- Created: Sunday, 04 March 2012 00:00
- Written by Joe
Featured on S01E41 of the ChefDiddy.com podcast.
Audie Leon Murphy
Born June 20, 1924
Died May 28, 1971
He was the 6th of 12 children and his family was poor. Audie attended elementary school in Celeste, Texas 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.
Directly after the attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, Audie tried to enlist in the Military but was rejected because he was underage at only 17 years old. He enlisted in the Marines and Paratroopers but was rejected. He was too short and too underweight. It's a good time to note he was only 5 feed 5 and a half inches and weighted 110 pounds. The navy also turned him down for being underweight.
Only the Army accepted him. During basic training he passed out and his commander tried to have him transferred to a cook and bakers school but Audie insisted on becoming a combat soldier. And it's a good thing as you'll soon find out.
His efforts on 2 seperate days during WWII which included him killing over 250 Nazi's and firing machine guns off of burning tanks, Audie is a shining example of a true American Hero.
Read More for his his full bio and audio clip from the podcast
Audie was eventually shipped off to Africa but was soon transferred to Europe where he advanced up the ranks.
August 15, 1944 as part of Operation Dragoon in Southern France. Audie's best friend, Lattie Tipton was killed by a German soldier in a machine gun nest. This sent Audio 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 that were in the next 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)
He was wounded in the hip by a sniper's ricocheting bullet 12 days after being promoted to platoon leader 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.
The very next day, January 26 1945, Audie's unit was reduced to an effective strength of 19 out of 128 guys Audio sent all of the remaining men to the rea while he shot at the Germans with his M1 carbine 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 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 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 back.
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."
It's also worthy to note that he went on to become a very famous and successful actor after he returned from service. He spent 25 years in Hollywood. He 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.
For his contribution to the motion picture industry, Murphy has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 1601 Vine Street.
In addition to acting, Murphy also became successful as a country music songwriter. He teamed up with a bunch of country singer songwriters but I didn't know how they were, so I didn't write them down…
Audie Murphy, a True American Hero
Listen to the podcast segment here:
Download it directly by going to this link: Historical Badass Download