Skip to comments.To Hell And Back (Remembering Audie Murphy, June 20, 1925 - May 28, 1971)
Posted on 06/21/2014 6:56:27 AM PDT by NKP_Vet
Today would be the 88th birthday of Audie Murphy if he had not died in a plane crash, fittingly enough on Memorial Day weekend, forty-three years ago.
In the Fifties actor Audie Murphy achieved stardom, mainly in Westerns. Murphy looked like a typical Hollywood pretty boy but he was anything but. From a family of 12 in Texas, he was the sixth child, Murphy had dropped out of school in the fifth grade to help support his dirt poor family after his worthless father ran off. His mother died in 1941. In 1942 he enlisted in the Army at 16, lying about his birthday, partially to help support his younger brothers and sister and partially because he dreamed of a military career. He served with the Third Infantry Division in North Africa, Sicily, Italy, France and Germany. By the end of the War, just before his 19th birthday, he was a First Lieutenant and had earned, in hellish combat, a Medal of Honor, a Distinguished Service Cross, two Silver Stars, a Legion of Merit, a French Legion of Honor, a French Croix de Guerre, a Belgian Croix de Guerre, two Bronze Stars and three Purple Hearts. He was the most decorated soldier of the US Army in World War 2. Here is his Medal of Honor Citation which helps explain why Murphy entitled his war memoir To Hell and Back:
(Excerpt) Read more at the-american-catholic.com ...
RIP Audie. And thanks.
Considering that he was using a .50 caliber, they were mowed down and put through a wood chipper.
NKP, Thank you for the reminder of this valiant and humble soldier’s birth 88 years ago.
His memory and spirit remains alive in the US Army via the “Sergeant Audie Murphy Club” to which outstanding soldiers are nominated.
See these two websites:
I remember reading “To Hell and Back” in high school. What a different place America was then.
His battlefield exploits were toned down, partially out of modesty by Murphy, but also because the reality of what he did would have seemed simply unbelievable on the screen.
I saw one of his uniforms in a museum in Texas. He was tiny.
God bless little Audie, the real life “Little Big Man”
A truly great American. Tried to join the Corps but was rejected due to age and weight.
He tried to enlist in the Marine Corps first. USMC said that at five foot five and 110 pounds he was too small. Next Audie Murphy tried the Navy with the same results. Finally he tried the Army which took him.
Audie Murphy on right
And everyone show your kids Audie’s classic film “The Red Badge of Courage” directed by John Huston. He and Bill Mauldin are both touching and funny as two silly young boys who are forced to become men.
Also, his other gem “The Unforgiven,” also directed by Huston in which Audie plays a racist cowboy - he’s terrific. Huston always called Murphy “his killer angel.”
He never really got treated for serious PTSD which led to trouble with alcohol and violence and gambling. He actually borrowed money from the Mob to fund his gambling. Poor man.
Few veterans of his generation did.
Thanks for the ping and the links. May he rest in peace.
There’s another fine film called “Captain Newman, M.D.” which starred Gregory Peck as a shrink dealing with “shell-shocked” vets. So there was some acknowledgement of psychiatric problems after WWII. And the British attempted to treat shell shocked victims during WWI - well, when they were not executing soldiers for cowardice, lol.
Can you imagine the swishy “actors” we have now doing what Audy and other combat veteran actors had to do? Those guys were real men. What we have now are trendies and metro-sexuals. pathetic.
There’s a video I saw of Murphy being interviewed in the 60s about his war experiences. The interviewer tried his best to get Audie to talk about his battles and medals and what it was like being a hero. Murphy would have no part of it. The only thing he said about the war was he had a lot of buddies killed and they were the heroes. The interviewer asked him what was he remembered most about the war. Without hesitation Murphy said “the day it ended”. He also did a lot for the VA, especially on PTSD, addressing Congress a couple of times, trying to get more funding for PTSD. He slept with a pistol under his pillow to the day he died. RIP Lt Murphy. Your name should be in the dictionary when someone looks up the definition of a man.
When I was a child, I was told that men were branded by war. Has the brand been put on me? Have the years of blood and ruin stripped me of all decency? Of all belief?
Not of all belief. I believe in the force of a hand grenade, the power of artillery, the accuracy of a Garand. I believe in hitting before you get hit, and that dead men do not look noble.
But I also believe in men like Brandon and Novak and Swope and Kerrigan; and all the men who stood up against the enemy, taking their beatings without whimper and their triumphs without boasting. The men who went and would go again to hell and back to preserve what our country thinks right and decent.
Thank you for a great post.
The best line in the movie was - Kerrigan: [after a jumpy Murphy shoots at his own image in a mirror] "Man, that's the first time I ever seen a Texan beat himself to the draw. "
Someone posted recently that we shouldn’t talk about Post-Traumatic Stress “Disorder,” but simply about Post-Traumatic Stress, because effects of some kind are the norm, rather than the exception.
Thanks for the ping and the links!
Thanks for this post. I enjoyed remembering Audie.