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First Name: Audie

Last Name: Murphy

Birthplace: Kingston, TX, USA

Gender: Male

Branch: Army (1784 - present)

Middle Name: Leon

Date of Birth: 20 June 1924

Date of Death: 28 May 1971

Rank: Major

Years Served: 1942-45 (U.S. Army), 1950-66 (Texas National
Audie Leon Murphy

•  World War II (1941 - 1945)


Audie Leon Murphy
Major, U.S. Army
Medal of Honor Recipient
World War II

Major Audie Leon Murphy was a U.S. Army soldier who was awarded the U.S. military's highest award for valor, the Medal of Honor, for his heroic actions during World War II. He eventually became the most decorated American soldier of World War II. After the war he became a celebrated movie star for over two decades, appearing in 44 films.

Early Life

Audie Leon Murphy was born on 20 June 1924 in Kingston, Hunt County, TX, to a very poor Irish sharecropper, Emmett Berry Murphy and his wife Josie Bell Killian. He grew up on farms near Farmersville and Greenville, TX, and near Celeste, TX. He was the sixth of twelve children; two of whom died before reaching adulthood. Emmet and Josie's children were, in order, Corrine, Charles Emmett "Buck," Vernon, June, Oneta, Audie Leon, J.W., Richard, Eugene, Nadine, Billie, and Joseph Murphy. Audie attended elementary school in Celeste until his father abandoned the family in 1936. He 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 23 May 1941, when Murphy was 16, his mother died. Murphy worked at a combination general store, garage and gas station in Greenville. Boarded out, he worked in a radio repair shop. Later that year, with the approval of his older, married sister 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 and Military Service

Murphy had long dreamed of joining the military. After the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on 7 December 1941, Murphy tried to enlist in the military, but the services rejected him because he was underage. In June 1942, shortly after his 17th birthday, his sister Corrine adjusted his birth date so he appeared to be 18 and legally able to enlist. His war memoirs, To Hell and Back, retained this misinformation, leading to later confusion and contradictory statements about his year of birth. Murphy tried once again to enlist but was turned down by the Marines and the U.S. Army paratroopers because he was too short and underweight at 5 feet 5.5 inches and 110 pounds. The Navy also turned him down for being underweight. The U.S. Army finally accepted him and he was inducted at Greenville and sent to Camp Wolters, TX, 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 because of his baby-faced youthfulness, but Murphy insisted on becoming a combat soldier. His wish was granted: After 13 weeks of basic training, he was sent to Fort Meade, MD, for advanced infantry training.


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 on 10 July 1943. Shortly after arriving, Murphy was promoted to Corporal after killing two Italian officers as they tried to escape on horseback. He contracted malaria 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 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 rock quarry. The German command sent a squad of soldiers in, but they were stopped by intense machine-gun 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.

Murphy distinguished himself in action on many occasions while in Italy, fighting at the Volturno River, at the Anzio beachhead, 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 on 15 August 1944 as part of Operation Anvil-Dragoon. 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 (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 Stars for further heroic actions. Murphy, by now a Staff Sergeant and holding the position of Platoon Sergeant, was eventually awarded a battlefield commission to Second Lieutenant, which elevated him to the Platoon Leader position. 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 (25 January 1945), and suffered further wounds from a mortar round which killed two others nearby.

Medal of Honor Action

The next day, 26 January (the temperature was 14 °F with 24 inches of snow on the ground), his unit participated in the battle at Holtzwihr, France. 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 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 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.

Medal of Honor Citation

Rank and organization: Second Lieutenant, U.S. Army, Company B 15th Infantry, 3rd Infantry Division.

Place and date: Near Holtzwihr France, 26 January 1945.

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.

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 First Lieutenant on 22 February 1945. On 10 June 1945, over a 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 in San Antonio, TX on 17 August 1945 and discharged from the U.S. Army on 21 September 1945. He spent 29 months overseas and just under two years in combat with the 3rd Infantry Division, all before he turned 21.

Murphy garnered nationwide recognition, appearing on the cover of Life magazine for 16 July 1945. After the Korean War broke out in June 1950, Murphy joined the 36th Infantry Division of the Texas National Guard; however, that division was not called up for combat duty. By the time he left the Guard in 1966, Murphy had attained the rank of Major.

