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First Name: Charles

Last Name: Murray

Birthplace: Baltimore, MD, USA

Gender: Male

Branch: Army (1784 - present)

Middle Name: Patrick

Date of Birth: 26 September 1921

Date of Death: 12 August 2011

Rank: Colonel

Years Served: 1942 - 1973
Charles Patrick Murray, Jr.

•  World War II (1941 - 1945)
•  Korean War (1950 - 1953)
•  Vietnam War (1960 - 1973)


Charles Patrick Murray, Jr.

Colonel, U.S. Army

Medal of Honor Recipient

World War II

Colonel Charles Patrick Murray, Jr. (26 September 1921 - 12 August 2011) was a retired U.S. Army officer and a recipient of the U.S. military's highest award for valor, the Medal of Honor, for his actions during World War II. He also fought in the Korean and Vietnam Wars.

Charles Patrick Murray, Jr. was born on 26 September 1921 in Baltimore, MD. At age one, Murray's family moved to Wilmington, NC. After graduating from Wilmington's New Hanover High School in 1938, he attended the University of North Carolina. He was drafted into the U.S. Army in 1942, after his third year of college.

Arriving in northeastern France in October 1944, Second Lieutenant Murray was assigned as a replacement platoon leader to Company C of the 30th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Infantry Division. The division had landed in Saint-Tropez on the southern coast of France months earlier and was pushing northward towards Germany. On 8 December 1944, Murray became Company Commander.

Early on 16 December, Company C crossed the Weiss River in the northern Vosges Mountains and established a defensive position atop Hill 512, just south of the village of Kaysersberg. Later that morning, Murray, now a First Lieutenant, led a platoon-sized group on a reconnaissance mission to the southeast, towards Ammerschwihr. Descending the vineyard-covered hill along a winding footpath, the group noticed German soldiers in a sunken road, about 150 yards away, firing on an American hilltop position. Creeping forward to a point from which he could see the 200-man German unit, Murray made a radio call for artillery support. When the artillery landed slightly off target, he attempted to call for a range correction but the radio went dead. Not wanting to send his patrol against the much larger German force, he retrieved rifle grenades from his men and returned to his vantage point to begin a single-handed attack on the position. Although his fire alerted the Germans to his location, he continued to shoot grenades and later an automatic rifle into the German unit. As the soldiers attempted to withdraw, he disabled a truck which was carrying out three mortars. Members of his patrol brought up their own mortar, and Murray directed its fire until the Germans had scattered towards Ammerschwihr.

Continuing on the footpath, he and his men captured ten German soldiers. An eleventh soldier approached him with his helmet off and his arms raised. As Murray turned to shout orders, the soldier tossed a grenade; the explosion knocked Murray to the ground and sent eight pieces of shrapnel into his left leg. After getting back to his feet, he stopped his men from killing the prisoner. Only after organizing the patrol into a defensive position did he turn over command of the company and find an aid station.

After receiving medical treatment, Murray rejoined his unit on 28 December 1944. He learned that he had been recommended for the Medal of Honor in March of 1945 and, per Army policy, was soon removed from combat. He remained with his division and was in Salzburg, Austria, on 7 May 1945, when a ceasefire was declared. The next day, Germany's surrender was finalized and the war in Europe was over.

Medal of Honor

Rank and organization: First Lieutenant, U.S. Army, Company C, 30th Infantry, 3d Infantry Division.

Place and date: Near Kaysersberg, France, 16 December 1944.

Citation: For commanding Company C, 30th Infantry, displaying supreme courage and heroic initiative near Kaysersberg, France, on 16 December 1944, while leading a reinforced platoon into enemy territory. Descending into a valley beneath hilltop positions held by our troops, he observed a force of 200 Germans pouring deadly mortar, bazooka, machinegun, and small arms fire into an American battalion occupying the crest of the ridge. The enemy's position in a sunken road, though hidden from the ridge, was open to a flank attack by 1st Lt. Murray's patrol but he hesitated to commit so small a force to battle with the superior and strongly disposed enemy. Crawling out ahead of his troops to a vantage point, he called by radio for artillery fire. His shells bracketed the German force, but when he was about to correct the range his radio went dead. He returned to his patrol, secured grenades and a rifle to launch them and went back to his self-appointed outpost. His first shots disclosed his position; the enemy directed heavy fire against him as he methodically fired his missiles into the narrow defile. Again he returned to his patrol. With an automatic rifle and ammunition, he once more moved to his exposed position. Burst after burst he fired into the enemy, killing 20, wounding many others, and completely disorganizing its ranks, which began to withdraw. He prevented the removal of 3 German mortars by knocking out a truck. By that time a mortar had been brought to his support. 1st Lt. Murray directed fire of this weapon, causing further casualties and confusion in the German ranks. Calling on his patrol to follow, he then moved out toward his original objective, possession of a bridge and construction of a roadblock. He captured 10 Germans in foxholes. An eleventh, while pretending to surrender, threw a grenade which knocked him to the ground, inflicting 8 wounds. Though suffering and bleeding profusely, he refused to return to the rear until he had chosen the spot for the block and had seen his men correctly deployed. By his single-handed attack on an overwhelming force and by his intrepid and heroic fighting, 1st Lt. Murray stopped a counterattack, established an advance position against formidable odds, and provided an inspiring example for the men of his command.

Murray was issued the Medal of Honor on 1 August 1945, eight months after the fight near Kaysersberg. It was formally presented to him during a ceremony in Salzburg, with the entire 3rd Infantry Division in attendance.

Post-War Life

He arrived home in Wilmington in September to a hero's welcome, but later returned to Europe and served four years of occupation duty. During this time, he was stationed in Salzburg and became the head U.S. intelligence officer in that city.

Murray remained in the Army after World War II, serving with the 82nd Airborne Division and participating in the Korean and Vietnam Wars. He eventually rose to the rank of Colonel and commanded the 3rd U.S. Infantry Regiment (The Old Guard), a ceremonial unit tasked with guarding the Tomb of the Unknowns, among other duties. In 1970, he transferred to Fort Jackson in Columbia, SC, where he retired in 1973.

As a civilian, Murray worked for the South Carolina Department of Corrections until his final retirement. He and his wife, Anne, lived in Columbia, SC, until his death from congestive heart failure on 12 August 2011.

Medals and Awards

Medal of Honor
Silver Star Medal (3)
Legion of Merit
Bronze Star Medal with Valor Devices (2)
Purple Heart

Combat Infantryman Badge


Murray Middle School in Wilmington, SC, is named in his honor.

Honoree ID: 1559   Created by: MHOH




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