Audie Leon Murphy (20 June 1925 – 28 May 1971) was one of the most decorated American combat soldiers of World War II, receiving every military combat award for valor available from the U.S. Army, as well as French and Belgian awards for heroism. The 19-year-old Murphy received the Medal of Honor after single-handedly holding off an entire company of Germans for an hour at the Colmar Pocket in France in January 1945, then leading a successful counterattack while wounded and out of ammunition.

Audie Leon Murphy was born the seventh of twelve children to Emmett Berry Murphy and his wife Josie Bell Killian on 20 June 1925, in Kingston, Hunt County, Texas. The Murphys were sharecroppers of Irish descent. His father abandoned them, and his mother died when he was a teenager. Murphy left school in fifth grade to pick cotton and find other work to help support his family; his skill with a hunting rifle was a necessity for putting food on the table. Murphy's older sister helped him to falsify documentation about his birth date to meet the minimum-age requirement for enlisting in the military, and after being turned down by the Navy and the Marine Corps he enlisted in the Army. He first saw action in the Allied invasion of Sicily and Anzio, and in 1944 was part of the liberation of Rome and invasion of southern France. Murphy fought at Montélimar, and led his men on a successful assault at the L'Omet quarry near Cleurie in northeastern France in October of that year.

After the war Murphy enjoyed a 21-year acting career. He played himself in the 1955 autobiographical To Hell and Back based on his 1949 memoirs of the same name, but most of his films were westerns. He made guest appearances on celebrity television shows and starred in the series Whispering Smith. Murphy was a fairly accomplished songwriter, and bred quarter horses in California and Arizona, becoming a regular participant in horse racing.

Suffering what would today be termed post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), he slept with a loaded handgun under his pillow and looked for solace in addictive sleeping pills. In the last few years of his life he was plagued by money problems, but refused offers to appear in alcohol and cigarette commercials because he did not want to set a bad example. Murphy died in a plane crash in Virginia in 1971 shortly before his 46th birthday, and was interred with full military honors at Arlington National Cemetery.

Source: Wikipedia

Views: 1850

Tags: Genealogy, Military History, United States

Comment by Gerry Regan on May 28, 2014 at 5:35pm

Dee, thanks for offering details of Murphy's life. I'd of course heard of his heroics and later acting career, but never knew much more beyond that.

Comment by Bryan Stallard on May 28, 2014 at 7:22pm

Dee -

not to start a fuss, but in the pantheon of American warriors named MURPHY, let's not overlook the preeminent GOD of the sniper community, TIMOTHY: ( believe there is a TIMOTHY-named facility in Fort Benning, and there is also gym named for AUDIE)

with a wee bit of luck, Audie could have played Timothy in a movie version, just as well as he played himself in the 1955 movie TO HELL AND BACK.

Comment by Patrick J. O'Leary on May 28, 2014 at 11:48pm

Before Ft McPherson, in Atlanta, GA  closed down,  there was a set of living quarters for the soldiers assigned to FORSCOM  and Ft McPherson  aptly  named:  Audie Murphy Barracks.  Also, with the the Third Infantry Division, the Army Division Audi Murphy went to war with,  Audie Murphy is in their history and tradition.  That patch you see on his left shoulder, Blue and White alternate and diagonal  is the unit patch of the US Army Third Infantry Division - ( Rock of the Marne  is the unit slogan ).  Just thought to add this.  >>

Comment by Finola Mulholland on May 29, 2014 at 3:56am

I had no idea Audie Murphy was anything but an actor. An amazing guy, and a horse lover to boot !  I shall view his work with new eyes.

Comment by Dee Notaro on May 29, 2014 at 4:02am

Thank all of you for your comments...I just really did a brief outline...There was a time when I thought all he ever was was an actor. Age makes you take a closer look at some people....."Lest we forget" . 

Comment by Bit Devine on August 13, 2014 at 12:34pm

Audie was an amazing fellow...and a very kind person, too boot... I will have to see if my Father still has the photo of me sitting on Audie's knee...

He ran some mighty fine horses, to be sure


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