Remembering Audie Murphy
Two wreaths were laid at the Arlington National Cemetery, Va., grave of Audie Leon Murphy, the most decorated Soldier in the 239-year-old history of the Army. While non-commissioned officers who have been inducted into the esteemed Sergeant Audie Murphy Club salute, a lone bugle sounded out Taps. Following his World War II years, he went on to have a 21-year Hollywood career starring in 39 movies, including playing himself in "To Hell and Back," which was adapted from his best-selling book. His life was cut short at age 46, when he was killed in a plane crash on a mountaintop near Roanoke, Va., on May 28, 1971. Murphy's grave is the second most-visited site at Arlington National Cemetery, with the first being that of John F. Kennedy.

WASHINGTON (Army News Service, June 20, 2014) -- Soldiers gathered at Arlington National Cemetery, June 20, to pay tribute to one of the Army's most decorated Soldiers, Audie Murphy, on the day of his birth.

At Murphy's graveside, members of the Military District of Washington Sergeant Audie Murphy Club gathered to place a wreath near his grave, to recommit to "lead from the front," and to hear a lone bugle sound out Taps over the grave of America's greatest combat Soldier.

The simple headstone for Murphy is the standard, plain white marble used for any of the country's heroes and veterans laid to rest at the cemetery.

Maj. Audie Murphy earned the Medal of Honor for his actions Jan. 26, 1945, during World War II. He also earned, among other decorations, a Distinguished Service Cross, a Silver Star with bronze oak leaf cluster, a Legion of Merit, a Bronze Star with "V" device, and a Purple Heart with two oak leaf clusters. He is widely said to be the most decorated American Soldier.

Murphy left the active duty Army in 1945, as a battlefield-commissioned first lieutenant -- he had enlisted in 1942, as a private. Later, he joined the 36th Infantry Division "T-Patchers" of the Texas National Guard, where he ultimately achieved the rank of major. He retired from military service, in 1966.

After leaving active military service in 1945, Murphy went to Hollywood to try his hand as actor at the invitation of James Cagney. He became closely associated with the movie industry, both as an actor and a producer starring in 39 films. Included among those films was the autobiographical "To Hell and Back," adapted from the best-seller about his war experiences. Murphy largely starred in westerns and was also known for his song-writing and poetry.

As a civilian, Murphy received the Army Outstanding Civilian Service Medal. Presently, a petition is being circulated and endorsed by fans, voters, veterans, elected leaders, more than 50 Medal of Honor recipients, federal department secretaries, actors, generals and admirals calling for the president to award Murphy the Presidential Medal of Freedom for his outspoken and pioneering efforts to get the federal government to recognize and improve treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder for, known as PTSD, all military veterans from World War II, Korea and Vietnam. At that time, PTSD was known as shell shock.

Murphy died in a plane crash, in 1971.

The Sergeant Audie Murphy Club is a nationwide organization. Membership in the organization is a reward for non-commissioned officers whose leadership achievements and performance merit special recognition. The club is a means of recognizing those NCOs who have contributed significantly to the development of a professional NCO Corps and a combat-ready Army.

After the ceremony, members of the Military District of Washinton Sergeant Audie Murphy Club retired to nearby Fort Myer, Virginia, to induct four new deserving NCOs into the club.

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Page last updated Fri June 20th, 2014 at 00:00