Audie Murphy

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Audie Leon Murphy was the most decorated American soldier of the Second World War. He received every military combat award for valour available from the U.S. Army, as well as French and Belgian awards. He was only 17 when he enlisted in the Army.

Audie Murphy was born in 1925 in Texas in a family of sharecroppers. His father left the family and at the age of 16, his mother died and thus he started working. When hearing of Pearl Harbor, he decided to enlist in the army at the age of 17. He joined the infantry with a falsified document because he was not yet 18.  

He followed a basic training and entered his first combat in July 1943. He participated in the landing in Licata, the Voltuno River campaign, and the invasion of Southern France, where he became the most decorated man of his company.  

He received the medal of Honor for an act in January 1945, when he single-handedly repelled the Germans in a burning tank destroyer, while he was wounded, near Holtzwihr. The courageous act led to a counterattack that drove the Germans away from Holtzwihr.  

At the end of the war, Murphy was the most decorated soldier of his country, with 28 medals. When victory was declared in Europe in May 1945, he had not yet reached the age of 21. He returned to the United States where he was welcomed as a hero. He there started a career as an actor. He suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder which entailed depression and due to the nightmares, he claimed that he slept with a loaded gun under his pillow. He died in 1971 in a crash of a private plane near Roanoke, Virginia.