Audie Murphy, of Kingston, is the most highly decorated American Soldier of World War II.
Austin, Texas (KWKT) — Governor Rick Perry today awarded the Texas Legislative Medal of Honor posthumously to Audie Murphy, (June 20, 1925 – May 28, 1971) the most highly decorated American soldier of World War II. The Texas Legislative Medal of Honor is the highest military decoration that can be awarded to a member of the Texas Military Forces.
“More than four decades since his untimely passing, Audie Murphy lives on in the hearts and memories of a generation of Americans,” Gov. Perry said. “He personifies the traits that led America to victory in the Second World War and on other battlefields around the globe. Audie Murphy remains a shining example for anyone who believes in the importance of service, for generations now and into the future.”
Born in Kingston, Texas, Murphy joined the Army infantry in 1942. He saw his first combat as a private in Italy in July 1943 when the 3rd Infantry Division invaded Sicily, and he subsequently took part in the landing at Salerno, the Volturno River Campaign, the landing at Anzio, and the march on Rome. He went on to receive continued promotions and decorations for valor before returning to the United States in 1945. He earned 28 medals before he turned 21 years old, including several from France and Belguim, for his valiant and courageous actions in combat during World War II.
He served in the Mediterranean and European Theater of Operations. He was presented the Medal of Honor for his defensive actions against German troops on January 26, 1945, at the Colmar Pocket near Holtzwihr, France. During an hour-long siege, he stood alone on a burning tank destroyer firing a machine gun at attacking German soldiers and tanks. Wounded and out of ammunition, Murphy climbed off the tank, refused medical attention, and led his men on a successful counter assault.
Murphy joined the Texas National Guard in 1950, after the outbreak in the Korean War, eventually attaining the rank of major. He transferred to the U.S. Army Reserve until his death in 1971. In addition to the Texas Legislative Medal of Honor, he has also been awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor, Distinguished Service Cross, two Silver Stars, the Legion of Merit, two Bronze Stars and three Purple Hearts.