Audie Murphy Biography

(One of the Most Decorated American Combat Soldiers of World War II)

Birthday: June 20, 1925 (Gemini)

Born In: Kingston, Texas, United States

Audie Murphy was an American soldier, actor, songwriter, and rancher. He is often remembered for his courage and selflessness during ‘World War II.’ One of the most decorated US soldiers of the ‘Second World War,’ he was honored with every military combat award for valor from the U.S. Army. He also received the ‘Medal of Honor’ for holding off several German soldiers for an hour and later leading a counterattack while wounded. He endured a tough childhood. After losing his parents, he found solace in the armed services which gave him an opportunity to serve his country. A young Murphy showed courage after he was selected for the U.S. Armed Forces. Though very young, he was fearless and proved his mettle by vanquishing German soldiers and escaping death nearly three times during the war. Throughout his career, he earned numerous awards and medals. After retiring from the army, he chose films as a medium to share his experiences. He appeared in the autobiographical film ‘To Hell and Back.’ He suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder and died in a plane crash. Before his death, he showed immense courage and patriotism, inspiring many of his countrymen.

Quick Facts

Also Known As: Audie Leon Murphy

Died At Age: 45


Spouse/Ex-: Pamela Archer (m. 1951), Pamela Archer (m. 1951–1971), Wanda Hendrix (m. 1949–1950)

father: Emmett Berry Murphy

mother: Josie Bell Killian

siblings: Billie, Joe, Nadine

children: James Shannon Murphy, Terrance Michael Murphy

Born Country: United States

Quotes By Audie Murphy Soldiers

Height: 1.66 m

Died on: May 28, 1971

place of death: Virginia, United States

Ancestry: Irish American

Cause of Death: Plane Crash

U.S. State: Texas

More Facts

awards: 1945 - Medal of Honor
1945 - Distinguished Service Cross
1945 - Silver Star with bronze oak leaf cluster

1945 - Legion of Merit
1961 - Army Outstanding Civilian Service Medal
1960 - Hollywood Walk of Fame
1996 - The National Cowboy Hall of Fame
1996 - Western Heritage Hall of Fame
2004 - Texas Cowboy Hall of Fame
2010 - Santa Clarita Western Walk of Fame
1968 - Belgian Croix de guerre with 1940 Palm
1947 - French Liberation Medal
1948 - French Croix de guerre with Palm
1945 - French Croix de guerre with Silver Star
1948 - French Legion of Honor
1948 - Grade of Chevalier
1944 - Combat Infantryman Badge
1942 - Marksmanship Badge
1942 - Expert Marksmanship Badge
1950 - Armed Forces Reserve Medal
1944 - Good Conduct Medal
1944 - Purple Heart with two bronze oak leaf clusters
1945 - Purple Heart with two bronze oak leaf clusters
1944 - Bronze Star with

Childhood & Early Life

Audie Leon Murphy was born on June 20, 1925, in Kingston, Hunt County, Texas, USA, to Emmett Berry Murphy and Josie Bell Killian. He was the seventh among 12 children born to his parents. He was of Irish descent.

He was named after two men who took care of his mother when she was abandoned by his father. His father kept coming and going until he finally abandoned the family.

Murphy went to elementary school while growing up around Farmersville, Greenville, and Celeste. He dropped out of school in fifth grade. He then landed a cotton-picking job to support his family.

In 1941, Murphy’s mother passed away and he took up various jobs to survive in Greenville. His siblings were sent to children’s homes and orphanages.

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He decided to join the armed forces in order to support his family and serve his country at the same time. He was finally taken into the armed forces in June 1942.

In 1943, Murphy was assigned to Company B, 1st Battalion, 15th Infantry Regiment, and 3rd Infantry Division. He was immediately posted to French Morocco in North Africa.

In July 1943, he was promoted to the rank of corporal as he prepared for the ‘Allied Invasion of Sicily.’ The 7th Infantry Regiment finally captured and secured the port in August 1943. The same year, Murphy was promoted to the post of sergeant.

In August 1944, he became part of ‘Operation Dragoon.’ He fought the Nazis with great valor and skill and got promoted to the rank of second lieutenant. He, along with the soldiers of the 1st Battalion, 15th Infantry Regiment earned the ‘Presidential Unit Citation.’

In September 1944, the 3rd Infantry Division defeated the German soldiers to invade north-eastern France. His unflinching courage in the face of death earned him several medals and awards.

In 1945, Murphy became part of one of the most important counter-attacks, leading to the capture of Colmar Pocket. He was once again lauded and promoted to first lieutenant the same year, after which he was made a Liaison officer and was called back to the headquarters from the war front.

Murphy was enlisted as a captain in the 36th Infantry Division of the ‘Texas National Guard’ in 1950. The same year, Murphy’s life took a new turn as he stepped into Hollywood to act in war movies. He was cast in ‘To Hell and Back,’ a 1955 film adaptation of his autobiographical book.

In 1956, he was promoted to the rank of major in the U.S. Army Reserve and was discharged from the ‘Texas National Guard’ a decade later.

In May 1969, he retired from the U.S. Army, leaving behind a great legacy.

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Major Battles

He was part of one of the most devastating, colossal wars of all time – ‘World War II.’ He still remains one of the most celebrated American war heroes. After joining the US Army in 1942, he went to North Africa as part of the US 3rd Infantry Division. He was then part of the missions to invade Sicily and Southern France. He fought the Germans, finally helping the American forces to secure the Colmar Pocket.

Awards & Achievements

Murphy was awarded three ‘Purple Hearts’ for the wounds that he received in September and October 1944 and again in the following year. In 1944, he also received two awards with the ‘V’ device: the ‘Bronze Star’ and the ‘Bronze Oak Leaf Cluster.’

In 1945, Murphy was given the ‘Medal of Honour’ and ‘Legion of Merit.’

Murphy was also decorated with the U.S. Army badges, such as ‘Combat Infantryman Badge,’ ‘Marksman Badge,’ and ‘Expert Badge.’

In 1960, he received a star on the ‘Hollywood Walk of Fame’ for his contribution to cinema.

Murphy was awarded the ‘Army Outstanding Civilian Service Medal’ for his technical assistance on the Army documentary ‘The Broken Bridge.’

Personal Life & Legacy

In 1949, Murphy married Wanda Hendrix and divorced her after two years. The same year, he married Pamela Archer who was an airline stewardess. He had two sons from his marriage with Pamela: Terrance Michael ‘Terry’ Murphy and James Shannon ‘Skipper’ Murphy.

He died when his private plane crashed into Brush Mountain, near Catawba, Virginia.

In 1973, ‘Audie L. Murphy Memorial Veterans Hospital’ was named after him in San Antonio.

In 1974, a plaque was erected in memory of Murphy at the site of his death in Brush Mountain, Virginia.

‘The Sergeant Audie Murphy Club’ at Fort Hood, Texas, was established in 1986 by CSM George L. Horvath III, III Corps Commander LTG Crosbie E. Saint, and several others to validate officers as valiant as Audie Murphy.

‘The American Cotton Museum’ in Greensville is named after Audie Murphy - a bronze statue of Murphy was unveiled here in 2002.

Several countries have issued stamps in honor of Murphy. The major ones are the Le 2 value by the West African nation of Sierra Leone and the $6.40 value stamp by Guyana.

See the events in life of Audie Murphy in Chronological Order

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