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Congressional Medal of Honor Society

Stories of Sacrifice

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World War II - U.S. Army

Audie Leon Murphy

  • Rank: Second Lieutenant (Highest Rank: Major)
  • Conflict/Era: World War II
  • Unit/Command:
    Company B, 1st Battalion, 15th Infantry,
    3d Infantry Division
  • Military Service Branch: U.S. Army
  • Medal of Honor Action Date: January 26, 1945
  • Medal of Honor Action Place: near Holtzwihr, France
Second Lt. Murphy commanded Company B, which was attacked by six tanks and waves of infantry. Second Lt. Murphy ordered his men to withdraw to prepared positions in a woods, while he remained forward at his command post and continued to give fire directions to the artillery by telephone. Behind him, to his right, one of our tank destroyers received a direct hit and began to burn. Its crew withdrew to the woods. Second Lt. Murphy continued to direct artillery fire which killed large numbers of the advancing enemy infantry. With the enemy tanks abreast of his position, 2d Lt. Murphy climbed on the burning tank destroyer, which was in danger of blowing up at any moment, and employed its .50-caliber machine gun against the enemy. He was alone and exposed to German fire from three sides, but his deadly fire killed dozens of Germans and caused their infantry attack to waver. The enemy tanks, losing infantry support, began to fall back. For an hour the Germans tried every available weapon to eliminate 2d Lt. Murphy, but he continued to hold his position and wiped out a squad which was trying to creep up unnoticed on his right flank. Germans reached as close as 10 yards, only to be mowed down by his fire. He received a leg wound, but ignored it and continued the singlehanded fight until his ammunition was exhausted. He then made his way to his company, refused medical attention, and organized the company in a counterattack which forced the Germans to withdraw. His directing of artillery fire wiped out many of the enemy; he killed or wounded about 50. Second Lt. Murphy's indomitable courage and his refusal to give an inch of ground saved his company from possible encirclement and destruction, and enabled it to hold the woods which had been the enemy's objective.
Medal of Honor Recipient Audie L. Murphy
Medal of Honor Recipient Audie L. Murphy
Additional Details
  • Accredited to: Dallas, Collin County, Texas
  • Awarded Posthumously: No
  • Presentation Date & Details: June 2, 1945
    Airfield near Werfen, Austria, presented by Lt. Gen. Alexander M. Patch III
  • Born: June 20, 1924, near Kingston, Hunt County, TX, United States
  • Died: May 28, 1971, near Roanoke, VA, United States
  • Buried: Arlington National Cemetery (MH) (46-166-1) , Arlington, VA, United States
  • Location of Medal: Dallas Scottish Rite Museum, Dallas, TX

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