According to Army Regulation 600-8-22 para 7-13, The Distinguished Unit Citation, also known as the Presidential Unit Citation, is awarded to units
"for extraordinary heroism in action against an armed enemy occurring on or
after 7 December 1941. The unit must display such gallantry, determination, and esprit de corps in accomplishing its
mission under extremely difficult and hazardous conditions as to set it apart from and above other units participating in
the same campaign."
The first Presidential Unit Citation worn by Audie Murphy was earned by the soldiers of 1st Battalion, 15th Infantry Regiment for an intense, bloody, three day offensive action at Montelimar, France between the days of 27-29 August, 1944.
During this action 1st Battalion, as it approached Montelimar, determinedly and without pause pushed its way into increasingly fierce and violent German resistance. Despite multiple counter-attacks, the battalion overcame each breakout attempt and trapped German forces. When the battle was over, the battalion was credited with taking 804 enemy POW's, inflicting 485 casualties, and capturing or destroying over 500 vehicles (Simpson, page 124).
The second award of the Distinguished Unit Citation (i.e. first oak leaf cluster) was awarded to the entire 3rd Infantry Division for its efforts to clear the Colmar Pocket of German forces from 22 January to 6 February 1945. This action was characterized by the division commander Major General John W. "Iron Mike" O'Daniel as the "most outstanding operation in the career of (the) division" (Simpson, page 164).
This sixteen day battle also was the period of time which Audie Murphy heroically made his Medal of Honor stand near the town of Holzwihr, France in the Bois de Riedwihr woods.