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Audie Murphy

Audie Murphy

Overview
Audie Leon Murphy was a highly decorated and famous soldier. Through LIFE magazine's July 16, 1945 issue ("Most Decorated Soldier"/cover photo), he became one the most famous soldiers of World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

 and widely regarded as the most decorated American soldier of the war. After the war he became a celebrated movie star for over two decades, appearing in 44 films. He later had some success as a country music composer.

During twenty-seven months in action in the European Theatre
European Theatre of World War II
The European Theatre of World War II was a huge area of heavy fighting across Europe from Germany's invasion of Poland on September 1, 1939 until the end of the war with the German unconditional surrender on May 8, 1945...

.
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Encyclopedia
Audie Leon Murphy was a highly decorated and famous soldier. Through LIFE magazine's July 16, 1945 issue ("Most Decorated Soldier"/cover photo), he became one the most famous soldiers of World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

 and widely regarded as the most decorated American soldier of the war. After the war he became a celebrated movie star for over two decades, appearing in 44 films. He later had some success as a country music composer.

During twenty-seven months in action in the European Theatre
European Theatre of World War II
The European Theatre of World War II was a huge area of heavy fighting across Europe from Germany's invasion of Poland on September 1, 1939 until the end of the war with the German unconditional surrender on May 8, 1945...

. he received the Medal of Honor
Medal of Honor
The Medal of Honor is the highest military decoration awarded by the United States government. It is bestowed by the President, in the name of Congress, upon members of the United States Armed Forces who distinguish themselves through "conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his or her...

, the U.S. military's highest award for valor, along with 32 additional U.S. and foreign awards (medals, ribbons, citations, badges...) including five awards from France and one from Belgium.

Murphy's successful movie career included To Hell and Back
To Hell and Back (film)
To Hell and Back is a CinemaScope war film released in 1955. It was directed by Jesse Hibbs and starred Audie Murphy as himself and Kyle Sanville. It is based on the 1949 autobiography of the same name and is an account of Murphy's World War II experiences as a soldier in the U.S. Army...

(1955), based on his book of the same title (1949). He died in a plane crash in 1971 and was interred, with full military honors, in Arlington National Cemetery
Arlington National Cemetery
Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington County, Virginia, is a military cemetery in the United States of America, established during the American Civil War on the grounds of Arlington House, formerly the estate of the family of Confederate general Robert E. Lee's wife Mary Anna Lee, a great...

.

Childhood


Murphy was born in Kingston, Hunt County, Texas
Hunt County, Texas
As of the census of 2000, there were 76,596 people, 28,742 households, and 20,521 families residing in the county. The population density was 91 people per square mile . There were 32,490 housing units at an average density of 39 per square mile...

, to poor sharecroppers of Irish descent, Emmett Berry Murphy (February 20, 1886–September 20, 1976), and his wife, Josie Bell (née Killian; 1891–1941) He grew up on farms in the Farmersville
Farmersville, Texas
Farmersville is a city in Collin County, Texas, United States. The population was 3,118 at the 2000 census.-Geography:Farmersville is located at ....

 and Greenville
Greenville, Texas
Greenville is the county seat, and the largest city, of Hunt County, Texas, in the United States. As of the 2010 census, the city population was 25,557....

 areas, and near Celeste, Texas
Celeste, Texas
Celeste is a city in Hunt County, Texas, United States. The population was 817 at the 2000 census.-Geography:Celeste is located at .According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of , all of it land....

. He was the sixth of twelve children, two of whom died before reaching adulthood. His siblings were, by age in descending order: Elizabeth Corinne (May 5, 1910 – March 28, 1980), Charles Emmett "Buck" Vernon (b. 1915 – d. 1919), Ariel June, Oneta (b. 1918 – d. 1919), J.W. (b. 1920 – d. 1920), Richard Houston (b. February 16, 1926 – d. 1954 or 1959), Eugene Porter, Verda Nadine, Willie Beatrice "Billie", and Joseph Preston (b. February 19, 1935 – d. January 29, 1968).

Audie attended elementary school in Celeste until his father abandoned the family in 1936. Audie dropped out in the fifth grade to help support his family. He worked for one dollar per day, plowing and picking cotton on any farm that would hire him. Murphy became very skilled with a rifle, hunting small game like squirrels, rabbits, and birds to help feed the family. One of his favorite hunting companions was neighbor Dial Henley. When Henley commented that Murphy never missed what he shot at, Murphy replied, "Well, Dial, if I don't hit what I shoot at, my family won't eat today." On May 23, 1941, his mother died. He worked at a combination general store, garage and gas station in Greenville
Greenville, Texas
Greenville is the county seat, and the largest city, of Hunt County, Texas, in the United States. As of the 2010 census, the city population was 25,557....

. Boarded out, he worked in a radio repair shop. Later that year, with the approval of his older, married sister, Mrs. Elizabeth Corinne Burns (sometimes referred to as "Corrine"), who was unable to help, Murphy placed his three youngest siblings in an orphanage to ensure their care. He reclaimed them after World War II.

Enlistment


Murphy had long dreamed of joining the military. After the attack on Pearl Harbor
Attack on Pearl Harbor
The attack on Pearl Harbor was a surprise military strike conducted by the Imperial Japanese Navy against the United States naval base at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, on the morning of December 7, 1941...

 on December 7, 1941, Murphy tried to enlist in the military, but the services rejected him because he was underage.
Murphy tried once again to enlist but was declined by the Marines and the Army
United States Army
The United States Army is the main branch of the United States Armed Forces responsible for land-based military operations. It is the largest and oldest established branch of the U.S. military, and is one of seven U.S. uniformed services...

 paratrooper
Paratrooper
Paratroopers are soldiers trained in parachuting and generally operate as part of an airborne force.Paratroopers are used for tactical advantage as they can be inserted into the battlefield from the air, thereby allowing them to be positioned in areas not accessible by land...

s as too short and underweight at 5 foot and 110 pounds (49.9 kg). The Navy also turned him down for being underweight. The United States Army
United States Army
The United States Army is the main branch of the United States Armed Forces responsible for land-based military operations. It is the largest and oldest established branch of the U.S. military, and is one of seven U.S. uniformed services...

 finally accepted him and he was inducted at Greenville and sent to Camp Wolters, Texas
Texas
Texas is the second largest U.S. state by both area and population, and the largest state by area in the contiguous United States.The name, based on the Caddo word "Tejas" meaning "friends" or "allies", was applied by the Spanish to the Caddo themselves and to the region of their settlement in...

 for basic training. During a session of close order drill, he passed out. His company commander tried to have him transferred to a cook and bakers' school but Murphy insisted on becoming a combat soldier, and after 13 weeks of basic training, he was sent to Fort Meade, Maryland
Fort Meade, Maryland
Fort Meade is a census-designated place in Anne Arundel County, Maryland, United States. The population was 9,882 at the 2000 census. It is the home to the National Security Agency, which is located on the US Army post Fort George G...

 for advanced infantry training.

