|World War II Victory|
Medal and Ribbon Set
The World War II Victory Medal was authorized by Congress July 6, 1945. It was the most commonly issued decoration of World War II.
It was awarded for military service between the dates of 7 December 1941 and 31 December 1946, both dates inclusive.
On 20 June, 1942 in a post office at Greenville, Texas, after being shooed away by the Marine Corps and Paratrooper recruiters for not being "old enough", a 110 pound, 5-foot 5-inch tall Audie Murphy managed to convince an Army Recruiter that he was eligible to enlist. In his possession was a notorized sworn affadavit signed by his sister Corrine which testified that he was old enough to enlist. He also had a certified true copy of his birth certificate (Simpson, page 45).
On June 30, 1942 Audie Murphy caught a bus in Greenville, Texas with other recruits and was transported to a federal building in Dallas, Texas. After a physical examination, he was inducted in Army of the United States as a Private (Simpson, page 46).
At the time of his physical he weighed approximately 110 pounds and was about 5 feet 5 inches tall. He would grow another 5 inches and add another forty to fifty pounds by the end of the war (Simpson, page 45).
Following his induction and another bus ride on the same day, Private Murphy arrived at a reception station to begin several days of in-processing at Camp Wolters, Texas. He was officially assigned to the Infantry Replacement Training Center at Camp Wolters (Simpson, page 46).
On 9 July, Private Murphy was reassigned to 4th Platoon, Company D, 59th Training Battalion and began his basic training (Simpson, page 46).
On October 13, 1942, Private Murphy departed Camp Wolters, Texas by troop train and arrived at Fort Mead, Maryland on October 18, 1942. On October 23, Private Murphy was assigned to Company K, 385th Infantry Regiment, 76th Infantry Division where he was given advanced infantry training. His training was completed on January 18, 1943 (Simpson, page 52-53).
Private Murphy left Fort Mead and arrived at Camp Kilmer, New Jersey on 23 January, 1943 to prepare for the passage across the Atlantic (Simpson, page 53).
On February 8, 1943, Private Murphy boarded the troop transport USAT Hawaiian Shipper at Staten Island, New York. After passing by the Statue of Liberty, the ship convoyed with other ships to North Africa (Simpson, page 53).
Private Murphy was officially reassigned to Headquarters, 2nd Replacement Detachment on February 19, 1943, the day the coast of North Africa was sighted from sea (Simpson, page 54).
After 11 days at sea, the Hawaiian Shipper arrived and docked at Cassablanca, Morroco in North Africa on February 20, 1943. Private Murphy disembarked the next day (Simpson, page 54).
Private Murphy was reassigned to the 3rd Infantry Division. On February 28, 1943 he joined the 3rd Infantry Division in the area of Port Lyautey, Morrocco. On March 3, 1943 Private Murphy was reassigned to Company B, 1st Battalion, 15th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Infantry Division (Simpson, page 66).
On May 7, 1943, shortly after the 3rd Infantry Division had moved to Tunisia and was preparing to move into assault positions to attack German forces, Audie Murphy was promoted to the rank of Private First Class. German forces in North Africa surrendered the next day. Private First Class Murphy had still not fired his first shot at the enemy (Simpson, page 67).
On July 15, 1943, while fighting in Sicily, Private First Class Murphy was promoted to the rank of Corporal. Around this time, at Canicatti, Sicily Murphy fired two shots from his carbine and killed two Italian soldiers that were fleeing on horseback (Simpson, page 70).
On September 21, 1943, Corporal Murphy arrived on the mainland of Italy. Murphy and his unit would spend long arduous months on "the Boot" fighting under terrible conditions. While doing so Murphy was promoted to the rank of Sergeant on December 13, 1943. At the time, the 3rd Infantry Division prepared for an amphbious assault code-named "Shingle" which later took Murphy and his men onto the beaches of Anzio (Simpson, page 91-92).
A month later, on January 13, 1944 Murphy was promoted to the rank of Staff Sergeant a week before the Anzio Beach Invasion. After the invasion, Staff Sergeant Murphy remained fighting in Italy until August 8, 1944. Before he left Italy, he earned three battle stars for his participation in the Naples-Foggia, Anzio, and Rome-Arno campaigns. He also earned two Bronze Stars and the Combat Infantry Badge. (Simpson, page 85, 99-100, and 118).
On August 15, 1944 Staff Sergeant Murphy led his men as their platoon sergeant in an amphibious assault on the shores of southern France. In less than a year, he would be wounded three times and would earn all remaining medals of valor including the Medal of Honor, Distinguished Service Cross, and two Silver Stars.
On October 14, 1944, Staff Sergeant Murphy received an honorable discharge as an enlisted soldier near La Forge, France. Several hours later, he received a battlefield commission in the U.S. Army Reserves as an active duty second lieutenant. His regimental commander, Colonel Hallet D. Edson, as he promoted him, said "You are now a gentlemen by act of Congress. Shave, take a bath, and get the hell back to the front lines" (Simpson, page 136).
On February 16, 1945 Audie Murphy was promoted to the rank of First Lieutenant. Less than two weeks later, in the early morning hours of January 26, 1945, he assumed command of B Company Commander when the commander was critically wounded in a mortar attack. Before the same day ended, Lieutenant Murphy would earn his third Purple Heart and the Medal of Honor (Simpson, page 153).
On May 8, 1945 the war in Europe ended with the unconditional surrender of Germany to Allied Forces. "Not old enough to vote", Lieutenant Murphy had earned every medal of valor and several of them more than once. He had also earned one of France's highest military decorations (Simpson, page 177).
On June 10, 1945 Lieutenant Audie Murphy left Salzburg, Austria by C54 Loadmaster Transport plane with 49 other officers and enlisted men for a period of rest (Simpson, page 176).
After arriving in Paris, the group left the next day and landed in Presque Isle, Maine on the same day. After resting overnight, he departed June 12 and flew to Ellington Air Force Base in Houston, Texas (Simpson, page 176).
On 13 June he flew to San Antonio, Texas, under escort of several flights of fighters and bombers, where he and the other returning soldiers received a hero's welcome (Simpson, page 176).
As Audie rested and visited his home in Texas he was greeted everywhere as a hero. Nevertheless, he was still in the Army and only on leave. He knew that continued service, perhaps in the Pacific during an invasion of Japan, was a very real possibility. Fortunately, on August 14, 1945 the Japanese government asked for a surrender and on 2 September, 1945 they surrendered unconditionally to the Allies.
In Texas, on September 22, 1945, Audie Murphy left active duty as a U.S. Army Reserve Officer. He began his inactive service in the U.S. Army Reserve Corps the next day.