#AceHistoryNews – March.21: When l was just a boy l remember the good olde westerns and the men that wore the white hats were goodies and black hats were baddies, of course over time Hollywood changed this scenario. But even with a black hat Audie Murphy (1925–1971), was still one of my all time heroes. Though he was a consummate goodie in his real life gaining many commendations, and eventually being buried with honours at Arlington National Cemetery. So l had to do a little research on his life, finding out he truly was a hero on and off the silver screen.
He was in point of fact one of the most decorated American combat soldiers of World War II, receiving every military combat award for valor available from the U.S. Army, as well as French and Belgian awards for heroism.
Coming from a poor sharecropping family of Irish descent in Texas, he served in nine World War II campaigns, receiving the Medal of Honor after single-handedly holding off an entire company of German soldiers for an hour at the Colmar Pocket in France.
After the war, he appeared in more than forty feature films, mostly westerns; his most successful film was To Hell and Back (1955), based on his war memoirs.
During the Korean War, Murphy was commissioned as an officer in the 36th Infantry Division of the Texas National Guard. Possessing a natural gift for rhyme, he collaborated on numerous songs between 1962 and 1970.
He suffered from what would today be termed posttraumatic stress disorder, and was plagued by money problems in the last few years of his life, but refused offers to appear in alcohol and cigarette commercials to avoid setting a bad example.
Murphy died in a plane crash in Virginia, and was interred with full military honours at Arlington National Cemetery. his biography of his life can be found here.