 weeks of basic training,[5] he was sent to Fort Meade, Maryland for advanced infantry training.[1][6]


[edit] Battles
Murphy still had to "fight the system" to get overseas and into combat. His persistence paid off, and in early 1943 he was shipped out to Casablanca, Morocco as a replacement in Company B, 1st Battalion, 15th Infantry Regiment (United States), 3rd Infantry Division.[4] Murphy saw no action in Africa, but instead participated in extensive training maneuvers along with the rest of the 3rd Division. His combat initiation finally came when he took part in the liberation of Sicily on July 10, 1943.[1][4] Shortly after arriving, Murphy was promoted to corporal[1] after killing two Italian officers as they tried to escape on horseback. He contracted malaria[2][5] while in Sicily, an illness which put him in the hospital several times during his Army years.[5]

After Sicily was secured from the Germans, the 3rd Division invaded the Italian mainland, landing near Salerno[1] in September 1943.[4] While leading a night patrol, Murphy and his men ran into German soldiers but fought their way out of an ambush, taking cover in a rock quarry.[1] The German command sent a squad of soldiers in but they were stopped by intense machine-gun and rifle fire:[1] Three German soldiers were killed and several others captured.[1] For his actions at Salerno, Murphy was promoted to sergeant.[1]

Murphy distinguished himself in combat on many occasions while in Italy, fighting at the Volturno River,[4] at the Anzio beachhead,[4] and in the cold, wet Italian mountains. While in Italy, his instinctive skills as a combat infantryman earned him promotions and decorations for valor.[4]

Following its participation in the Italian campaign, the 3rd Division invaded Southern France[4] on August 15, 1944 (Operation Anvil-Dragoon).[4] Shortly thereafter, Murphy's best friend, Lattie Tipton (referred to as "Brandon" in Murphy's book To Hell and Back), was killed while approaching a German soldier who was feigning surrender.[1] Murphy went into a rage,[1] and single-handedly wiped out the German machine gun crew which had just killed his friend.[1] He then used the German machine gun and grenades to destroy several other nearby enemy positions.[1] For this act, Murphy received the Distinguished Service Cross[1] (second only to the Medal of Honor). During seven weeks of fighting in that campaign in France, Murphy's division suffered 4,500 casualties.[4]

Just weeks later, he received two Silver Stars for further heroic actions.[1] Murphy, by now a staff sergeant and holding the position of Platoon Sergeant, was eventually awarded a battlefield commission to second lieutenant, which elevated him to the Platoon Leader position.[1] He was wounded in the hip by a sniper's ricocheting bullet 12 days after the promotion[1] and spent ten weeks recuperating.[1] Within days of returning to his unit, and still bandaged, he became company commander (January 25, 1945), and suffered further wounds from a mortar round which killed two others nearby.
 

zaraster

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The next day, January 26 (the temperature was 14 degrees with 24 inches of snow on the ground), the battle at Holtzwihr (France) began[1][4] with Murphy's unit at an effective strength of 19 out of 128. Murphy sent all of his men to the rear[4] while he took pot-shots at the Germans until out of ammunition. He then proceeded to use an abandoned, burning tank destroyer's .50 caliber machine gun[1] to cut into the German infantry at a distance,[4] including one full squad of German infantry that had crawled in a ditch to within 100 feet of his position. Wounded in the leg during heavy fire,[1][4] he continued this nearly single-handed battle for almost an hour.[1][4] His focus on the battle before him stopped only when his telephone line to the artillery fire direction center was cut by either U.S. or German artillery. As his remaining men came forward, he quickly organized them to conduct a counter attack,[1][4] which ultimately drove the enemy away from Holtzwihr.[4] These actions earned Murphy the Medal of Honor.[1][4]Murphy was then removed from the front lines and made a liaison officer; he was promoted to 1st lieutenant on February 22, 1945. On June 2, 1945, Lt. Gen. Alexander Patch, commander of the US Seventh Army, presented him with the Medal of Honor and Legion of Merit. The Legion of Merit was awarded for outstanding services with the 3rd Infantry Division during January 22, 1944 to February 18, 1945. On June 10, Murphy left Paris by plane, arriving in San Antonio, Texas four days later.

Audie Murphy received 33 US medals, plus five medals from France and one from Belgium.[1][4] It has been said that he received every US medal available at the time; 5 of them awarded more than once.His height and weight at his enlistment were 5 feet 5.5 inches and 110 pounds; after his three year enlistment, they were 5 ft 7 inches and 145 lbs.


