Wednesday’s Hero – First Lieutenant Audie Murphy

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First Lieutenant Audie Murphy
First Lieutenant Audie Murphy
3rd Platoon,
Baker Company,
1st Battalion,
15th Infantry Regiment,
3rd Infantry Division
June 20, 1924 – May 28, 1971

U.S. Army

Most people know Audie Murphy as a popular actor, but before that he was a highly distinguished Soldier in WWII.

First Lieutenant Murphy was, in fact, the most decorated American Soldier in the war earning a total of 39 medals from the U.S., France and Belgium.

He was awarded every medal the U.S. had at the time including 2 Silver Stars, 2 Bronze Hearts, 3 Purple Hearts and the Medal Of Honor.

This Weeks Post Was Suggested By Michael

You can read more about First Lieutenant Murphy here.

Murphy was a fifth grade drop out who came from an extremely poor family.   He went on earn a Medal of Honor:

Rank and organization: Second Lieutenant, U.S. Army, Company B 15th Infantry, 3rd Infantry Division.
Place and date: Near Holtzwihr France, January 26, 1945.
Entered service at: Dallas, Texas. Birth: Hunt County, near Kingston, Texas, G.O. No. 65, August 9, 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.

His awards:

Medal of Honor
Distinguished Service Cross
two Silver Stars
Legion of Merit
two Bronze Star Medals with one “V”
three Purple Hearts

Good Conduct Medal
American Campaign Medal
European-African-Middle Eastern Medal with 9 Campaign Stars and Arrowhead
World War II Victory Medal
Armed Forces Reserve Medal
Army Outstanding Civilian Service Medal
French Legion of Honor
French Croix de Guerre with Silver Star and two Palms
French Fourragere
Belgian Croix de Guerre with Palm
Combat Infantryman Badge
Rifle Marksman Badge
Bayonet Expert Badge

PTSD:

“…Murphy was reportedly plagued by insomnia, bouts of depression, and nightmares related to his numerous battles throughout his life.  His first wife, Wanda Hendrix, often talked of his struggle with this condition, even claiming that he had held her at gunpoint once. For a time during the mid-1960s, he became dependent on doctor-prescribed sleeping pills called Placidyl. 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.

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”. 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…”

OTHER AWARDS

July 8, 1948: Murphy was awarded the title of “Honorary Citizen” of Ramatuelle, France by the municipal council, under the presidency of Mainaur Bathisi Henri, Mayor of the Commune. The village of Ramatuelle is where Audie Murphy earned the Distinguished Service Cross during the invasion of Southern France in August 1944.

July 17, 1948: In Paris, France, Murphy was made an honorary member in the 159th French Alpine Regiment.

September 10, 1948: Audie Murphy Rodeo Arena was dedicated to Murphy . It is located one mile east of Euless, Texas on Highway 183.

February 12, 1949: During special and unprecedented ceremonies at Texas A&M University, Murphy became the first honorary cadet Colonel in the history of the institution, thus making him an Aggie.

February 15, 1949: Murphy was made an honorary member of the Texas Rangers in the Governor’s office. This was followed up on July 2, 1949 when Murphy was presented with a second Honorary Commission in the Texas Rangers in ceremonies at Falfurrias, Texas.

February 14, 1955: Initiated into the Scottish Rite of Long Beach, California and became 32 degree KCCH Mason on 12-11-65

February 9, 1960: Murphy received his star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

1971: The Audie Murphy Patriotism Award is named in honor of Murphy. The award is presented annually to an “outstanding American patriot” or “an outstanding group of individuals who most exemplify the true ‘Spirit of America.’ The Chamber of Commerce of Decatur, Alabama instituted the Audie Murphy Patriotism Award to take place during their “Spirit of America Festival.” Dignitaries honored at the ceremony included General Omar Bradley, General Alexander Haig, Senator Jeremiah Denton, Colonel Charles Scott and astronaut John W. Young. Murphy was to be the first recipient, but was killed, Memorial Day Weekend, May 28, 1971. His widow, Pamela Murphy, accepted this award on his behalf. It is now rendered on July 4 of each year.

