Audie Murphy Earns Medal Of Honor
On January 26, 1945, Audie Murphy single-handedly held off an entire company of German soldiers at the Colmar Pocket, an action that earned him the Medal of Honor.
Born in Texas on June 20, 1925, Audie Murphy dropped out of school in fifth grade to pick cotton for a dollar a day to support his family. He was also good with a rifle so he hunted small game to feed the family.
Following the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, Murphy, who had always wanted to be a soldier, immediately tried to enlist. But every branch turned him down because he was underweight and underage. He then lied about his age and was accepted into the Army. Murphy excelled from the start, earning the Marksman and Expert Badges.
Murphy first entered service in the Mediterranean Theater in Casablanca, French Morocco. After a promotion, he served as a division runner during the invasion of Sicily. In the coming months Murphy participated in several scouting missions, often coming into contact with enemy forces. On more than one occasion his team was ambushed, but successfully managed to fight off their attackers.
During a mission in Anzio, Murphy and his platoon took out the entire crew of a passing German tank. Murphy then crawled out to the tank by himself to destroy it. He later earned the Bronze Star with “V” Device for this action. In the summer of 1944, after landing on Yellow Beach in southern France, Murphy’s platoon came under attack by German soldiers. He then advanced on a house holding German soldiers while under fire and ended up killing six, wounding two, and taking 11 prisoners. He earned the Distinguished Service Cross for this action.
While Murphy earned a number of awards and honors during the war, one of his most famous came in January 1945 at the Colmar Pocket. The pocket was a 40-mile long and 30-mile deep semi-circle the Germans held in Alsace, centered around the town of Colmar.
Murphy had been out of service for three months after getting shot in the hip. He returned to fight on January 14, 1945, and led his men to the town of Holtzwirh, where they came under a heavy German attack. Though Murphy was wounded in both legs, he continued on and was made commander of Company B.