Audie L. Murphy Memorial Website Logo This image is copyrighted  2010, by D. Phillips. All rights reserved. Used by written permission. Audie L. Murphy Memorial Website
Audie L. Murphy Memorial Website Logo This image is copyrighted  2010, by D. Phillips. All rights reserved. Used by written permission.
Congressional Record documentation researched and provided by Mr. Dave Phillips.
Washington, D.C.
Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Audie Murphy, Texas Warrior
Read by the Honorable Ted Poe
Proceedings and Debates of the 109th Congress, First Session
House of Representatives
U.S. Congress seal.

Mr. POE. Mr. Speaker, I rise today to recognize a native Texan and the most decorated United States soldier of World War II. Audie Leon Murphy was born into humble beginnings in northeast Texas near Kingston, Texas. He grew up in nearby Celeste, Texas. A sharecropper's son, he was the 6th of 12 children, only 9 of whom survived to see their 18th birthday. Murphy grew up in extreme poverty. By his ninth birthday, he had already become an impressive rifle shot due to the fact that he spent a good portion of his childhood hunting rabbits and squirrels for food for his family's table. He had no idea that his shooting skills would be needed later.

The Ted Poe, Representative, 2nd Congressional District of Texas.

When he wasn't hunting, he took odd jobs around the community - on farms, gas stations and local grocery stores. When Audie was 12, his father left his mother and the children to fend for themselves. He never returned and Audie became the breadwinner for the family. At age 16, he was working at a radio repair shop and tragedy struck his life yet again. His mother died and he and his siblings were left orphans.

In desperate need of money to help support his siblings, he tried to join the military. After the bombing of Pearl Harbor, Audie tried to enlist but was rejected because he was too young. Eventually he was accepted into the U.S. Army after being turned down by the Navy, Marines and Army Paratroopers because he was too short at only 5 feet, 5 inches tall and 110 pounds. He signed the papers a few days after his 18th birthday and was sent to training at Fort Wolters, Texas. During one of his first training sessions, he fell flat on his face and was knocked out cold. The company commanders took this opportunity to encourage him to pursue other opportunities such as cook or bakers school but he would have nothing of it. He persisted and was resolute about becoming a fierce, fighting soldier.

Congressional Record Entry
September 21, 2005
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After 13 weeks of Basic Training, he was sent to Fort Meade, MD for advanced infantry training. Upon finishing training, he was sent to Morocco and eventually he was appointed to a Second Lieutenant in 1944 where he served in North Africa and in all European theaters.

In World War II, Murphy made a name for himself and on one fated day he earned the Congressional Medal of Honor and went down in history. On January 26, 1945, Murphy is credited with holding off two reinforced rifle companies singlehandedly for hours. On that day, Murphy's platoon was attacked by 6 enemy tanks and waves of infantry. To keep his men safe, Murphy ordered his men to withdraw, while he remained forward at his command post and continued to give fire directions to the artillery by telephone. Behind him, a U.S. tank destroyer received a direct hit. With the enemy tanks abreast of his precarious position, Second Lt. Murphy climbed on the burning tank destroyer, which was in danger of blowing up at any moment, and engaged his .50 caliber machinegun against the enemy. He was alone and exposed to German fire from 3 sides, but his determination and deadly fire killed dozens of Germans and caused their infantry to waver. The enemy tanks, losing infantry support, began to fall back. For an additional hour the Germans tried any and all of their weapons to eliminate Murphy, but he continued to hold his position and wiped out a squad that was attempting to sneak up unnoticed. Germans reached as close as 10 yards, only to be mowed down by his fierce fire. Wounded in one leg, Murphy continued the single-handed fight until his ammunition was exhausted. His directing of artillery fire killed or wounded about 50 enemy combatants.

Second Lt. Murphy's unconquerable courage and his refusal to give up saved his company from destruction, and enabled it to protect and hold the woods which had been the enemy's objective. He was a legendary and heroic American. In the end, he was credited with killing more than 240 German soldiers. Because of his valor in combat and action above and beyond the call of duty, he received the Congressional Medal of Honor and every other medal that the Army awards. He earned the Silver Star twice in three days, three Purple Hearts, and the Distinguished Service Cross. He even received 5 decorations that were presented to him by Belgium and France. When he was discharged, his face was on the front page of Life magazine and when he finally made it home, he was still not even 21 years old yet.

He finished WWII as a liaison officer, and returned to Texas after the war.

Upon return, Audie became famous not only for his heroic war actions but he also hit the big screen and made the move to Hollywood. He starred in more than 40 Western films and even played the part of himself when his autobiography, "To Hell and Back Again" was made into a movie. He also wrote more than 17 country and western songs.

Sixty years ago today, Audie was released from the Army as an active member and reassigned to inactive status. His final rank was Major in the Texas National Guard.

After all that he went through, Audie still maintained that his medals belonged to his entire company and that he was just, "another man." He never really cared about the medals or glory, just the men of his unit and those he left buried and missing across Europe. His son Terry even said that he was always embarrassed to be called a hero. He always said that the real heroes where those "who didn't come back." He once said, "I believe in all the men who stood up against the enemy, taking their beatings without whimper and their triumphs without boasting. The men who went and would go again to hell and back to preserve what our country thinks right and decent. My Country, America!"

Audie was killed in a plane crash, on May 30, 1971. He left behind his wife of 20 years, 2 sons, a wealth of family and friends and a legacy that will live on forever.

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