This Week's Story

Medals... Nightmares... Gambling follow Audie Murphy.

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 three

I can’t get a night’s sleep. Nightmares crash into my mind. Company C is being bombarded, my platoon is throwing grenades into enemy gun emplacements, buddies keep dying, I yell at soldiers and my wife awakes, “Audie… honey, you are home. The war’s over.”

I wish World War II was over. I sleep with a loaded pistol under my pillow. When I hear a sound which I can’t identify, I’m instantly ready to fight.

Sometimes I get phone calls like, “Hello, this is Jake Summers with the Evansville Times. May I speak with Audie Murphy?”

“You’re speaking with him.”

“Mr. Murphy, I would like to interview you about your most memorable events in the war. Since you have won every medal the United States Army can offer for bravery in combat, your stories will inspire Americans.”

What stupidity! Do reporters think that being in combat for two years is filled with grand opportunities for medals? Maybe I should share one of my memorable nightmares. We’re marching up a highway and patrols are scouting to protect us from surprise attack. Five planes dive towards us and bombs drop. Lots of us are dying. The planes level out and we see their stars. They’re ours.

What about my first kill? My nightmares think it’s memorable. I’m in North Africa. Scouts and I flush two Italian cavalry officers. If they are smart, they will surrender. Instead they mount two horses and begin galloping away. What do you do when the enemy flees? I drop to my knee and fire twice. Kill them both. Do my duty. But, it is hard to get rid of the idea that “human life is sacred.”

I’ve been told that I killed more than 240 German soldiers. How did anyone get that count? It’s like a lot of things people make up about me.

I read that I am 5’5”. I also read that I’ve grown and now I am 5’8”. There’s talk that I am an alcoholic. Truth is I don’t smoke and I drink little. I do gamble, especially since I’ve made good money in movies. Betting for race horses entices me. It is a nasty truth for my bank account and family.

According to one report I have been married three times. Not so. I’ve been married for several years to my second wife. She’s a good woman, but I’m not a good husband

Here’s a true account. When I first returned to the U.S. and couldn’t sleep, military doctors prescribed sleeping pills for me. After too many years of dependence, I locked myself into a motel room for one week and beat the addiction cold turkey.

Back when the war in Europe was over and I had won the Congressional Medal of Honor, my innocent baby face was on the cover of Life magazine. Actor James Cagney saw it and brought me to Hollywood for training in acting.

During 21 years, I acted in over 40 movies. My autobiography, To Hell and Back, was finished with the help of David McClure. Universal Studios produced it and for twenty years made more money with it than any of their other movies. That helped me, though I gambled away most of my earnings. The film remains and I like its realness with loneliness, buddies, courage, and combat. In the film, Audie is me.

In 1971, I died in a plane crash. I was almost 46.

This is Barbara Steiner with Audie who claimed courage, terrible challenges, and failure. Visit www.thisweeksstory .com for more stories.

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