Monday, May 27, 2013


For Memorial Day.....


'What's My Line?'

Audie Leon Murphy (June 20, 1925 – May 28, 1971) was one of the most famous and decorated American combat soldiers of World War II. He served in the Mediterranean and European Theater of Operations where he was presented the Medal of Honor and several other decorations for heroism in combat including decorations from France and Belgium. 

He was born into poverty on a farm in northeast Texas and was named for two family friends who kept the Murphys from starving. Murphy lied about his age to enlist in the military and follow his dream of becoming a soldier. He was only 19 years old when he was awarded the Medal of Honor. Murphy always maintained that the medals belonged to his entire military unit. 

Here is the citation for his Medal of Honor:

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.

His postwar stress caused him to sleep with a loaded gun under his pillow, looking for solace in addictive sleeping pills. Murphy drew public attention to what would in later wars be labeled post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). The Audie L. Murphy Memorial Veterans Hospital in San Antonio is named for him.

In his postwar civilian life, Murphy enjoyed a two-decade career as actor. He played himself in the 1955 autobiographical "To Hell and Back" based on his 1949 memoir of the same name. Most of his 44 films were Westerns. He made guest appearances on celebrity television shows and starred in the television series 'Whispering Smith'. 

As a song writer, he penned the successful "Shutters and Boards". He bred quarter horses in California and Arizona, and became a regular participant in horse racing. In the last few years of his life, his film career took a downturn and he found himself plagued with money problems. But he remained aware of his role model influence and refused offers for alcohol and cigarette commercials. 

Murphy died in a plane crash in Virginia in 1971, just 23 days before what would have been his 46th birthday. He was interred, with full military honors, in Arlington National Cemetery. His widow Pamela devoted the rest of her life to the needs of veterans at a Veterans Administration hospital in Los Angeles.


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