|Good Conduct Medal and Ribbon Set
The Army Good Conduct Award, was awarded to Audie Murphy "for exemplary behavior,
efficiency, and fidelity in active Federal military service". The eligibility period for World War II soldiers was one year of consecutive active duty service. Only enlisted service members were (and still are) eligible to earn this award.
Even still, Murphy was not someone who never "questioned" orders or higher authority. In fact, his refusal to obey orders once cost him a promotion.
In March of 1944, while in the area of Anzio, Italy, the 3rd Infantry Division was relieved from intense front line duty after 67 days of continuous fighting and placed in the corps reserves. As a result the division was moved back to the Anzio beach area which was calmer because of American advances.
The idea was to provide a period of rest, recupperation, and training to weary units. Even still the beach and areas were well within range of German long range artillery and straffing aircraft which periodically harrassed reserve units.
After several days of rest, the 15th Infantry Regiment began an "intensive two week training period ... with emphasis ... placed on the correction of deficiencies noted during combat" (Simpson, page 100).
Training included small arms firing, anti-tank defense, pill box assault, sniper training, small unit offensive tactics, and discipline. During this time, Murphy refused to subject his men to close order drill because he was convinced that rest was needed more than the "discipline and marching." As a result, he was denied a promotion to tech-sergeant (Simpson, pages 100-101).
Despite this fact, Murphy was still highly regarded as a soldier and leader. The level of his conduct and behavior was such that any problem which may have occurred was considered minor. Praise and success as a combat leader and soldier would very soon earn him awards for valor and a battlefield commission. All of these would be based on recommendations received from his chain-of-command at the platoon, company, battalion, regimental, division, corps, and army levels.