Medals and Awards

On 2 June 1945, Lt. Gen. Alexander Patch, Commander of the U.S. Seventh Army, presented him with the Medal of Honor and Legion of Merit. The Legion of Merit was given him for meritorious service with the 3rd Infantry Division in France from 22 January to 18 February 1945. Murphy was awarded 33 U.S. medals, including five medals by France, and one from Belgium. He received every U.S. medal available at the time. He earned the Silver Star twice in three days, three Purple Hearts, the Distinguished Service Cross, and the Medal of Honor.

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, two Silver Stars, the Legion of Merit, two Bronze Stars with Valor device, and three Purple Hearts. Murphy participated in campaigns in North Africa, Sicily, Italy, France and Germany, as denoted by his European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal 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 Infantry Division, and one from the 15th Infantry Regiment during the Holtzwihr action.

The French government awarded Murphy its Chevalier of the Legion of Honor. He also received two Croix de guerre medals from France and the Croix de guerre 1940 Palm from Belgium. In addition, Murphy was awarded the Combat Infantryman Badge, Marksman Badge with Rifle Component Bar and Expert Badge with Bayonet Component Bar.

Murphy's medals and awards are on display at the Dallas Scottish Rite Temple Museum (500 South Harwood Street, Dallas, TX 75201) and the China Room of the 15th Infantry Regiment (Kelley Hill, Fort Benning, GA).

Post-War Illness

Murphy was reportedly plagued by insomnia, bouts of depression, and nightmares related to his numerous battles throughout his life. His first wife, Wanda Hendrix, 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 and Vietnam War veterans, Murphy spoke out candidly about his own problems with PTSD, known then and during World War II as "battle fatigue." He called on the U.S. 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.

Movie Career

After seeing the young hero's photo on the cover of the 16 July edition of Life Magazine and sensing star potential, actor James Cagney 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, gave him his first leading role.

He also starred in the 1951 adaptation of Stephen Crane's Civil War novel, The Red Badge of Courage, 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, 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, TX 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 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 were difficult for Corrine and Poland to parent so Murphy brought 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 4,800 acres ranch near Copperas Cove, TX. 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 they 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 signed Murphy to a seven-year studio contract. After a few box-office hits at Universal, the studio bosses gave Murphy increased choices 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. 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 for the role. In "To Hell and Back," unlike usual Hollywood pictures 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, 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' 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's Jaws.

Murphy's oldest son, Terry Murphy, played younger brother Joe Preston Murphy (at age four). The film was introduced by General Walter Bedell Smith, U.S. Army, Retired. During World War II, Smith had served as Chief of Staff to General Dwight D. Eisenhower.

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.


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, 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 western detective series Whispering Smith, set in Denver, CO. For his contribution to the motion picture industry, Murphy has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame 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, Jimmy Bryant, Scott Turner, Coy Ziegler, and Ray Eddlemon. Murphy's songs were recorded and released by well-known artists including Dean Martin, Eddy Arnold, Charley Pride, Jimmy Bryant, Porter Waggoner, Jerry Wallace, Roy Clark, and Harry Nilsson. His two biggest hits were "Shutters and Boards" and "When the Wind Blows in Chicago."

Personal Life

Murphy married actress Wanda Hendrix 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, AZ, and Menifee, CA.


• 8 July 1948: Murphy was awarded the title of "Honorary Citizen" of Ramatuelle, France by the municipal council, under the presidency of Mainaur Bathisi Henri, Mayor of the Commune. The village of Ramatuelle is where Audie Murphy earned the Distinguished Service Cross during the invasion of Southern France in August 1944.

• 17 July 1948: In Paris, France, Murphy was made an honorary member in the 159th French Alpine Regiment.

• 10 September 1948: Audie Murphy Rodeo Arena was dedicated to Murphy . It is located one mile east of Euless, TX, on Highway 183.

• 12 February 1949: During special and unprecedented ceremonies at Texas A&M University, Murphy became the first honorary cadet Colonel in the history of the institution, thus making him an Aggie.