Battles


Murphy still had to "fight the system" to get overseas and into action. His persistence paid off, and in early 1943 he was shipped out to Casablanca, Morocco as a replacement in 3rd Platoon, Baker Company, 1st Battalion, 15th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Infantry Division. 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 invasion of Sicily
Sicily
Sicily is a region of Italy, and is the largest island in the Mediterranean Sea. Along with the surrounding minor islands, it constitutes an autonomous region of Italy, the Regione Autonoma Siciliana Sicily has a rich and unique culture, especially with regard to the arts, music, literature,...

 on July 10, 1943. Shortly after arriving, Murphy was promoted to corporal after killing two Italian officers as they tried to escape on horseback. He contracted malaria
Malaria
Malaria is a mosquito-borne infectious disease of humans and other animals caused by eukaryotic protists of the genus Plasmodium. The disease results from the multiplication of Plasmodium parasites within red blood cells, causing symptoms that typically include fever and headache, in severe cases...

 while in Sicily, an illness which put him in the hospital several times during his Army years.

After Sicily was secured from Axis forces, the 3rd Division invaded the Italian mainland, landing near Salerno
Salerno
Salerno is a city and comune in Campania and is the capital of the province of the same name. It is located on the Gulf of Salerno on the Tyrrhenian Sea....

 in September 1943. 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 quarry. The German command sent a squad of soldiers in, but they were stopped by intense machine-gun
Machine gun
A machine gun is a fully automatic mounted or portable firearm, usually designed to fire rounds in quick succession from an ammunition belt or large-capacity magazine, typically at a rate of several hundred rounds per minute....

 and rifle fire. Three German soldiers were killed and several others captured. As a result of his actions at Salerno, Murphy was promoted to sergeant.

He distinguished himself in action on many occasions while in Italy, fighting at the Volturno River
Volturno
The Volturno is a river in south-central Italy.-Geography:It rises in the Abruzzese central Apennines of Samnium near Rocchetta a Volturno and flows southeast as far as its junction with the Calore River near Caiazzo and runs south as far as Venafro, and then turns southwest, past Capua, to...

, at the Anzio beachhead
Operation Shingle
Operation Shingle , during the Italian Campaign of World War II, was an Allied amphibious landing against Axis forces in the area of Anzio and Nettuno, Italy. The operation was commanded by Major General John P. Lucas and was intended to outflank German forces of the Winter Line and enable an...

, and in the cold, wet Italian mountains. While in Italy, his skills as a combat infantryman earned him promotions and decorations for valor. Following its participation in the Italian campaign, the 3rd Division landed in Southern France
Southern France
Southern France , colloquially known as le Midi is defined geographical area consisting of the regions of France that border the Atlantic Ocean south of the Gironde, Spain, the Mediterranean, and Italy...

 on August 15, 1944 as part of Operation Dragoon
Operation Dragoon
Operation Dragoon was the Allied invasion of southern France on August 15, 1944, during World War II. The invasion was initiated via a parachute drop by the 1st Airborne Task Force, followed by an amphibious assault by elements of the U.S. Seventh Army, followed a day later by a force made up...

. Shortly thereafter, Murphy's best friend, Lattie Tipton (referred to as "Brandon" in Murphy's book To Hell and Back), was killed by a German soldier in a machine gun nest who was feigning surrender. Murphy went into a rage and single-handedly wiped out the German machine gun crew which had just killed his friend. He then used the German machine gun and grenades to destroy several other nearby enemy positions. For this act, Murphy received the Distinguished Service Cross
Distinguished Service Cross (United States)
The Distinguished Service Cross is the second highest military decoration that can be awarded to a member of the United States Army, for extreme gallantry and risk of life in actual combat with an armed enemy force. Actions that merit the Distinguished Service Cross must be of such a high degree...

 (second in precedence only to the Medal of Honor).

During seven weeks of fighting in that campaign in France, Murphy's division suffered 4,500 casualties. Just weeks later, he received two Silver Star
Silver Star
The Silver Star is the third-highest combat military decoration that can be awarded to a member of any branch of the United States armed forces for valor in the face of the enemy....

s for further heroic actions. Murphy, by now a staff sergeant and holding the position of platoon sergeant
Platoon Sergeant
In many militaries, a platoon sergeant is the senior enlisted member of a platoon, who advises and supports the platoon's commanding officer in leading the unit.-Singapore:...

, was eventually awarded a battlefield commission to second lieutenant, which elevated him to platoon leader. He was wounded in the hip by a sniper's ricocheting bullet 12 days after the promotion and spent ten weeks recuperating. Within days of returning to his unit, and still bandaged, he became company commander on January 25, 1945 and suffered further wounds from a mortar round which killed two others nearby.

Medal of Honor action


The next day, January 26 (the temperature was 14 °F (-10 °C) with 24 inches (61 cm) of snow on the ground), his unit participated in the battle at Holtzwihr
Holtzwihr
Holtzwihr is a commune in the Haut-Rhin department in Alsace in north-eastern France. It was also the location of the World War II Battle of Holtzwihr on January 26th, 1945 during which US Army Second Lieutenant Audie Murphy of the 3rd Infantry Division, almost single-handedly cut down an advancing...

, France. 48°7′21.99"N 7°15.27′40"E After fighting for some time, Murphy's unit was reduced to an effective strength of 19 out of 128. Murphy sent all of the remaining men to the rear while he shot at the Germans until he ran out of ammunition. He then climbed aboard an abandoned, burning M10 tank destroyer and used its .50 caliber machine gun to cut down the German infantry, including one full squad of German infantry who crawled in a ditch to within 100 feet (30.5 m) of his position. He was able to call in artillery fire using a land-line telephone and, under heavy fire, was wounded in the leg. He nonetheless continued his nearly single-handed battle for almost an hour. He only stopped fighting when his telephone line to the artillery fire direction center was cut by enemy artillery. As his remaining men moved forward, he quickly organized them into a counter-attack which ultimately drove the enemy from Holtzwihr. For these actions, Murphy was awarded the Medal of Honor.

When asked after the war why he had seized the machine gun and taken on an entire company of German infantry, he replied simply, "They were killing my friends."

Murphy was 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
Alexander Patch
General Alexander McCarrell "Sandy" Patch was an officer in the United States Army, best known for his service in World War II. He commanded Army and Marine forces during the invasion of Guadalcanal, and the U.S...

, commander of the US Seventh Army, presented him with the Medal of Honor and Legion of Merit
Legion of Merit
The Legion of Merit is a military decoration of the United States armed forces that is awarded for exceptionally meritorious conduct in the performance of outstanding services and achievements...

. The Legion of Merit was given him for meritorious service with the 3rd Infantry Division in France from January 22 to February 18, 1945. On June 10, Murphy left Paris by plane and arrived in San Antonio, Texas
San Antonio, Texas
San Antonio is the seventh-largest city in the United States of America and the second-largest city within the state of Texas, with a population of 1.33 million. Located in the American Southwest and the south–central part of Texas, the city serves as the seat of Bexar County. In 2011,...

 four days later.

