Audie MurphyAudie Leon Murphy, born June 20, 1924 in the rural area of Farmersville and Greenville, Texas - died May 28, 1971 near Norfolk, Virginia, was the United States' most decorated combat soldier of World War II and a movie actor.
Although only 5 feet 5 inches tall, Audie Murphy fought in World War II with such courage that he received every decoration for valor that the United States had to offer plus another five decorations were presented to him by Belgium and France. After the war, his photo appeared on the cover of Life Magazine and his 1949 autobiography "To Hell and Back" became a national bestseller. He was signed by Universal Studios where he would star in more than 27 films. The 1955 film,"To Hell and Back," based on his book, held the record as Universal's biggest grossing motion picture until being surpassed in 1975 by Steven Spielberg's Jaws.
In addition to motion pictures, Murphy also became successful as a country music songwriter. However, in spite of his fame and fortune, the trauma of war affected him a great deal and he suffered considerably with what today is known to be Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and had a difficult life, suffering from a number of addictions, depression, and insomnia.
Audie Murphy died when the private plane he was flying in crashed in heavy fog. He is buried at Arlington National Cemetery.
In 1996 the State of Texas Legislature officially declared his birthdate, June 20th, as "Audie Murphy Day." In 1999, Governor George W. Bush, also made the same proclation declaring June 20th to officially be "Audie Murphy Day" in the state of Texas.
- Medal of Honor
- Distinguished Service Cross
- Silver Star with First Oak Leaf Cluster
- Legion of Merit
- Bronze Star Medal with "V" Device and First Oak Leaf Cluster
- Purple Heart with Second Oak Leaf Cluster
- U.S. Army Outstanding Civilian Service Medal
- Good Conduct Medal
- Distinguished Unit Emblem with First Oak Leaf Cluster
- European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal with One Silver Star, Four Bronze Service Stars (representing nine campaigns) and one Bronze Arrowhead (representing assault landing at Sicily and Southern France)
- American Campaign Medal
- World War II Victory Medal
- Army of Occupation Medal with Germany Clasp
- Armed Forces Reserve Medal
- Combat Infantry Badge
- Marksman Badge with Rifle Bar
- Expert Badge with Bayonet Bar
- French Fourragere in Colors of the Croix de Guerre
- French Legion of Honor
- French Croix de Guerre with Palm
- French Croix de Guerre with Silver Star
- Medal of Liberated France
- Belgian Croix de Guerre with Palm