This Week's Story

Audie Murphy was rejected by three branches of the U.S. military. Later the nation recognized his skill and courage in combat.

This Week’s Story relives American history and the Bible through brief inspiring stories presented on mp3 audio recordings and text for reading.

Audie was a foot soldier!
part one

The United States Army, Marines, and Navy agreed. This baby-faced scrawny boy hoping to become a soldier, was too young and too small! “Audie Murphy, we cannot use you.” The Army added, “Come back when you are eighteen.”

Audie returned, just before turning eighteen, and weighed in at 112 pounds, and 5 feet and five inches. He was malnourished. In the next three years that young man received all the Army awards available for combat bravery during World War II! He also gained a few inches and pounds.

Soldiers told unbelievable stories of what they saw him do. Some called him a daredevil. Others saw him differently. They thought he took risks, but not without reason and skill. He could respond to sounds with lightning instinctive action. His years of hunting squirrels and rabbits for his hungry brothers and sisters helped. He understood terrain. In the field, he would walk slightly crouched as though he was stalking an animal. He would scan fields, mountains, woods, streets; and anticipate where the enemy might be and where he and soldiers with him should be. His marksmanship and skill with weapons was superior.

Audie did not want to become an officer. But, in desperate situations he took responsibility almost automatically. Perhaps it was caring for brothers and sisters when his dad walked out the door and never returned. Rank literally was forced upon him. Audie was a superb combat leader!

He felt fear as combat soldiers usually do. Fear might twist his intestines, but it did not paralyze him. After extraordinary acts of skill and bravery, when he received medals, he was modest and said, “There were so many guys who should have gotten medals and never did—guys who were killed.”

As a foot soldier Audie was almost steadily in combat for two years. He was no killing machine celebrating violence. When he killed two enemy officers, his words were, “Now I’ve shed my first blood. I feel no qualms, no pride, no remorse. There’s only a wearying indifference that will follow me throughout the war.”  Later he said, “I’ve seen war as it actually is, and I do not like it.” That did not change his commitment to the Army and his country.

He believed as the guys in his platoon did, that he had a job to do. That did not stop them from joking and grumping about food rations, little sleep, and ferocious assignments. They remained members of the 15th regiment of the 3rd Infantry Division, the “Can Do” regiment.  His family were the platoon of guys he served with. Most of them died in combat.

The military recognized his skill and bravery. He received at least 28 medals, which included three from France and one from Belgium. He was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor. It was based on supreme bravery in the Colmar Pocket in France on January 26, 1945.

That day First Lieutenant Audie L. Murphy, nineteen years old, held off an entire company of German soldiers for one hour. His actions smashed an enemy assault and enabled a regiment to hold ground.

That hour of astonishing action will be featured in part two of “Audie was a foot soldier.” This is Barbara Steiner enjoying with you stories from American History and the Bible. Please check out thisweeksstory.com.

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