Audie Leon Murphy (June 20, 1925 – May 28, 1971) was one of the most famous and decorated American combat soldiers of World War II. He served in the Mediterranean and European Theater of Operations where he was presented the Medal of Honor and several other decorations for heroism in combat including decorations from France and Belgium. He was born into poverty on a farm in northeast Texas and was named for two family friends who kept the Murphys from starving. Murphy lied about his age to enlist in the militaryand follow his dream of becoming a soldier. He was only 19 years old when he was awarded the Medal of Honor. Murphy always maintained that the medals belonged to his entire military unit. His postwar stress caused him to sleep with a loaded gun under his pillow, looking for solace in addictive sleeping pills. Murphy drew public attention to what would in later wars be labeled post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). The Audie L. Murphy Memorial Veterans Hospital in San Antonio is named for him.
In his postwar civilian life, Murphy enjoyed a two-decade career as actor. He played himself in the 1955 autobiographical To Hell and Back based on his 1949 memoir of the same name. Most of his 44 films were Westerns. He made guest appearances on celebrity television shows and starred in the television series Whispering Smith. As a song writer, he penned the successful “Shutters and Boards”. He bred quarter horses in California and Arizona, and became a regular participant in horse racing. In the last few years of his life, his film career took a downturn and he found himself plagued with money problems. But he remained aware of his role model influence and refused offers for alcohol and cigarette commercials. Murphy died in a plane crash in Virginia in 1971, just 23 days before what would have been his 46th birthday. He was interred, with full military honors, in Arlington National Cemetery. His widow Pamela devoted the rest of her life to the needs of veterans at a Veterans Administration hospital in Los Angeles. SOURCE – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Audie_Murphy
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