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First Lieutenant Audie Murphy

When he was 16 his mom died of which he later stated “But when she passed away, she took something of me with her. It seems I’ve been searching for it ever since”. This may have contributed to his troubles later in life.

After the Peal Harbor attack in 1941, he tried to enlist but was underweight and underage. His sister came to the rescue and falsified his date of birth by a year. Allowing him to be accepted into the Army. In basic training he received the Marksman Badge, showing he was a natural.

His First Silver Star…

He was assigned to Company B, 1st Battalion, 15th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Infantry Division, and after seeing combat in the Mediterranean, he rose through the ranks quickly. So much so, he was a staff sergeant at 18 years of age having already survived a German machine gun ambush. He also received the Bronze star for destroying a tank with grenades.

His first (yes that’s right first) Silver star was awarded in Europe, when he killed four and wounded three enemy at a German machine gun position in 1944.

He also earned a battle field commission to 2nd Lieutenant and this was all before he turned 20 years of age.

One Man Army

On January 14th 1945, Murphy had just recently re-joined his men after being shot and wounded by a sniper a few months previously (he subsequently killed the German sniper just after, with a perfect head shot). He was straight back into the action when the Germans took out a US M10 tank destroyer.

Murphy ordered his men back, staying alone on the front line and shooting with his M1 carbine whilst simultaneously directing artillery fire onto enemy advancing positions.

He then jumped up onto the burning tank to fire its 50 calibre machine gun. The Germans unsuccessfully returned fire and Murphy killed and injured over 50.

He was there for an hour, sustained an injury, and only stopped when he ran out of ammunition.

He returned to his men and led them back to the front line to repel the Germans. He received the Medal of Honor for his actions that day.

One Man Army at Home

Murphy was discharged with the rank of First Lieutenant through disability 6 months later, still at an astonishing 20 years old. Murphy had the combat experience and leadership skills of a man twice his age.

He then went on to be a successful film actor from 1948 to 1969 where he starred in over 40 films. He was married twice and had two sons.

Sadly, he struggled with an addiction of pain killers and these days he would have been treated for PTSD but it was not recognised as well back then. He died on May 28th, 1971, when he was a passenger on a private plane that crashed into a mountain in poor weather conditions.

Murphy was only 45, a tragic loss for someone so successful.

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