|Distinguished Service Cross
Audie Murphy earned the Distinguished Service Cross, America's second highest military award of valor, on August 15, 1944, shortly after his unit 1st Battalion, 15th Infantry Regiment and elements of the 3rd Infantry Division made an amphibious landing as part of the first assault wave in Southern France near Ramatuelle, France.
It was also during this event that Staff Sergeant Murphy, who was an acting platoon sergeant, lost his best friend Lattie Tipton.
The action began in the morning as Murphy's platoon, which was the advance element of the attack, attempted to capture "Pill Box Hill". Ordering his platoon to stay in their covered positions, Staff Sergeant Murphy moved forward to scout out any Germans obstructing his platoon's path up a hill. Murphy's men and other nearby platoons provided Murphy cover.
With his M-1 Carbine, Staff Sergeant Murphy moved up a hill using a draw which paralled the enemy's positions. Murphy killed two Germans who were moving down the draw towards him. After engaging enemy foxhole positions, he ran out of ammunition and reversed his direction back down the draw looking for another weapon.
Staff Sergeant Murphy found and took a light machine gun from a crew unwilling to advance forward. He left his carbine behind.
Murphy then moved back up the draw and positioned the machine gun above the German foxholes. He engaged and destroyed these positions.
As Murphy continued up the hill, a machine gun attacked. Murphy then returned fire but exhausted his ammunition. He returned back down the draw to retrieve his carbine. When he did, Lattie Tipton convinced Murphy to allow him to go back up the hill to help.
As the two worked their way back up the draw, they drew more enemy fire and grenades. Tipton was shot in the upper part of his ear but managed to shoot and kill his attackers. Murphy and Tipton then located, charged, and destroyed an emplaced machine gun on the top of the hill.
A second machine gun opened fire on Murphy and Tipton who managed to force it to surrender with rifle fire and thrown grenades.
Despite a panicked attempt by Murphy to stop his friend, Tipton was shot and killed as he exposed himself to a phony German flag of surrender.
In a fit of rage, Murphy destroyed the machine gun crew with more grenades. He then rushed the position. Murphy took its undamaged machine gun and began firing it from his hip. As he did, Murphy charged two remaining enemy machine gun positions that were trying to kill him. Murphy destroyed both of them which cleared the hill of all resistance.
Murphy returned back to the body of his friend and was overwhelmed with grief (Simpson, page 121-122).