November 11, 1972: a bronze plaque, 21-3/4” x 31 –3/4”, honoring the memory of Murphy, was accepted for permanent and prominent display in the lobby of Patriotic Hall, County of Los Angeles, Department of Military and Veterans Affairs at 1816 South Figueroa Street.

March 2, 1973: The Main Post Gymnasium, Building 2818, at the United States Army Infantry Center, Fort Benning, Georgia was designated in memorialization orders as the Audie Murphy Fitness Center.

On November 17, 1973, the Audie L. Murphy Memorial Veterans Hospital in San Antonio, Texas was dedicated. There is a one-ton bronze, eight-foot-tall statue of Murphy, created by sculptress Jimilu Mason. He is dressed in battle fatigues holding a rifle with bayonet; inside the hospital, a museum depicts his life and contains items including his uniform, other clothing, books and pictures.

November 10, 1974: At the Audie L. Murphy Crash Memorial Site, Brush Mountain, Virginia stands a plaque in tribute to Murphy at the site of his death. The plaque is mounted on the large granite stone and was erected by the Veterans of Foreign Wars, Post 5311, Christiansburg, Virginia.

January 21, 1975: The Society of The Third Infantry Division outpost in Richardson, Texas was chartered as the Audie L. Murphy Outpost # 35.

April 20, 1977: VFW Post 1837, Dallas, Texas was designated as Audie L. Murphy Memorial Post No. 1837

1981: Murphy inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame

November 3, 1984: A six-foot bronze statue of Murphy was dedicated at Camp Mabry, Texas Army National Guard Academy, Austin, Texas. Noted artist Bill Leftwich of Fort Davis, Texas designed this tribute. After World War II, Murphy joined the 36th Infantry Division (associated with the Texas Army National Guard) and eventually attained the rank of Major.

August 23, 1985: During the Third Annual Western Stars Awards in Woodland Hills, California, the Golden Boot Award, a Special Memorial Award in honor of Murphy, was presented to Mrs. Pamela Murphy.

April 23, 1986: Murphy was posthumously inducted into the Alamo Area National Guard Hall of Fame during ceremonies in San Antonio, Texas. Murphy was the seventh Hall of Fame Honoree.
September 1, 1986, the U.S. Army established the Sergeant Audie Murphy Club at Fort Hood, Texas. This elite membership group recognizes noncommissioned officers (sergeants) who have displayed “the integrity, professionalism, commitment to mentoring subordinate soldiers, leadership abilities and personal ethics exemplified by Audie L. Murphy.” In 1994, the Sergeant Audie Murphy Club spread Army-wide, to all commands with installations retaining the selection process for their own NCOs.[22]

March 23, 1990: Murphy was one of three Medal of Honor recipients to have a building dedicated in his honor at Fort Knox, Kentucky. Murphy’s building is designated as “Murphy Hall.”

May 14, 1991: The railroad overpass within the City of Greenville (Greenville, Texas) between Crockett Street, St. John Street, Stuart Street and Hamphill Street was designated as the “Audie L. Murphy Memorial Overpass.”

October 14, 1991: The West African nation of Sierra Leone issued a set of 12 stamps recognizing key WW II Motion Pictures. One stamp, Le 2 value, honors Murphy in “To Hell and Back” (Scott No. 1409).

October 18, 1993: The country of Guyana in NE South America issued a set of 11 stamps in tribute to World War II. One stamp, $6.40 value, recognizes Murphy’s Medal of Honor action on January 26, 1945 (Scott No. 2697).

July 20, 1995: Nevis Island of St. Kitts and Nevis, one of the Leeward Islands in the West Indies, an independent member of the Commonwealth of Nations, issued a souvenir sheet of stamps commemorating the 50th Anniversary of The End of World War II. The sheet consists of eight stamps each with a value of $1.25. One stamp honors Murphy. (Scott No. 2446)

March 16, 1996: The Country Music Association of Texas honored and inducted Murphy into their Hall of Fame during ceremonies which took place at the VFW Post # 3892 in Harker Heights, Texas.

March 16, 1996: The National Cowboy Hall of Fame and Western Heritage Center inducted Murphy into their Hall of Fame during ceremonies in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma at the “35th Annual Western Heritage Awards”.

