|2nd Lt. Audie Murphy, 3rd Infantry Division, France, 1945|
|Audie Murphy wanted to join the Marines, but he was too short. The paratroopers wouldn't have him either. Reluctantly, he settled on the infantry, enlisting to become the most decorated soldier of World War II. Beginning his service as an Army Private, Audie quickly rose to the enlisted rank of Staff Sergeant, was given a battlefield commission as 2nd Lieutenant. He also received every decoration for valor that his country had to offer, some of them more than once, including 5 decorations by France and Belgium.
On Jan. 26, 1945, near the village of Holtzwihr in eastern France, Lt. Murphy's forward positions came under fierce attack by the Germans. Against the onslaught of six Panzer tanks and 250 infantrymen, Murphy ordered his men to fall back to better their defenses. Alone, he mounted an abandoned burning tank destroyer and, with a single machine gun, contested the enemy's advance. Wounded in the leg during the heavy fire, Murphy remained there for nearly an hour, repelling the attack of German soldiers on three sides and single-handedly killing 50 of them. His courageous performance stalled the German advance and allowed him to lead his men in the counterattack which ultimately drove the enemy from Holtzwihr. For this Murphy was awarded the Medal of Honor, the nation's highest award for gallantry in action.
Credited with either killing over 240 of the enemy while wounding and capturing many others, he became a legend within the 3rd Infantry Division. He was wounded three times, fought in 9 major campaigns across the European Theater, and survived the war.
The U.S. Army has always declared that there will never be another Audie Murphy.