World War II was a battle that lasted from 1939 to 1945. The mass devastation practically affected every country on the planet. The Axis powers, Germany, Italy, and Japan were pitted against the Allies composed of France, the United Kingdom, the United States, the Soviet Union, and, to a lesser extent, China. But did you know that during WWII, there was an American soldier who received every combat medal?
Audie Murphy was a World War II American soldier who got every battle medal the US Army had to offer. Including the Medal of Honor when he was just 19 years old. He was also given medals by France and Belgium.
Who is this American War Hero?
Audie Murphy was born in Kingston, a small rural community in Hunt County in northeastern Texas, on June 20, 1925. He was the seventh of Emmett Berry Murphy and Josie Bell Murphy’s twelve children. The Murphys were Irish-born sharecroppers.
Murphy was a loner as a child, with mood swings and an explosive temper. He grew up in northeastern Texas, near Farmersville, Greenville, and Celeste, where he went to elementary school. His father came and went in and out of the family’s life, eventually abandoning them. Murphy dropped out of school in fifth grade and got a job picking cotton for a dollar a day to help support his family; he also learned to hunt small game with a rifle to help feed them.
After his mother died of endocarditis and pneumonia in 1941, he worked in Greenville at a radio repair shop, general store, garage, and gas station. Hunt County authorities placed his three younger siblings in Boles Children’s Home, a Christian orphanage in Quinlan. After the war, he bought a house in Farmersville for his eldest sister Corinne and her husband, Poland Burns. His other siblings lived in the house with him for a short time.
In 1949, Murphy married actress Wanda Hendrix. Two years later, in 1951, their divorce was finalized. He married former airline stewardess Pamela Opal Lee Archer four days later, and they had two sons: Terry Michael and James Shannon.
Murphy was killed on May 28, 1971, when the private plane in which he was a passenger crashed into Brush Mountain near Catawba, Virginia, 20 miles west of Roanoke, in rain, clouds, fog, and zero visibility. The pilot, as well as four other passengers, were killed. (Source: Britannica)
What Happened to Audie Murphy After the War?
Murphy went on to have a 21-year acting career after the war. He played himself in the 1955 autobiographical film To Hell and Back, which was based on his 1949 memoirs of the same name, but he was best known for his roles in westerns. He appeared on celebrity television shows as a guest and starred in the series Whispering Smith. Murphy was a fairly skilled songwriter. In California and Arizona, he bred quarter horses and raced horses regularly.
Murphy died in a plane crash near Roanoke, Virginia, on May 28, 1971, at the age of 45. He was buried with full military honors in Arlington National Cemetary. (Source: IMDB)