[edit] Medal of Honor citation
The official U.S. Army citation for Audie Murphy's Medal of Honor reads:[1][7]

Rank and organization: Second Lieutenant, U.S. Army, Company B 15th Infantry, 3rd Infantry Division.
Place and date: Near Holtzwihr France, 26 January 1945.
Entered service at: Dallas, Texas. Birth: Hunt County, near Kingston, Texas, G.O. No. 65, 9 August 1944.
Citation: Second Lt. Murphy commanded Company B, which was attacked by six tanks and waves of infantry. 2d Lt. Murphy ordered his men to withdraw to a prepared position in a woods, while he remained forward at his command post and continued to give fire directions to the artillery by telephone. Behind him, to his right, one of our tank destroyers received a direct hit and began to burn. Its crew withdrew to the woods. 2d Lt. Murphy continued to direct artillery fire, which killed large numbers of the advancing enemy infantry. With the enemy tanks abreast of his position, 2d Lt. Murphy climbed on the burning tank destroyer, which was in danger of blowing up at any moment, and employed its .50 caliber machine gun against the enemy. He was alone and exposed to German fire from three sides, but his deadly fire killed dozens of Germans and caused their infantry attack to waver. The enemy tanks, losing infantry support, began to fall back. For an hour the Germans tried every available weapon to eliminate 2d Lt. Murphy, but he continued to hold his position and wiped out a squad that was trying to creep up unnoticed on his right flank. Germans reached as close as 10 yards, only to be mowed down by his fire. He received a leg wound, but ignored it and continued his single-handed fight until his ammunition was exhausted. He then made his way back to his company, refused medical attention, and organized the company in a counterattack, which forced the Germans to withdraw. His directing of artillery fire wiped out many of the enemy; he killed or wounded about 50. 2d Lt. Murphy's indomitable courage and his refusal to give an inch of ground saved his company from possible encirclement and destruction, and enabled it to hold the woods which had been the enemy's objective.[1][7]

[edit] Lifted to "Living Legend" status

Audie Murphy on the cover of Life for July 16, 1945, got him seen in Hollywood.Audie Murphy was credited with destroying six tanks in addition to killing over 240 German soldiers and wounding and capturing many others.[4] By the end of World War II he was a legend within the 3rd Infantry Division.[3] His principal U.S. decorations included the Medal of Honor, Distinguished Service Cross, two Silver Stars, the Legion of Merit, two Bronze Stars with Valor device, and three Purple Hearts (all for genuine combat wounds). Murphy participated in campaigns in North Africa, Sicily, Italy, France and Germany, as denoted by his European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal with one silver battle star (denoting five campaigns), four bronze battle stars, plus a bronze arrowhead representing his two amphibious assault landings at Sicily and southern France. During the French Campaign, Murphy was awarded two Presidential Citations, one from the 3rd Inf, Division, and one from the 15th Inf. Regiment during the Holtzwihr action.

 

zaraster

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The French government awarded Murphy its highest award, the Legion of Honor (Grade of Chevalier). He also received two Croix de Guerre medals from France and the Croix de Guerre 1940 Palm from Belgium. In addition, Murphy was awarded the Combat Infantryman Badge. (A complete list of his awards and decorations appears later in this article.) He spent 29 months overseas and just under two years in combat with the 3rd Infantry Division, all before he turned 21.[4]

In early June 1945, one month after Germany's surrender, he returned from Europe to a hero's welcome in his home state of Texas,[4] where he was showered with parades, banquets, and speeches. Murphy was discharged from active duty with the U.S. Army as a first lieutenant, at Fort Sam Houston in San Antonio, Texas on August 17, 1945,[6] and discharged from the U.S. Army on September 21, 1945.[1][4]

He gained nationwide recognition, appearing on the cover of Life magazine for July 16, 1945 (see image above).

After the Korean War broke out in June 1950, Murphy joined the 36th Infantry Division of the Texas National Guard; however, that division was not called up for combat duty. By the time he left the Guard in 1966, Murphy had attained the rank of major.


