If we’re going to talk badasses, I think it only appropriate to start with the man who comes to mind when I think of the congressional Medal of Honor. Audie Leon Murphy amassed a total of 33 medals in his day along with the congressional Medal of Honor for “conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty”. Audie earned just about every medal there was to earn for being godly on the battlefield and then went on to star as himself in war movies before suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and clinical depression. Like many men of his time, Audie’s life was eventually taken by the one thing he couldn’t fight, a piece of crap private plane transporting him on a business trip.
What makes Audie a badass?
Well given the technology and advances in military weaponry you will never see a guy like this again so don’t take this lightly. Audie was born a Texas boy in June of 1924, being the 7th of 12 kids and a bit on the small side, Audie not only suffered the hardships of farm life but lost both his parents by the age of 16. Weighing 110 lbs and standing a mere 5’5″, Audie enlisted in 1941 when the United States joined what would become known as World War 2. Due to his small stature, the Marines and Army paratroopers refused Audie and he was forced to enlist into the regular Army as an infantryman. It took till 1943 before Audie actually saw action and after a quiet time in North Africa, he earned his respect in Italy where the bulk of the action was, and he was promoted to Corporal.
Showing his aptitude for not only soldiering but for leading, Audie was soon promoted to sergeant in the invasion of Salermo when he and his men were ambushed during a night patrol and managed to overcome the enemy killing 3 and capturing more. Once on the frontlines, Audie wisely mined a road that a German tank was to traverse, stopping it in it’s tracks and made moves to fully immobilize the threat himself. Asking his men to cover him, Audie crept forward and tried to take it out with Molotov Cocktails, when that didn’t work, Audie used rifle grenades (all while getting shot at) to knock the tank off it’s treads and was awarded the bronze star for this.
In southern France Audie’s troop was ordered to capture an enemy artillery position which was position high up on a ridge. Upon gaining the hill, Audie’s men were peppered with German fire, it was relentless and the ones still alive were pinned down. Audie’s grenades could not reach the enemy so in a desperate move he crawled down the hill towards a heavy machine gun platoon. Taking a .30 calibur machine gun back up to the hill, Audie rained hell on the Germans killing two initially and forcing the rest to cease fire as he exhausted a belt of ammunition upon them. When a German waved a white flag, one of Audie’s men exposed himself to confirm and was shot and killed causing Audie to go berserk. Charging down on one position under cover of grenades and fire, he killed every single soldier in that German unit. For this he was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross.
Audie received a Purple Heart when he was struck in the heel by a shell fragment, but after recovery went right back to the front lines to fight alongside his men. Once there he was ambushed again while on patrol and after crawling to safety, used two grenades to silence his attackers. Due to his actions saving many lives, he was awarded the Silver Star for his bravery. Soon after another ambush occurred, this one even worse and Audie insanely crawls towards the enemy, radio in hand in order to relay their exact position to call in mortar and artillery fire, resulting in the death of over 50 enemy soldiers. For this Audie received a second Silver Star, all within the span of a week.
Winning the Medal of Honor
The true test of Audie’s quality came after his promotion to 2nd Lieutenant. After getting shot in the hip by a sniper’s bullet (October 1944 – at about age 20) Audie had to spend a few months healing before storming Holtzwihr fortress with his men in 1945. The fortress proved formidable and all officers except Audie were killed after the 3rd day of the assault. Taking command of the full force, Audie ordered the men to pull pack as he called in an aerial assault, a tactic which proved unsuccessful . Seeing the men dead around him and feeling desperate, Audie climbed into a burning tank destroyer and with little care for his life, turned the machine gun on the advancing Germans.
For an hour Audie’s last ditch effort kept the Germans at bay, they couldn’t take him out and he was taking them out slowly but surely. When his artillery was spent and the reality of the situation finally apparent, Audie climbed from the burning destroyer, realized that he had been wounded in the leg and plopped down into the snow. All the way up to 10 yards within the destroyer, enemy soldiers lay decimated by Audie Murphy’s gun. In all reality he should have died that day and for blacking out and becoming the German’s angel of death, he was awarded the Medal of Honor.
After all of this hell, Audie became instantly famous worldwide and was the most highly decorated U.S. soldier of World War II. Over 33 Medals and 5 decorations from France and Belgium were in his repertoire, along with being responsible for the death of over 240 enemy soldiers. For more information on this military badass, please visit his dedication site at: http://www.audiemurphy.com.See some words or phrases that you don't understand? Check out The Dragon's Lexicon.