Murphy was awarded 33 U.S. decorations and medals, five medals from France, and one from Belgium. He received every U.S. decoration for valor available to Army ground personnel at the time. He earned the Silver Star twice in three days, two Bronze Star Medals, three Purple Hearts, the Distinguished Service Cross, and the Medal of Honor.

Medal of Honor citation


The official U.S. Army citation for Murphy's Medal of Honor reads:
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.

Awards



Murphy was credited with destroying six tanks in addition to killing over 240 German soldiers and wounding and capturing many others. His principal U.S. decorations included the Medal of Honor, Distinguished Service Cross
Distinguished Service Cross (United States)
The Distinguished Service Cross is the second highest military decoration that can be awarded to a member of the United States Army, for extreme gallantry and risk of life in actual combat with an armed enemy force. Actions that merit the Distinguished Service Cross must be of such a high degree...

, two Silver Stars, the Legion of Merit, two Bronze Star
Bronze Star Medal
The Bronze Star Medal is a United States Armed Forces individual military decoration that may be awarded for bravery, acts of merit, or meritorious service. As a medal it is awarded for merit, and with the "V" for valor device it is awarded for heroism. It is the fourth-highest combat award of the...

s with Valor device, and three Purple Heart
Purple Heart
The Purple Heart is a United States military decoration awarded in the name of the President to those who have been wounded or killed while serving on or after April 5, 1917 with the U.S. military. The National Purple Heart Hall of Honor is located in New Windsor, New York...

s. Murphy participated in campaigns in North Africa, Sicily, Italy, France and Germany, as denoted by his European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal
European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal
The European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal is a military decoration of the United States armed forces which was first created on November 6, 1942 by issued by President Franklin D. Roosevelt...

 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.

The French government awarded Murphy its Chevalier of the Legion of Honor.
He also received two Croix de guerre
Croix de guerre
The Croix de guerre is a military decoration of France. It was first created in 1915 and consists of a square-cross medal on two crossed swords, hanging from a ribbon with various degree pins. The decoration was awarded during World War I, again in World War II, and in other conflicts...

medals from France and the Croix de guerre 1940 Palm from Belgium. Murphy was also awarded the Combat Infantryman Badge
Combat Infantryman Badge
The Combat Infantryman Badge is the U.S. Army combat service recognition decoration awarded to soldiers—enlisted men and officers holding colonel rank or below, who personally fought in active ground combat while an assigned member of either an infantry or a Special Forces unit, of brigade size...

. (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.

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, where he was feted with parades, banquets, and speeches. Murphy was discharged from active duty with the U.S. Army as a First Lieutenant, at Fort Sam Houston
Fort Sam Houston
Fort Sam Houston is a U.S. Army post in San Antonio, Texas.Known colloquially as "Fort Sam," it is named for the first President of the Republic of Texas, Sam Houston....

 in San Antonio on August 17, 1945, and discharged from the U.S. Army on September 21, 1945.

He garnered nationwide recognition, appearing on the cover of Life
Life (magazine)
Life generally refers to three American magazines:*A humor and general interest magazine published from 1883 to 1936. Time founder Henry Luce bought the magazine in 1936 solely so that he could acquire the rights to its name....

magazine for July 16, 1945 as the "most decorated soldier". After the Korean War
Korean War
The Korean War was a conventional war between South Korea, supported by the United Nations, and North Korea, supported by the People's Republic of China , with military material aid from the Soviet Union...

 broke out in June 1950, Murphy joined the 36th Infantry Division of the Texas National Guard
Texas National Guard
The Texas National Guard consists of the Texas Army National Guard and the Texas Air National Guard. The Guard is administered by the adjutant general, an appointee of the governor of Texas. The Constitution of the United States specifically charges the National Guard with dual federal and state...

; however, that division was not called up for combat duty. By the time he left the Guard in 1966, he had attained the rank of Major
Major (United States)
In the United States Army, Air Force, and Marine Corps, major is a field grade military officer rank just above the rank of captain and just below the rank of lieutenant colonel...

.

His medals and awards are on display at the Dallas Scottish Rite Temple Museum
Dallas Scottish Rite Temple
The Dallas Scottish Rite Temple is a monumental structure in the Farmers Market District of downtown Dallas, Texas. Constructed in 1913 as an official headquarters for use by the Scottish Rite Masons and other local Masonic lodges, it is a fine example of early 20th century Beaux Arts Classical...

 and the China Room of the 15th Infantry Regiment (Kelley Hill, Fort Benning, Georgia).

Awards and decorations

Medal of Honor
Medal of Honor
The Medal of Honor is the highest military decoration awarded by the United States government. It is bestowed by the President, in the name of Congress, upon members of the United States Armed Forces who distinguish themselves through "conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his or her...

Distinguished Service Cross
Distinguished Service Cross (United States)
The Distinguished Service Cross is the second highest military decoration that can be awarded to a member of the United States Army, for extreme gallantry and risk of life in actual combat with an armed enemy force. Actions that merit the Distinguished Service Cross must be of such a high degree...

Silver Star
Silver Star
The Silver Star is the third-highest combat military decoration that can be awarded to a member of any branch of the United States armed forces for valor in the face of the enemy....

 (with oak leaf cluster
Oak leaf cluster
An oak leaf cluster is a common device which is placed on U.S. Army and Air Force awards and decorations to denote those who have received more than one bestowal of a particular decoration. The number of oak leaf clusters typically indicates the number of subsequent awards of the decoration...

)
Legion of Merit
Legion of Merit
The Legion of Merit is a military decoration of the United States armed forces that is awarded for exceptionally meritorious conduct in the performance of outstanding services and achievements...

Bronze Star
Bronze Star Medal
The Bronze Star Medal is a United States Armed Forces individual military decoration that may be awarded for bravery, acts of merit, or meritorious service. As a medal it is awarded for merit, and with the "V" for valor device it is awarded for heroism. It is the fourth-highest combat award of the...

 (with oak leaf cluster
Oak leaf cluster
An oak leaf cluster is a common device which is placed on U.S. Army and Air Force awards and decorations to denote those who have received more than one bestowal of a particular decoration. The number of oak leaf clusters typically indicates the number of subsequent awards of the decoration...

 and Valor device
Valor device
The Valor device is an award of the United States military which is a bronze attachment to certain medals to indicate that it was received for valor...

)
Purple Heart
Purple Heart
The Purple Heart is a United States military decoration awarded in the name of the President to those who have been wounded or killed while serving on or after April 5, 1917 with the U.S. military. The National Purple Heart Hall of Honor is located in New Windsor, New York...

