|Born||20 Jun 1924|
|Died||25 May 1971|
Contributor: Bryan Hiatt
ww2dbaseAudie Murphy is regarded as one of World War II's most decorated soldiers. Among his 33 citations is the Medal of Honor, awarded for turning back a German attack single-handedly in the face of several Panzer tanks and infantry in France.
ww2dbaseBorn in rural Texas, Murphy had his share of hard times growing up: his father deserted his family (leaving behind ten children) and his mother died when he was sixteen. Murphy "watched as his brothers and sisters were doled out to an orphanage or to relatives."
ww2dbaseIn 1942 at age 17, Murphy tried to join the Marines and the Army paratroops, but was rejected because he was too short. He did gain entrance into the Army, joining the 15th Regiment, 3rd Infantry Division in North Africa prior to the invasion of Sicily. Murphy proved himself a proficient soldier and "quickly rose to the enlisted rank of Staff Sergeant, was given a battlefield commission as 2nd Lieutenant... [and] fought in nine major campaigns across the European Theater."
ww2dbaseMurphy’s actions in January 1945 near the French village of Holtzwihr earned him the Medal of Honor and enduring fame. His citation reads:
ww2dbaseAfter the war, Murphy became an actor, and while it took some time and struggle to get established, he eventually made 44 films, among them "To Hell and Back" based on his autobiography published in 1949. Murphy was also an outspoken advocate of veterans later in his life.
ww2dbaseMurphy died in a plane crash in 1971. He was 46.
ww2dbaseSources: Arlington National Cemetery, www.audiemurphy.com, Medal of Honor Society.
Last Major Revision: Apr 2005
Audie Murphy Timeline
|20 Jun 1924||Audie Murphy was born.|
|26 Jan 1945||Despite being wounded, US Army 2nd Lieutenant Audie Murphy single-handedly repelled tank and infantry attacks on his unit's position at Colmar, France. The action earned Murphy America's highest award for bravery, the Medal of Honor. Beginning as a private and earning a battlefield commission, he finished the war as his country's most decorated soldier with 33 medals and was personally credited with killing 240 enemies. After the war, the baby-faced hero made a fortune as a B-movie film star before being killed in a plane crash in 1971, aged 46. After President John F Kennedy, his grave was the most visited plot in Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia, United States.|
|25 May 1971||Audie Murphy passed away.|
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James Forrestal, Secretary of the Navy, 23 Feb 1945