• 15 February 1949: Murphy was made an honorary member of the Texas Rangers in the Governor's office. This was followed up on 2 July 1949 when Murphy was presented with a second Honorary Commission in the Texas Rangers in ceremonies at Falfurrias, TX.

• 14 February 1955: Initiated into the Scottish Rite of Long Beach, CA, and became 32 degree KCCH Mason on 12-11-65.

• 9 February 1960: Murphy received his star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

• 1971: The Audie Murphy Patriotism Award is named in honor of Murphy. The award is presented annually to an "outstanding American patriot" or "an outstanding group of individuals who most exemplify the true 'Spirit of America.' The Chamber of Commerce of Decatur, Alabama instituted the Audie Murphy Patriotism Award to take place during their "Spirit of America Festival." Dignitaries honored at the ceremony included General Omar Bradley, General Alexander Haig, Senator Jeremiah Denton, Colonel Charles Scott and astronaut John W. Young. Murphy was to be the first recipient, but was killed, Memorial Day Weekend, 28 May 1971. His widow, Pamela Murphy, accepted this award on his behalf. It is now rendered on 4 July of each year.

• 11 November 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, County of Los Angeles, Department of Military and Veterans Affairs at 1816 South Figueroa Street.

• 2 March 1973: The Main Post Gymnasium, Building 2818, at the U.S. Army Infantry Center, Fort Benning, GA, was designated in memorialization orders as the Audie Murphy Fitness Center.

• On 17 November 1973, the Audie L. Murphy Memorial Veterans Hospital in San Antonio, TX, was dedicated. There is a one-ton bronze, eight-foot-tall statue of Murphy, created by sculptress Jimilu Mason. He is dressed in battle fatigues holding a rifle with bayonet; inside the hospital, a museum depicts his life and contains items including his uniform, other clothing, books and pictures.

• 10 November 1974: At the Audie L. Murphy Crash Memorial Site, Brush Mountain, VA, 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, VA.

• 21 January 1975: The Society of The Third Infantry Division outpost in Richardson, TX, was chartered as the Audie L. Murphy Outpost # 35.

• 20 April 1977: VFW Post 1837, Dallas, TX, was designated as Audie L. Murphy Memorial Post No. 1837.

• 1981: Murphy inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame

• 3 November 1984: A six-foot bronze statue of Murphy was dedicated at Camp Mabry Texas Army National Guard Academy, Austin, TX. Noted artist Bill Leftwich of Fort Davis, TX, designed this tribute. After World War II, Murphy joined the 36th Infantry Division (associated with the Texas Army National Guard) and eventually attained the rank of Major.

• 23 August 1985: During the Third Annual Western Stars Awards in Woodland Hills, CA, the Golden Boot Award, a Special Memorial Award in honor of Murphy, was presented to Mrs. Pamela Murphy.

• 23 April 1986: Murphy was posthumously inducted into the Alamo Area National Guard Hall of Fame during ceremonies in San Antonio, TX. Murphy was the seventh Hall of Fame Honoree.

• 1 September 1986, the U.S. Army established the Sergeant Audie Murphy Club at Fort Hood, TX. This elite membership group recognizes noncommissioned officers (sergeants) who have displayed "the integrity, professionalism, commitment to mentoring subordinate soldiers, leadership abilities and personal ethics exemplified by Audie L. Murphy." In 1994, the Sergeant Audie Murphy Club spread Army-wide, to all commands with installations retaining the selection process for their own NCOs.

• 23 March 1990: Murphy was one of three Medal of Honor recipients to have a building dedicated in his honor at Fort Knox, KY. Murphy's building is designated as "Murphy Hall."

• 14 May 1991: The railroad overpass within the City of Greenville (Greenville, TX) between Crockett Street, St. John Street, Stuart Street and Hamphill Street was designated as the "Audie L. Murphy Memorial Overpass."

• 14 October 1991: The West African nation of Sierra Leone issued a set of 12 stamps recognizing key WW II Motion Pictures. One stamp, Le 2 value, honors Murphy in "To Hell and Back" (Scott No. 1409).

• 18 October 1993: The country of Guyana in NE South America 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).

• 20 July 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, 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)

• 16 March 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, TX.