 (with two oak leaf cluster
Oak leaf cluster
An oak leaf cluster is a common device which is placed on U.S. Army and Air Force awards and decorations to denote those who have received more than one bestowal of a particular decoration. The number of oak leaf clusters typically indicates the number of subsequent awards of the decoration...

s)
Department of the Army Outstanding Civilian Service Award
U.S. Army Good Conduct Medal
Presidential Unit Citation (with oak leaf cluster
Oak leaf cluster
An oak leaf cluster is a common device which is placed on U.S. Army and Air Force awards and decorations to denote those who have received more than one bestowal of a particular decoration. The number of oak leaf clusters typically indicates the number of subsequent awards of the decoration...

)
American Campaign Medal
American Campaign Medal
The American Campaign Medal was a military decoration of the United States armed forces which was first created on November 6, 1942 by issued by President Franklin D. Roosevelt...

European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal
European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal
The European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal is a military decoration of the United States armed forces which was first created on November 6, 1942 by issued by President Franklin D. Roosevelt...

 (with one silver service star
Service star
A service star, also referred to as a battle star, campaign star, or engagement star, is an attachment to a United States military decoration which denotes participation in military campaigns or multiple bestowals of the same award. Service stars are typically issued for campaign medals, service...

 & four bronze service stars
Service star
A service star, also referred to as a battle star, campaign star, or engagement star, is an attachment to a United States military decoration which denotes participation in military campaigns or multiple bestowals of the same award. Service stars are typically issued for campaign medals, service...

, representing nine campaigns, and one bronze arrowhead
Arrowhead device
The Arrowhead device is a decoration of the United States Army which is issued as an attachment to certain service medals. The Arrowhead device is awarded to any service member who participates in an amphibious assault, a combat parachute drop, a helicopter assault landing, or a combat glider...

, representing assault landing at Sicily and Southern France)
World War II Victory Medal
World War II Victory Medal
The World War II Victory Medal is a decoration of the United States military which was created by an act of Congress in July 1945. The decoration commemorates military service during World War II and is awarded to any member of the United States military, including members of the armed forces of...

Army of Occupation Medal
Army of Occupation Medal
The Army of Occupation Medal is a military award of the United States military which was established by the United States War Department on 5 April 1946. The medal was created in the aftermath of the Second World War to recognize those who had performed occupation service in either Germany or Japan...

 (with Germany Clasp)
Armed Forces Reserve Medal
Armed Forces Reserve Medal
The Armed Forces Reserve Medal is a military award of the United States Armed Forces that has existed since 1950. The medal recognizes service performed by the Reserve and National Guard forces of the United States of America....

French Legion of Honor - Grade of Chevalier
French Croix de guerre (with Silver Star)
French Croix de guerre (with Palm)
Medal of Liberated France
Belgian Croix de guerre (with 1940 Palm)
French Fourragère
Fourragère
The fourragère is a military award, distinguishing military units as a whole, that is shaped as a braided cord. The award has been firstly adopted by France, followed by other nations such as the Netherlands, Belgium and Portugal.- History :...

 in Colors of the Croix de guerre
Croix de guerre
The Croix de guerre is a military decoration of France. It was first created in 1915 and consists of a square-cross medal on two crossed swords, hanging from a ribbon with various degree pins. The decoration was awarded during World War I, again in World War II, and in other conflicts...


   Combat Infantryman Badge
Combat Infantryman Badge
The Combat Infantryman Badge is the U.S. Army combat service recognition decoration awarded to soldiers—enlisted men and officers holding colonel rank or below, who personally fought in active ground combat while an assigned member of either an infantry or a Special Forces unit, of brigade size...




Marksman Badge with Rifle Component Bar


Expert Badge with Bayonet Component Bar



Dates of rank

Rank Date Component
      Private  June 30, 1942 Army of the United States
Army of the United States
The Army of the United States is the official name for the conscription force of the United States Army that may be raised at the discretion of the United States Congress in the event of the United States entering into a major armed conflict...

Private First Class May 7, 1943 Army of the United States
Corporal July 15, 1943 Army of the United States
Sergeant December 13, 1943 Army of the United States
Staff Sergeant January 13, 1944 Army of the United States
Second Lieutenant October 14, 1944 Army of the United States
First Lieutenant February 16, 1945 Army of the United States
First Lieutenant August 21, 1945 Officers Reserve Corps
United States Army Reserve
The United States Army Reserve is the federal reserve force of the United States Army. Together, the Army Reserve and the Army National Guard constitute the reserve components of the United States Army....

Captain June 14, 1950 Texas National Guard
Texas National Guard
The Texas National Guard consists of the Texas Army National Guard and the Texas Air National Guard. The Guard is administered by the adjutant general, an appointee of the governor of Texas. The Constitution of the United States specifically charges the National Guard with dual federal and state...

Captain October 19, 1950 National Guard of the United States
Major
Major (United States)
In the United States Army, Air Force, and Marine Corps, major is a field grade military officer rank just above the rank of captain and just below the rank of lieutenant colonel...

February 14, 1956 Texas National Guard
Major
Major (United States)
In the United States Army, Air Force, and Marine Corps, major is a field grade military officer rank just above the rank of captain and just below the rank of lieutenant colonel...

February 14, 1956 National Guard of the United States
Major
Major (United States)
In the United States Army, Air Force, and Marine Corps, major is a field grade military officer rank just above the rank of captain and just below the rank of lieutenant colonel...

November 8, 1966 United States Army Reserve
United States Army Reserve
The United States Army Reserve is the federal reserve force of the United States Army. Together, the Army Reserve and the Army National Guard constitute the reserve components of the United States Army....

Major
Major (United States)
In the United States Army, Air Force, and Marine Corps, major is a field grade military officer rank just above the rank of captain and just below the rank of lieutenant colonel...

May 22, 1969 United States Army Retired Reserve


Movie career


After seeing the young hero's photo on the cover of the July 16 edition of Life Magazine and sensing star potential, actor James Cagney
James Cagney
James Francis Cagney, Jr. was an American actor, first on stage, then in film, where he had his greatest impact. Although he won acclaim and major awards for a wide variety of performances, he is best remembered for playing "tough guys." In 1999, the American Film Institute ranked him eighth...

 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. He eventually received token acting parts in the 1948 films Beyond Glory and Texas, Brooklyn and Heaven. His third movie, Bad Boy
Bad Boy (1949 film)
Bad Boy is a 1949 film starring Audie Murphy in his first leading role. It was directed by Kurt Neumann.In the film, Murphy plays Danny Lester, a hardened juvenile delinquent sent away by a judge to a Variety Clubs Boys Ranch in Texas run by Marshall Brown and his wife Maud where the couple...

, gave him his first leading role.

He also starred in the 1951 adaptation of Stephen Crane
Stephen Crane
Stephen Crane was an American novelist, short story writer, poet and journalist. Prolific throughout his short life, he wrote notable works in the Realist tradition as well as early examples of American Naturalism and Impressionism...

