Audie Murphy was the most decorated U.S. soldier in World War II. Even though he was only 21 years old at the end of the war, he had killed 240 German soldiers, had been wounded three times, and had earned 33 awards and medals. After the war, he appeared in more than 40 films. Most people know of his story, but here are 12 facts about Audie Murphy you might not know about:
# 1 Audie Murphy suffered throughout his post-war life with PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder). While it is a common word in today’s Army, not much was known about it at his time. Most medical experts of the time simply diagnosed him with insomnia and chronic nightmares.
# 2 Audie was one of twelve children. Audie grew up on a farm in Texas where he had to help his mother support their family. His father’s desertion drove Audie to join the military to honor his mother.
Audie Murphy, WW2 hero and famous actor
# 3 Audie joined the Army when he was 18. Although, there is some confusion about his birth date because his sister Corrine altered his birth certificate when he tried to enlist in 1941. Some sources list it as 1924 and others say 1926, whatever it was, he was a very young man.
# 4 After witnessing his friends death at the hands of a “surrendering” German, Audie Murphy was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross for his actions in commandeering the German machine gun and grenades and killing the remaining Germans.
# 5 Audie was awarded 33 U.S. military medals, including three Purple Hearts and one Medal of Honor.
# 6 Murphy was wounded in the right heel and ankle by shrapnel on September 15, 1944. He received a serious wound to his right hip on October 26, 1944 from a shot by a sniper, which required 3 months of recovery. On January 25, 1945, the day of the action which resulted in him being awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor, he received another shrapnel wound to his left leg. Considering that most Medal of Honor winners are awarded the medal posthumously, it is amazing to me that he was only slightly wounded during the incident that resulted in him receiving our country’s highest honor.
# 7 Audie served in the Texas National Guard. See “Top 5 Famous Army National Guard Officers” article.
# 8 LIFE magazine honored the brave, baby-faced Soldier by putting him on the cover of their July 16, 1945 issue.
# 9 In 1949, he published his autobiography, “To Hell and Back.” Then, in 1955 he decided to act and portray himself in the film based on his book. Audie made a great acting career by starring in over 40 films.
# 10 Audie Murphy became an esteemed country music singer. Audie wrote numerous Country and Western songs, 17 of which were recorded by Eddy Arnold, Dean Martin, Porter Waggoner, Jimmy Dean, Teresa Brewer, Roy Clark and many others. His most popular songs were “When the Wind Blows in Chicago” and “Shutters and Boards”.
# 11-Audie Murphy squandered his entire fortune and fame on gambling and bad investments. He also became addicted to sleeping pills.
# 12 -Audie died in a plane crash in 1971. He is buried at Arlington National Cemetery.
Thanks for reading my 12 facts about Audie Murphy. As you can see, Audie lived an incredible life and did many great things for his country. He is considered to be one of the greatest Soldiers of all time.
What other facts do you know about Audie Murphy? Share your comments or questions below. Thank you.