FROM THE SILVER STAR TO THE SILVER SCREEN

Veteran: Audie Murphy
Artist: Jerry Andriozzi
Writer: Gayle Gleckler

Does life imitate art or does art imitate life?

When it comes to Audie Murphy, it’s hard to tell the difference.

He was the real deal. We knew him as a movie star matinee idol.

What we didn’t know was that he was playing himself. Murphy was one of the most decorated American combat soldiers in World War II, receiving every combat award from the U.S. Army, including The Purple Heart.

Murphy was the star in the 1955 autobiographical, “To Hell and Back,” which was based on his memoirs. He received The Medal of Honor award at only nineteen for single-handedly holding off an entire company of German soldiers in 1945.

He commanded his company being attacked by six German tanks, to retreat into the woods and then remained in position taking direct artillery fire, where he killed numbers (historically noted as 50) of the enemy infantry.

Knowing the Germans had his position, did not stop Murphy. He climbed on a nearby burning tank in danger of blowing up at any moment. Ignoring the wound in his leg, he continued to fight alone until his ammunition was exhausted.

Refusing medical attention, he organized a counter attack which forced the enemy to withdraw. 

Murphy suffered from PTSD and slept with a loaded handgun under his pillow for the rest of his life.

After all his fame and heroism, ironically he died in a plane crash in Virginia at 45.

He refused to give an inch of ground in WWII, but gave miles of bravery and heart to protect our freedom.