's Civil War
American Civil War
The American Civil War was a civil war fought in the United States of America. In response to the election of Abraham Lincoln as President of the United States, 11 southern slave states declared their secession from the United States and formed the Confederate States of America ; the other 25...

 novel, The Red Badge of Courage
The Red Badge of Courage
The Red Badge of Courage is a war novel by American author Stephen Crane . Taking place during the American Civil War, the story is about a young private of the Union Army, Henry Fleming, who flees from the field of battle. Overcome with shame, he longs for a wound—a "red badge of courage"—to...

, which earned critical success. Murphy expressed great discomfort in playing himself in To Hell and Back. In 1959, he starred in the western No Name on the Bullet
No Name on the Bullet
No Name on the Bullet is a 1959 western film. It is one of a handful of pictures in that genre directed by Jack Arnold, better known for his science-fiction movies of the era...

, in which his performance was well-received despite being cast as the villain, a professional killer who managed to stay within the law.

First starring role


After returning home from World War II, Murphy bought a house in Farmersville, Texas
Farmersville, Texas
Farmersville is a city in Collin County, Texas, United States. The population was 3,118 at the 2000 census.-Geography:Farmersville is located at ....

 for his oldest sister Corrine, her husband Poland Burns, and their three children. His three youngest siblings, Nadine, Billie, and Joe, had been living in an orphanage
Orphanage
An orphanage is a residential institution devoted to the care of orphans – children whose parents are deceased or otherwise unable or unwilling to care for them...

 since Murphy's mother's death, He intended that they would be able to live with Corrine and Poland. However, six children under one roof proved difficult for Corrine and Poland to parent, and Murphy took his siblings to live with him.

Despite a lot of post-war publicity, his acting career had not progressed and he had difficulty making a living. Buck, Murphy's oldest brother, and his wife agreed to take Nadine in, but Murphy could not find a home for Joe. He approached James "Skipper" Cherry, a Dallas theater owner who was involved with the Variety Clubs International Boy's Ranch, a 4800 acres (19.4 km²) ranch near Copperas Cove, Texas
Copperas Cove, Texas
Copperas Cove is a city located in central Texas at the southern corner of Coryell County, with city limits extending into neighboring Bell and Lampasas Counties. Founded in 1879 as a small ranching and farming community, today the city is the largest in Coryell County, with more than 30,000...

. He arranged for Joe to live at the Boy's Ranch. Joe was very happy there and Murphy was able to frequently visit his brother as well as his friend Cherry. In a 1973 interview, Cherry recalled, "He was discouraged and somewhat despondent concerning his movie career."

Variety Clubs International was financing a film Bad Boy to help promote the organization's work with troubled children. Cherry called Texas theater executive Paul Short, who was producing the film, to suggest that they consider giving Murphy a significant role in the movie. Murphy performed well in the screen test, but the president of Allied Artists did not want to cast someone in a major role with so little acting experience. Cherry, Short, and other Texas theater owners decided that they wanted Murphy to play the lead or would not finance the film. The producers agreed and Murphy's performance was well-received by Hollywood. As a result of the film, Universal Studios
Universal Studios
Universal Pictures , a subsidiary of NBCUniversal, is one of the six major movie studios....

 signed Murphy to a seven-year studio contract
Studio system
The studio system was a means of film production and distribution dominant in Hollywood from the early 1920s through the early 1960s. The term studio system refers to the practice of large motion picture studios producing movies primarily on their own filmmaking lots with creative personnel under...

. After a few box-office hits at Universal, the studio bosses gave Murphy increased scope in choosing his roles.

Autobiography To Hell and Back


Murphy's 1949 autobiography To Hell and Back became a national bestseller. The book was ghostwritten by his friend David "Spec" McClure, already a professional writer. Murphy modestly described some of his most heroic actions—without portraying himself as a hero. He did not mention any of the many decorations he received, but praised the skills, bravery, and dedication of the other members of his platoon. Murphy even attributed a song he had written to "Kerrigan".

Murphy portrayed himself in the 1955 film version of his book with the same title, To Hell and Back
To Hell and Back (film)
To Hell and Back is a CinemaScope war film released in 1955. It was directed by Jesse Hibbs and starred Audie Murphy as himself and Kyle Sanville. It is based on the 1949 autobiography of the same name and is an account of Murphy's World War II experiences as a soldier in the U.S. Army...

. Murphy was initially reluctant to star in To Hell and Back, fearing it would appear he was cashing in on his war experience. He suggested Tony Curtis
Tony Curtis
Tony Curtis was an American film actor whose career spanned six decades, but had his greatest popularity during the 1950s and early 1960s. He acted in over 100 films in roles covering a wide range of genres, from light comedy to serious drama...

 for the role. In To Hell and Back, unlike most Hollywood films, where the same soldiers serve throughout the movie, Murphy's comrades are killed or wounded as they were in real life. At the film's end, Murphy is the only member of his original unit remaining. At the ceremony where Murphy is awarded the Medal of Honor
Medal of Honor
The Medal of Honor is the highest military decoration awarded by the United States government. It is bestowed by the President, in the name of Congress, upon members of the United States Armed Forces who distinguish themselves through "conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his or her...

, the ghostly images of his dead friends are depicted. This insistence on reality has been attributed to Murphy and his desire to honor his fallen friends.

The film grossed almost US$10 million during its initial theatrical release, and at the time became Universal Studios's biggest hit of the studio's 43-year history. The movie held the record as the company's highest-grossing motion picture until 1975, when it was surpassed by Steven Spielberg
Steven Spielberg
Steven Allan Spielberg KBE is an American film director, screenwriter, producer, video game designer, and studio entrepreneur. In a career of more than four decades, Spielberg's films have covered many themes and genres. Spielberg's early science-fiction and adventure films were seen as an...

's Jaws
Jaws (film)
Jaws is a 1975 American horror-thriller film directed by Steven Spielberg and based on Peter Benchley's novel of the same name. In the story, the police chief of Amity Island, a fictional summer resort town, tries to protect beachgoers from a giant man-eating great white shark by closing the beach,...

.

Audie Murphy's oldest son, Terry, portrayed Audie's younger brother Joseph Preston "Joe" Murphy (at age four).

The film was introduced by General Walter Bedell Smith
Walter Bedell Smith
Walter Bedell "Beetle" Smith was a senior United States Army general who served as General Dwight D. Eisenhower's chief of staff at Allied Forces Headquarters during the Tunisia Campaign and the Allied invasion of Italy...

, United States Army, Retired. During World War II, Smith had served as Chief of Staff to General Dwight D. Eisenhower
Dwight D. Eisenhower
Dwight David "Ike" Eisenhower was the 34th President of the United States, from 1953 until 1961. He was a five-star general in the United States Army...

. Harold B. Simpson's 1975 comprehensive biography, Audie Murphy, American Soldier, covers the breadth of Murphy's life. The book emphasizes his military exploits, and includes photos, maps, and battle-maneuver diagrams. Murphy's post-war career is also well-documented.

