Designating the Veteran's Administration Hospital in San Antonio Texas|
As the Audie L. Murphy Veterans' Memorial Hospital
Read by the Honorable Olin Teague of Texas
House of Representatives
The SPEAKER pro tempore: Under a previous order of the House, the gentleman from Texas (Mr. Teague) is recognized for 10 minutes.
Mr. Teague of Texas: Mr. Speaker, I am introducing today legislation which is cosponsored by all of the members of the Texas Congressional Delegation to designate the soon-to-be-completed $36 million San Antonio VA hospital as the Audie L. Murphy Memorial Veterans' Hospital. When this great medical center opens its doors to receive sick and disabled veterans, it will be one of the most modern hospital facilities in the world. Therefore, I believe it would be most fitting for it to be named in memory of America's most decorated veteran of World War II, the late Capt. Audie Murphy.
Just as the name of Sgt. Alvin York epitomized the heroes of World War I, Audie Murphy is remembered by most Americans as the hero of World War II. Both of these great citizen soldiers came from similar backgrounds - they were born and lived their early years in rural areas of our country - they both suffered from poverty during childhood and in their young adult lives. Notwithstanding many handicaps, unlike many today, when their country went to war to protect liberty and freedom they, along with millions of America's finest young men from all walks of life, joined the Armed Forces of America to help defeat our country's enemies. Both of these heroic men fell upon hard times after their military service, but their indomitable courage and their personal dignity remained with them until the end. They symbolize the generations of men who have been willing to put their personal safety aside to preserve freedom for their fellow man.
Mr. Speaker, during World War II, Audie Murphy, the son of a Texas tenant farmer was awarded 24 citations for his battlefield deeds including the Medal of Honor and a battlefield commission as a 2d lieutenant. In January 1945, the infantry company which Lieutenant Murphy commanded in eastern France was besieged by six German tanks. Lieutenant Murphy ordered his men to withdraw to prepared positions in a woods, while he remained forward at his command post and continued to give fire directions to the artillery by telephone. Behind him, to his right, one of our tank destroyers received a direct hit and began to burn. Its crew withdrew to the woods. Lieutenant Murphy continued to direct artillery fire which killed large numbers of advancing enemy infantry. With the enemy tanks abreast of his position, Lieutenant Murphy climbed on the burning tank destroyer, which was in danger of blowing up at any moment, and employed its .50 caliber machinegun against the enemy. He was alone and exposed to German fire from three sides, but his deadly fire killed dozens of Germans and caused the attack to waiver. The enemy tanks, losing infantry support, began to fall back. For an hour the Germans tried every available weapon to eliminate Lieutenant Murphy, but he continued to hold his position and wiped out a squad which was trying to creep unnoticed on his right flank.
Germans reached as close as 10 yards, only to be mowed down by his fire. He received a leg wound, but ignored it and continued the singlehanded fight until his ammunition was exhausted. He then made his way to his company, refused medical attention, and organized the company in a counterattack which forced the Germans to withdraw. Lieutenant Murphy's indomitable courage and his refusal to give an inch of ground saved his company from possible encirclement and destruction, and enabled it to hold the woods which had been the enemy's objective.
Infantryman Tony V. Abramski, who witnessed the brave actions of Lieutenant Murphy said later -
The fight that Lieutenant Murphy put was the greatest display of guts and courage I have ever seen. There is only one in a million who would be willing to stand up on a burning vehicle, loaded with explosives around 250 raging Krauts for an hour and do all of that when he was wounded.
After having been wounded three times in later combat activity, young Audie Murphy returned home to a Nation eager to honor its war heroes. He wanted to stay in the Army and become a career soldier but was turned down after being classified 50 percent disabled because of his war wounds.
Twenty-five years later patriotic attitudes among many have changed. Seldom does a discharged combat serviceman come home to a heroic welcome. More often than not he fades into society without recognition while vocal minorities capture the headlines by burning up their draft cards and blowing up public buildings.
Mr. Speaker, by dedicating the new San Antonio VA hospital to a gallant American soldier who has passed from our midst, it is my fervent hope that in these troubled times the spirit and gallantry of Audie Murphy will help rekindle a greater degree of patriotism in all Americans, especially among our young adults, to defend the freedoms which Audie Murphy so valiantly fought to preserve for them.