• 16 March 1996: The National Cowboy Hall of Fame and Western Heritage Center inducted Murphy into their Hall of Fame during ceremonies in Oklahoma City, OK, at the "35th Annual Western Heritage Awards."

• June 1996 the Texas Legislature officially declared his birth date, 20 June, as "Audie Murphy Day." U.S. Highway 69 North, from North Greenville city limits to Fannin County line was renamed "The Audie Murphy Memorial Highway."

• 20 June 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, TX, 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.

• In 1999, then-Governor George W. Bush also issued a proclamation declaring 20 June 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 (recently renamed the Audie Murphy/American Cotton Museum) in Greenville and in Farmersville. The museum houses a large collection of Murphy memorabilia and personal items.

• 3 May 2000, Murphy was honored with his portrait on a thirty-three cent United States postage stamp. There is also an Audie Murphy Middle School in Fort Hood, TX, named in his honor.

• 29 January 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.

• 1 September 2000: The Gun Museum in the Confederate Research Center at The Harold B. Simpson History Complex at Hill College in Hillsboro, TX, was re-named the "Audie Murphy WW II Gallery of the Texas Heritage Museum."

• September 2000: A full size bronze bust of Murphy was dedicated outside City Hall, Greenville, TX. The bust rests on a one-ton granite base.

• 9 March 2001: Department of The Army Headquarters, 3rd Infantry Division, Mechanized Multinational Division (North) Tuzla, Bosnia-Herzegovina dedicated part of the visitors lodging facilities on Eagle Base, Tuzla. The building is the "Audie Murphy Inn" and provides comfortable accommodations for soldiers and their families.

• 22 June 2002: Ten foot, 2,200 pound hollow bronze statue of Murphy, created by Gordon Thomas, mounted on 15 ton granite base was unveiled and dedicated at 1 p.m. on the grounds of the Audie Murphy - American Cotton Museum in Greenville, TX.

• 15 August 2004: Killeen Independent School District, located at Killeen, TX, dedicated a brand new middle school named Audie Murphy Middle School.

• September 2004: Murphy plaque was dedicated at the Masonic Lounge in North Hollywood, CA.

• 23 October 2004: During a yearly event, an Audie Murphy Star was dedicated at the Fort Worth Stockyards National Historic District. A "Texas Trail of Fame" was established to honor those individuals who have made a significant contribution to our Western way of life. Murphy's star can be found on Main Street near the Western Museum.

• 21 October 2005: The 8th Annual Silver Spur Awards took place in Studio City, CA, and was sponsored by "Reel Cowboys." Michael Dante presented to Murphy's widow, Pamela Murphy, while sons Terry and James Murphy looked on.

• 11 July 2007: Ft. Stewart, GA: Audie Murphy Soldier Support Center was established where soldiers, families and civilians arriving, leaving or transferring within the Army can take care of all their paperwork.

• 5 August 2010, the Pharr-San Juan-Alamo Independent School District in South Texas dedicated and opened its newest middle school, "Audie Murphy Middle School."

• November 2010: Audie Murphy was nominated for a posthumous bestowal of the Texas Legislative Medal of Honor, the highest military award within the State of Texas. The nomination was filed by Texas State Representative Dan Flynn as HCR 22. As of April 2011, the matter is still in committee.

Death and Burial

Shortly after noon on 28 May 1971, during Memorial Day weekend, Major Audie Leon Murphy was killed when his private plane crashed into Brush Mountain, near Catawba, VA, 20 miles west of Roanoke. The pilot and four other passengers were also killed.

In 1974, a large granite marker was erected 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 7 June 1971, Murphy was buried with full military honors at Arlington National Cemetery. The official U.S. representative at the ceremony was decorated World War II veteran and future President, George H. W. Bush. Murphy's grave site is in Section 46, 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.

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."

Some 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, from federal prison on conviction in 1964 of jury tampering. (Murphy had tried to persuade Edward Grady Partin of Baton Rouge, 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. 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.

Major Audie Leon Murphy died on 28 May 1971 at age 46. He is buried at Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, VA. The grave location is Section 46, Lot 366-11, Grid O/P-22.5, located across Memorial Drive from the Amphitheater.

Honoree ID: 38   Created by: MHOH




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