Filmography



In the 25 years he spent in Hollywood, Murphy made 44 feature films, 33 of them Westerns. His highest grossing film was the autobiographical To Hell and Back, which was the highest grossing film for Universal Pictures
Universal Pictures
-1920:* White Youth* The Flaming Disc* Am I Dreaming?* The Dragon's Net* The Adorable Savage* Putting It Over* The Line Runners-1921:* The Fire Eater* A Battle of Wits* Dream Girl* The Millionaire...

, until Jaws in 1975. His films earned him close to $3 million in his 23 years as an actor. He also appeared in several television shows, including the lead in the short-lived 1961 NBC
NBC
The National Broadcasting Company is an American commercial broadcasting television network and former radio network headquartered in the GE Building in New York City's Rockefeller Center with additional major offices near Los Angeles and in Chicago...

 western
Western (genre)
The Western is a genre of various visual arts, such as film, television, radio, literature, painting and others. Westerns are devoted to telling stories set primarily in the latter half of the 19th century in the American Old West, hence the name. Some Westerns are set as early as the Battle of...

 detective
Detective
A detective is an investigator, either a member of a police agency or a private person. The latter may be known as private investigators or "private eyes"...

 series Whispering Smith
Whispering Smith (TV series)
Whispering Smith is a short-lived American Western series that aired on NBC. Based on a 1948 movie, the series stars Audie Murphy as Tom "Whispering" Smith, a police detective in Denver, Colorado...

, set in Denver, Colorado
Denver, Colorado
The City and County of Denver is the capital and the most populous city of the U.S. state of Colorado. Denver is a consolidated city-county, located in the South Platte River Valley on the western edge of the High Plains just east of the Front Range of the Rocky Mountains...

. For his contribution to the motion picture industry, Murphy has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame
Hollywood Walk of Fame
The Hollywood Walk of Fame consists of more than 2,400 five-pointed terrazzo and brass stars embedded in the sidewalks along fifteen blocks of Hollywood Boulevard and three blocks of Vine Street in Hollywood, California...

 at 1601 Vine Street.

Music career


In addition to acting, Murphy also became successful as a country music songwriter. He teamed up with musicians and composers including Guy Mitchell
Guy Mitchell
Guy Mitchell, born Albert George Cernik, was an American pop singer, successful in his homeland, the U.K. and Australia...

, Jimmy Bryant
Jimmy Bryant
Jimmy Bryant was a prominent American session guitarist. He was billed as "The Fastest Guitar in the Country".-Biography:Ivy J. Bryant, Jr. was born in Moultrie, Georgia, the oldest of 12 children...

, Scott Turner, Coy Ziegler, Ray and Terri Eddlemon. Murphy's songs were recorded and released by well-known artists including Dean Martin
Dean Martin
Dean Martin was an American singer, film actor, television star and comedian. Martin's hit singles included "Memories Are Made of This", "That's Amore", "Everybody Loves Somebody", "You're Nobody till Somebody Loves You", "Sway", "Volare" and "Ain't That a Kick in the Head?"...

, Eddy Arnold
Eddy Arnold
Richard Edward Arnold , known professionally as Eddy Arnold, was an American country music singer who performed for six decades. He was a so-called Nashville sound innovator of the late 1950s, and scored 147 songs on the Billboard country music charts, second only to George Jones. He sold more...

, Charley Pride
Charley Pride
Charley Frank Pride is an American country music singer. His smooth baritone voice was featured on thirty-nine number-one hits on the Billboard Hot Country Songs charts. His greatest success came in the early- to mid-1970s, when he became the best-selling performer for RCA Records since Elvis...

, Jimmy Bryant, Porter Waggoner, Jerry Wallace
Jerry Wallace
Jerry Wallace was an American country and pop singer. Between 1958 and 1964, Wallace charted nine hits on the Billboard Hot 100, including the #8 "Primrose Lane." He made his debut on the country music charts in 1965, entering it thirty-five times between then and 1980. In that timespan, Wallace...

, Roy Clark
Roy Clark
Roy Linwood Clark is an American country music musician and performer. He is best known for hosting Hee Haw, a nationally televised country variety show, from 1969–1992. Clark has been an important and influential figure in country music, both as a performer and helping to popularize the genre...

, and Harry Nilsson
Harry Nilsson
Harry Edward Nilsson III was an American singer-songwriter who achieved the peak of his commercial success in the early 1970s. On all but his earliest recordings he is credited as Nilsson...

. His two biggest hits were "Shutters and Boards" and "When the Wind Blows in Chicago".

Post-war illness


Murphy was reportedly plagued by insomnia, bouts of depression, and nightmare
Nightmare
A nightmare is an unpleasant dream that can cause a strong negative emotional response from the mind, typically fear or horror, but also despair, anxiety and great sadness. The dream may contain situations of danger, discomfort, psychological or physical terror...

s related to his numerous battles throughout his life. His first wife, Wanda Hendrix
Wanda Hendrix
Wanda Hendrix was an American film and television actress.Born Dixie Wanda Hendrix in Jacksonville, Florida, Hendrix was performing in her local amateur theater when she was seen by a talent agent who signed her to a Hollywood contract...

, 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
Korean War
The Korean War was a conventional war between South Korea, supported by the United Nations, and North Korea, supported by the People's Republic of China , with military material aid from the Soviet Union...

 and Vietnam War
Vietnam War
The Vietnam War was a Cold War-era military conflict that occurred in Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia from 1 November 1955 to the fall of Saigon on 30 April 1975. This war followed the First Indochina War and was fought between North Vietnam, supported by its communist allies, and the government of...

 veterans, Murphy spoke out candidly about his own problems with PTSD, known then and during World War II as "battle fatigue
Combat stress reaction
Combat stress reaction , in the past commonly known as shell shock or battle fatigue, is a range of behaviours resulting from the stress of battle which decrease the combatant's fighting efficiency. The most common symptoms are fatigue, slower reaction times, indecision, disconnection from one's...

". 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.

Murphy married actress Wanda Hendrix
Wanda Hendrix
Wanda Hendrix was an American film and television actress.Born Dixie Wanda Hendrix in Jacksonville, Florida, Hendrix was performing in her local amateur theater when she was seen by a talent agent who signed her to a Hollywood contract...

 in 1949; they were divorced in 1951. He then married former airline stewardess Pamela Archer, 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. Murphy became a successful actor, rancher, and businessman, breeding and raising quarter horses. He owned ranches in Texas, Tucson, Arizona
Tucson, Arizona
Tucson is a city in and the county seat of Pima County, Arizona, United States. The city is located 118 miles southeast of Phoenix and 60 miles north of the U.S.-Mexico border. The 2010 United States Census puts the city's population at 520,116 with a metropolitan area population at 1,020,200...

 and Menifee, California
Menifee, California
Menifee is a relatively new city located in Southwestern Riverside County, California, United States. The city is roughly in size. As of the 2010 census, Menifee has a population of about 77,519...

.

