|Legion of Merit Medal and Ribbon Set
On June 2, 1945 at an airfield near Salzburg, Austria, Lieutenant General Alexander M. Patch, the commander of the U.S. 7th Army, awarded the Legion of Merit to Second Lieutenant Audie Murphy on a sunny afternoon. The medal was the second award presented to Murphy during that ceremony. The first award given to him was the Medal of Honor.
According to the citation, the Legion of Merit presented for "exceptionally meritorious conduct in the performance of outstanding services in Italy and France" as an enlisted and an officer. The citation stated that Murphy always "carried out his missions, no matter how hazardous, with marked ability." The medal represented all the many heroic actions of Murphy which, up until then, were never formally recognized despite his many decorations (Simpson, page 175).
Units of the 3rd Infantry Division were present including the division commander, Major General John O' Daniel. Other dignitaries included senators Harry Byrd from Virginia, Richard Russell from Georgia, Chan Gurney from South Dakota, Clyde Reed from Kansas, Thomas Stewart from Tennessee, Burnett Maybank from South Carolina, Janes Eastland from Mississippi, and John McClellan from the state of Arkansas. Accounts from award recipients and other participants say that at least one other senator was present with no more than a total of eleven. This meant approximately 11% of the elected members of the U.S. Senate was present.
Prior to the awards ceremony a review of the troops was conducted by the commanders.
While the medals were being placed around Lieutenant Murphy's neck and chest, Lieutenant General Patch has been recorded as asking Murphy quietly "I wonder if you are as nervous as I am?" Murphy answered "Yes sir, I'm afraid I am" (Simpson, page 175).
After the Medal of Honor was received, the Legion of Merit was pinned above Lieutenant Murphy's left pocket
The Distinguished Service Cross and the Silver Star were then presented to five other deserving soldiers. All soldiers, including Murphy, were congratulated by Lieutenant General Patch, Major General O'Daniel, and each senator.
When presentations were concluded, remarks were given by both commanders praising the actions of the 3rd Infantry Division with "532 days in combat" (Simpson, page 176). The ceremony concluded with the band playing the division's song "Dogface Soldier."