[edit] Post war illness
Murphy suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) after his return from the war.[2][3] He was plagued by insomnia, bouts of depression, and nightmares related to his numerous battles.[2] His first wife, Wanda Hendrix, often talked of his struggle with this condition, even claiming that he had at one time held her at gunpoint. For a time during the mid-1960s, he became dependent on doctor-prescribed sleeping pills called Placidyl.[2] When he recognized that he had become addicted to the drug, he locked himself in a motel room where he took himself off the pills, going through withdrawal for a week.[2]

Always an advocate of the needs of America's military veterans, Murphy eventually broke the taboo about publicly discussing war-related mental conditions. In an effort to draw attention to the problems of returning Korean and Vietnam War veterans, Murphy spoke out candidly about his own problems with PTSD, known then and during World War II as "battle fatigue"[2] and also commonly known as "shell shock." He called on the United States government to give increased consideration and study to the emotional impact that combat experiences have on veterans, and to extend health care benefits to address PTSD and other mental-health problems suffered by returning war veterans.[2]


[edit] Personal life

Audie Murphy and his sons, Terrance Michael Murphy and James Shannon Murphy.Murphy married actress Wanda Hendrix in 1949;[2] they were divorced in 1951. He then married former airline stewardess Pamela Archer who was an army nurse, by whom he had two children: Terrance Michael "Terry" Murphy (born 1952) and James Shannon "Skipper" Murphy (born 1954). They were named for two of his most respected friends, Terry Hunt and James "Skipper" Cherry, respectively. Audie became a successful actor, rancher, and businessman,[4] breeding and raising quarter horses. He owned ranches in Texas, Tucson, Arizona and Perris, California.[3]

In 1955, Murphy became interested in Freemasonry. He was encouraged by his close friend, Texas theater owner Skipper Cherry, to petition and join the Masonic Order in California. He returned to Texas to become a 32d degree Scottish Rite Mason and to join the Shriners. He was active in various Masonic events and was a member in good standing for the rest of his life.

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[edit] Movie career
After seeing the young hero's photo on the cover of the July 16 edition of Life Magazine and sensing star potential,[2] actor James Cagney invited Murphy to Hollywood in September 1945. Despite Cagney's expectations, the next few years in California were difficult for Murphy. He became disillusioned by the lack of work, was frequently broke, and slept on the floor of a gymnasium owned by his friend Terry Hunt, whom Murphy later named a son after. He eventually received token acting parts in the 1948 films Beyond Glory and Texas, Brooklyn and Heaven.[2][4] His third movie, Bad Boy, gave him his first leading role.[3] He also starred in the 1951 adaptation of Stephen Crane's Civil War novel, The Red Badge of Courage, which met with critical success.[4] Murphy expressed great discomfort in playing himself in To Hell and Back. In 1959, he starred in the western film No Name on the Bullet, in which his performance was well-received despite being cast as the villain, a professional killer who managed to stay within the law.[2]


[edit] First starring role
After returning home from World War II, Murphy bought a house in Farmersville, Texas for his oldest sister Corinne, her husband Poland Burns, and their three children. The idea was that Audie's three youngest siblings, Nadine, Billie, and Joe, who had been living in an orphanage since Murphy's mother's death, would also be able to live with Corinne and Poland and would become part of a family again. Unfortunately, six children under one roof created too much stress on everyone, particularly Nadine and Joe, so Murphy came and picked them up.

Joe and Nadine wanted to stay with him, but despite a lot of post-war publicity, his acting career had gone nowhere and he was finding it difficult to survive financially. The oldest Murphy brother, Buck, and his wife agreed to take Nadine, but Murphy didn't know what to do with Joe. He approached James "Skipper" Cherry, a Dallas theater owner who was involved with the Variety Clubs International Boy's Ranch, a 4,800 acre (19 km²) ranch near Copperas Cove, Texas who arranged for the Boy's Ranch to take Joe in. He loved it there and Murphy was able to visit him, as well as Cherry, frequently. In a 1973 interview, Cherry recalled, "He was discouraged and somewhat despondent concerning his
 

Double Naught Spy

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Okay, so he was a hero and from Texas. This isn't exactly big news. Why bother to copy and paste (to the point of frustration before quitting) from Wikipedia?
 

perrymechanical

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Jun 30, 2010
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I enlisted in June 1973 on the Greenville, Texas courthouse steps as a member of the Audy Murphy Platoon in honor of Audy Murphy Along with 14 others (2 quick i n basic and went on to other MOS's) but the remaining 13 still talk often to this day......what a proud group we were to serve in his name John Perry Lawton, OK 1973-77 Kitzingen West Germany B Co 1/15th
 
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