Death


Around 11:08am on May 28, 1971, Murphy was killed when the private plane in which he was a passenger crashed into Brush Mountain, near Catawba, Virginia
Catawba, Virginia
Catawba is an unincorporated community in the northern section of Roanoke County, Virginia, United States. Catawba occupies the Catawba Valley bound on the south by the north slope of Catawba Mountain and on the north by several mountains which form the border between Roanoke County and Craig...

, 20 miles west of Roanoke, Virginia
Roanoke, Virginia
Roanoke is an independent city in the Mid-Atlantic U.S. state of Virginia and is the tenth-largest city in the Commonwealth. It is located in the Roanoke Valley of the Roanoke Region of Virginia. The population within the city limits was 97,032 as of 2010...

. The pilot and four other passengers were also killed. The aircraft was a twin engine Aero Commander 680 with registration number N601JJ, flown by a pilot who had private-pilot license and a reported 8,000 hours of flying time, but who held no instrument rating. The aircraft was recovered on May 31, 1971.

In 1974, a large granite
Granite
Granite is a common and widely occurring type of intrusive, felsic, igneous rock. Granite usually has a medium- to coarse-grained texture. Occasionally some individual crystals are larger than the groundmass, in which case the texture is known as porphyritic. A granitic rock with a porphyritic...

 marker was erected at 37.364554N 80.225748W lat/long at 3,100' elevation, near the crash site. A close friend, Captain Carl Swickerath (whose own burial site is now directly in front of Murphy's), represented the Murphy family at the dedication.

On June 7, 1971, Murphy was buried with full military honors at Arlington National Cemetery
Arlington National Cemetery
Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington County, Virginia, is a military cemetery in the United States of America, established during the American Civil War on the grounds of Arlington House, formerly the estate of the family of Confederate general Robert E. Lee's wife Mary Anna Lee, a great...

. The official U.S. representative at the ceremony was decorated World War II veteran and future President George H. W. Bush
George H. W. Bush
George Herbert Walker Bush is an American politician who served as the 41st President of the United States . He had previously served as the 43rd Vice President of the United States , a congressman, an ambassador, and Director of Central Intelligence.Bush was born in Milton, Massachusetts, to...

. Murphy's grave site is in Section 46, headstone number 46-366-11, located across Memorial Drive from the Amphitheater. A special flagstone walkway was later constructed to accommodate the large number of people who visit to pay their respects. It is the second most-visited grave site, after that of President John F. Kennedy
John F. Kennedy
John Fitzgerald "Jack" Kennedy , often referred to by his initials JFK, was the 35th President of the United States, serving from 1961 until his assassination in 1963....

.

The headstones of Medal of Honor recipients buried at Arlington National Cemetery are normally decorated in gold leaf. Murphy previously requested that his stone remain plain and inconspicuous, like that of an ordinary soldier. An unknown person maintains a small American flag next to his engraved Government-issue headstone, which reads as follows:
Audie L. Murphy, Texas. Major, Infantry, World War II. June 20, 1924 to May 28, 1971. Medal of Honor, DSC, SS & OLC, LM, BSM & OLC, PH & 2 OLC.


(Key to abbreviations:
DSC = Distinguished Service Cross;
SS = Silver Star;
LM = Legion of Merit;
BSM = Bronze Star Medal;
PH = Purple Heart;
OLC = Oak Leaf Cluster.)

An Oak Leaf Cluster signifies a subsequent award of the same decoration. First Lieutenant Murphy was one of very few company-grade officers ever to be awarded the Legion of Merit. That decoration is usually awarded only to officers of the rank of lieutenant colonel and above. At his funeral, a friend noted "Like the man, the headstone is too small".

Questions arose about the nature of the plane crash that claimed Murphy's life. In April 1971, Murphy had sought the release of his friend, Teamster Union president Jimmy Hoffa
Jimmy Hoffa
James Riddle "Jimmy" Hoffa was an American labor union leader....

, from federal prison on conviction in 1964 of jury tampering
Jury tampering
Jury tampering is the crime of unduly attempting to influence the composition and/or decisions of a jury during the course of a trial.The means by which this crime could be perpetrated can include attempting to discredit potential jurors to ensure they will not be selected for duty. Once selected,...

. (Murphy had tried to persuade Edward Grady Partin
Edward Grady Partin
Edward Grady Partin, Sr. , was a business agent of the Teamsters Union in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. His testimony in 1964 helped to convict union president James Riddle Hoffa of jury tampering.-Early years:...

 of Baton Rouge
Baton Rouge, Louisiana
Baton Rouge is the capital of the U.S. state of Louisiana. It is located in East Baton Rouge Parish and is the second-largest city in the state.Baton Rouge is a major industrial, petrochemical, medical, and research center of the American South...

, the Teamsters business agent who had provided immunized testimony against Hoffa, to recant his earlier claims.) Following Murphy's death, Arthur Egan, who had worked with Murphy in the bid to get Hoffa freed, said he suspected that the fatal plane crash was not an accident. However, Hoffa was freed seven months after Murphy's death and no forensic evidence has arisen to suggest the plane crash was in any way connected to the Hoffa case or not the result of an accident.

Other honors



A number of schools and other buildings have been named after Murphy, and he has been the subject of several statues.
  • July 8, 1948: Murphy was awarded the title of “Honorary Citizen” of Ramatuelle
    Ramatuelle
    Ramatuelle is a commune in the Var department in the Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur region in southeastern France.It lies near St-Tropez, Sainte-Maxime and Gassin. It was built on a hill to defend itself against enemies...

    , France by the municipal council, under the presidency of Mainaur Bathisi Henri, Mayor of the Commune.
  • July 17, 1948: In Paris, France, Murphy was made an honorary member in the 159th French Alpine Regiment.
  • February 12, 1949: During special and unprecedented ceremonies at Texas A&M University
    Texas A&M University
    Texas A&M University is a coeducational public research university located in College Station, Texas . It is the flagship institution of the Texas A&M University System. The sixth-largest university in the United States, A&M's enrollment for Fall 2011 was over 50,000 for the first time in school...

    , 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
    Texas Ranger Division
    The Texas Ranger Division, commonly called the Texas Rangers, is a law enforcement agency with statewide jurisdiction in Texas, and is based in Austin, Texas...

     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
    Falfurrias, Texas
    Falfurrias is a city in and the county seat of Brooks County, Texas, United States. The population was 5,297 at the 2000 census. The town is named for founder Edward Cunningham Lasater's ranch, La Mota de Falfurrias. In 1893, the Falfurrias ranch was one of the largest in Texas at some 350,000...

    .
  • February 14, 1955: Initiated into the Scottish Rite
    Scottish Rite
    The Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite of Freemasonry , commonly known as simply the Scottish Rite, is one of several Rites of the worldwide fraternity known as Freemasonry...

     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
    Hollywood Walk of Fame
    The Hollywood Walk of Fame consists of more than 2,400 five-pointed terrazzo and brass stars embedded in the sidewalks along fifteen blocks of Hollywood Boulevard and three blocks of Vine Street in Hollywood, California...