June 1996 the Texas Legislature officially declared his birthdate, June 20, as “Audie Murphy Day”. U.S. Highway 69 North, from North Greenville city limits to Fannin County line was renamed “The Audie Murphy Memorial Highway”.

June 20, 1996: House Concurrent Resolution (H.C.R. No. 46) resolved that the House accept for and in behalf of the State of Texas, the oil painting of Murphy in uniform by Dallas, Texas artist Kipp Soldwedel. Furthermore, it was resolved that this portrait be appropriately hung in a place of honor in the State Capitol Building with the portraits of other distinguished Texans.

In 1999, then-Governor George W. Bush also issued a proclamation declaring June 20 to officially be “Audie Murphy Day” in the State of Texas.

From the mid-1990s through the present, an annual celebration of Murphy and other veterans in all branches of service has been held on the weekend closest to Murphy’s birthday at the American Cotton Museum (recently[when?] renamed the Audie Murphy/American Cotton Museum) in Greenville and in Farmersville. The museum houses a large collection of Murphy memorabilia and personal items.

May 3, 2000, Murphy was honored with his portrait on a thirty-three cent United States postage stamp.[23] There is also an Audie Murphy Middle School in Fort Hood, Texas, named in his honor.

January 29, 2000: A plaque, 1.20 meters high and 2.70 meters long, was unveiled in Holtzwihr, France by local authorities and veterans. The plaque depicts Murphy on his tank destroyer. It was attached to a wall at the site where Murphy carried out his famous Medal of Honor action.

September 1, 2000: The Gun Museum in the Confederate Research Center at The Harold B. Simpson History Complex at Hill College in Hillsboro, Texas was re-named the “Audie Murphy WW II Gallery of the Texas Heritage Museum”.

September 2000: A full size bronze bust of Murphy was dedicated outside City Hall, Greenville, Texas. The bust rests on a one-ton granite base.

March 9, 2001: Department of The Army Headquarters, 3rd Infantry Division, Mechanized Multinational Division (North) Tuzla, Bosnia-Herzegovina dedicated part of the visitors lodging facilities on Eagle Base, Tuzla. The building is the “Audie Murphy Inn” and provides comfortable accommodations for soldiers and their families.

June 22, 2002: Ten foot, 2,200 pound hollow bronze statue of Murphy, created by Gordon Thomas, mounted on 15 ton granite base was unveiled and dedicated at 1 p.m. on the grounds of the Audie Murphy – American Cotton Museum in Greenville, Texas.

August 15, 2004: Killeen Independent School District, located at Killeen, Texas dedicated a brand new middle school named Audie Murphy Middle School.

September 2004: Murphy plaque was dedicated at the Masonic Lounge in North Hollywood, CA

October 23, 2004: During a yearly event, an Audie Murphy Star was dedicated at the Fort Worth Stockyards National Historic District. A “Texas Trail of Fame” was established to honor those individuals who have made a significant contribution to our Western way of life. Murphy’s star can be found on Main Street near the Western Museum.

October 21, 2005: The 8th Annual Silver Spur Awards took place in Studio City, CA. and was sponsored by “Reel Cowboys.” Michael Dante presented to Murphy’s widow, Pamela Murphy, while sons Terry and James Murphy looked on.

July 11, 2007: Ft. Stewart, Georgia: Audie Murphy Soldier Support Center was established where soldiers, families and civilians arriving, leaving or transferring within the army can take care of all their paperwork.

August 5, 2010, the Pharr-San Juan-Alamo Independent School District in South Texas dedicated and opened its newest middle school, “Audie Murphy Middle School.”

November 2010: Audie Murphy was nominated for a posthumous bestowal of the Texas Legislative Medal of Honor, the highest military award within the State of Texas. The nomination was filed by Texas State Representative Dan Flynn as HCR 22. As of April 2011, the matter is still in committee.

 

These brave men and women sacrifice so much in their lives so that others may enjoy the freedoms we get to enjoy everyday. For that, I am proud to call them Hero.

We Should Not Only Mourn These Men And Women Who Died, We Should Also Thank God That Such People Lived

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