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Audie Leon Murphy, son of poor Texas sharecroppers, rose to national fame as the most decorated U.S. combat soldier of World War II (Audie L). At age 12 as an orphan growing up in Texas, he was already a fair shot with a rifle. At that time, his family was very poor, so he quit school to work for a neighboring farmer, himself an ex-marine, and who influentially always said, “my biggest mistake I ever made was gettin’ out (of the Military)”. Audie’s mom approved of him quitting school to work by saying to the other kids, “we’ve just decided who the head of the family is” (Audie).

A few years later, when W.W.II broke out, the kind hearted Audie was out working when he heard his mom died. After conversing with his boss, who said you “can do more for the other kids (in your family) with service pay than any other way … think of it as a career…if I’d stayed in, I’d be a General by now!” (Audie L). Audie joined the military, with great hardship, considering he joined by his own will and desire, under age even (Audie).

Audie enlisted at age 18 (Audie L). During Murphy’s 3 years active service as a combat soldier in World War II, what Audie accomplished during this period is most significant and probably will never be repeated by another soldier, given today’s high-tech type of warefare. The U.S. Army has always declared that there will never be another Audie Murphy (Audie). Among his 33 awards and decorations was the Medal of Honor, the highest military award for bravery that can be given to any individual in the United States of America, for “conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty.” He also received every decoration for valor that his country had to offer, some of them more than once, including 5 decorations by France and Belgium (Audie L).

Credited with killing over 240 of the enemy while wounding and capturing many others, he became a legend within the 3rd Infantry Division. Beginning his service as an Army Private, Audie quickly rose to the enlisted rank of Staff Sergeant. He was then given a “battle field” commission as 2nd Lieutenant, was wounded three times, fought in 9 major campaigns across the European Theater, and survived the war (Audie). On 21 September, 1945, Audie was released from the Army as an active member and reassigned to inactive status (Audie L). Audie is compared to the most popular WWI war hero, Sergeant York (Audie).

Audie suffered from what is now known as Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome (PTS) and was plagued by insomnia and depression (Audie). Audie Leon Murphy died in a plane crash in 1971 at the age of 46. Audie Murphy remains a unique figure in modern America because of his significant presence in both our military history and our popular culture (Audie L).

Heroism, gallantry, chivalric duty, great courage, valor, and bravery–some of these words would never be used to describe some of our enlisted men and women. People who give of them selflessly, and open themselves to many different opportunities, promotions, and experiences are true heroes. Many of these heroes have long ago died, and in this day and age it is hard to find a good hero or role model with all the negative influence around us. Audie Murphy was a true hero, a brave, courageous, and chivalrous man. Heroism – epitomized by the fact that he refused medical help when most needed, as when he stood upon a tank, which could explode at any time, and solely shot down an entire opposing infantry, after he ordered his troops behind him, and into the woods for safety, as they all on looked in awe as Audie defeated an entire infantry by himself. Audie always did things beyond the call of duty, no one ever asked him to do the heroic things he did – it was his nature (Audie). Above and beyond the call of duty was pure Audie. No one had to ask him to do things, he was already doing them. Audie Murphy could be called the greatest hero of the 21st century.

“Audie Leon Murphy.” Audie Murphy Research Foundation. 8 Jan 2001. http://www. audiemurphy.com/biograph.htm.

“Audie Murphy.” Brian Taylor War Webspace. 8 Jan 2001 http://www.briantaylor .com/AudieMurphy.htm.


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