    .
  • 1971: The Audie Murphy Patriotism Award is named in honor of Murphy. The Chamber of Commerce of Decatur, Alabama
    Decatur, Alabama
    Decatur is a city in Limestone and Morgan Counties in the U.S. state of Alabama. The city, affectionately known as "The River City", is located in Northern Alabama on the banks of Wheeler Lake, along the Tennessee River. It is the largest city and county seat of Morgan County...

     instituted the Audie Murphy Patriotism Award to take place during their "Spirit of America Festival
    Spirit of America Festival
    The Spirit of America Festival is one of the largest free Fourth of July celebrations in the Southern United States. The two day outdoor festival, set at Point Mallard Park in Decatur, Alabama, hosts a variety of traditional summer activities...

    ". Murphy was to have been the first recipient, but was killed, Memorial Day Weekend, May 28, 1971. His widow, Pamela, accepted on his behalf.
  • 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
    Bob Hope Patriotic Hall
    Bob Hope Patriotic Hall is a 10 story building that was dedicated as Patriotic Hall by the Los Angeles Board of Supervisors in 1925 and was built to serve veterans of Indian Wars, Spanish American War, World War I and to support the Grand Army of the Republic...

    , County of Los Angeles, Department of Military and Veterans Affairs at 1816 South Figueroa Street.
  • On November 17, 1973, the Audie L. Murphy Memorial Veterans Hospital in San Antonio, Texas
    San Antonio, Texas
    San Antonio is the seventh-largest city in the United States of America and the second-largest city within the state of Texas, with a population of 1.33 million. Located in the American Southwest and the south–central part of Texas, the city serves as the seat of Bexar County. In 2011,...

     was dedicated. Outside, there is a one-tonne bronze, eight-foot-tall statue of Murphy. 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
    Christiansburg, Virginia
    Christiansburg is a town in Montgomery County, Virginia, United States. The population was 21,041 at the 2010 census. It is the county seat of Montgomery County...

    .
  • 1981: Murphy inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame.
  • 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.
  • October 14, 1991: The West African nation of Sierra Leone
    Sierra Leone
    Sierra Leone , officially the Republic of Sierra Leone, is a country in West Africa. It is bordered by Guinea to the north and east, Liberia to the southeast, and the Atlantic Ocean to the west and southwest. Sierra Leone covers a total area of and has an estimated population between 5.4 and 6.4...

     issued a set of 12 stamps recognizing key World War 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
    Guyana
    Guyana , officially the Co-operative Republic of Guyana, previously the colony of British Guiana, is a sovereign state on the northern coast of South America that is culturally part of the Anglophone Caribbean. Guyana was a former colony of the Dutch and of the British...

     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
    Commonwealth of Nations
    The Commonwealth of Nations, normally referred to as the Commonwealth and formerly known as the British Commonwealth, is an intergovernmental organisation of fifty-four independent member states...

    , 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
    Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
    Oklahoma City is the capital and the largest city in the state of Oklahoma. The county seat of Oklahoma County, the city ranks 31st among United States cities in population. The city's population, from the 2010 census, was 579,999, with a metro-area population of 1,252,987 . In 2010, the Oklahoma...

     at the "35th Annual Western Heritage Awards".
  • June 1996 the Texas Legislature
    Texas Legislature
    The Legislature of the state of Texas is the state legislature of the U.S. state of Texas. The legislature is a bicameral body composed of a 31-member Senate and a 150-member House of Representatives. The Legislature meets at the Capitol in Austin...

     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 as 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.
  • 1999: Texas Governor George W. Bush
    George W. Bush
    George Walker Bush is an American politician who served as the 43rd President of the United States, from 2001 to 2009. Before that, he was the 46th Governor of Texas, having served from 1995 to 2000....

     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, renamed The Audie Murphy/American Cotton Museum (in Greenville, Texas), which 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.
  • 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 2000: A full size bronze bust of Murphy was dedicated outside City Hall, Greenville, Texas.
  • June 22, 2002: Ten foot, 2,200 pound hollow bronze statue of Murphy was unveiled and dedicated on the grounds of the Audie Murphy American Cotton Museum.
  • September 2004: Murphy plaque was dedicated at the Masonic Lounge in North Hollywood, California
  • October 23, 2004: During a yearly event, an Audie Murphy Star was dedicated at the Fort Worth Stockyards
    Fort Worth Stockyards
    The Fort Worth Stockyards is a historic district that is located in Fort Worth, Texas, north of the central business district. The district was listed on the National Register of Historic Places as Fort Worth Stockyards Historic District in 1976...

     National Historic District
    National Historic District
    National Historic District may refer to a historic district designated by a national government, including:* a historic district listed on the United States National Register of Historic Places * a United States National Historic Landmark District...

    .
  • October 21, 2005: The 8th Annual Silver Spur Awards took place in Studio City, California. Michael Dante presented to Audie's widow, Pamela Murphy, while his sons looked on.
  • July 11, 2007: Ft. Stewart, Georgia: Audie Murphy Soldier Support Center was established.
  • November 2010: Audie Murphy was nominated for a posthumous bestowal of the Texas Legislative Medal of Honor
    Texas Legislative Medal of Honor
    The Texas Legislative Medal of Honor is the highest military decoration that may be awarded to a member of the Texas Military Forces. This includes Air National Guard, Army National Guard, and State Guard...

    , the highest military award within the State of Texas. As of April 2011, the matter is still in committee.

See also


  • Audie Murphy legacy
    Audie Murphy legacy
    The Audie Murphy legacy or cultural influence involves events and organizations that endure beyond the lifetime of Audie Murphy, who was the most decorated United States soldier during World War II, and who also became a Hollywood actor appearing in 44 films and on various television shows...

  • Matt Urban
    Matt Urban
    Lieutenant Colonel Matt Louis Urban was a United States Army infantry officer who served with distinction in the African and European Theater of Operations in World War II. He scouted, led charges upfront, and performed heroically in combat on several occasions even after being wounded. He was...

  • Richard Bong
    Richard Bong
    Richard Ira "Dick" Bong is the United States' highest-scoring air ace, having shot down at least 40 Japanese aircraft during World War II. He was a fighter pilot in the U.S. Army Air Forces and a recipient of the Medal of Honor...

    , United States Army Air Force, World War II

Sources

  • Gossett, Sue. The Films and Career of Audie Murphy, N.C., Empire Publishing, 1996.
  • Graham, Don. No Name on the Bullet, N.Y.: Viking, 1989.
  • Murphy, Audie. To Hell and Back, N.Y.: Holt, 1949.
  • Editors, Super GI, Life Magazine-World War II-Special Issue,Vol 8, number 6, Spring-Summer 1985, 28.
  • Whiting, Charles. American Hero Eskdale Publishing, 2000 ISBN 0-7505-1908-8

External links



work=World War II Congressional Medal of Honor Recipient|author=Russ Dodge|date=January 01, 2001|accessdate=August 16, 2011}}