Taking a step back in the day when a young first lieutenant took on the German army...single-handedly.

On this day in 1945, a 19 yr old First Lieutenant by the name of  Audie Murphy earned the Congressional Medal of Honor for ordering his men to retreat, then jumping into a blazing tank destroyer and single-handedly holding off the Germans with a machine gun. He held off an entire company of German soldiers for an hour at the Colmar Pocket in France in January 1945, then leading a successful counterattack while wounded and out of ammunition.

Murphy was born into a poor sharecropper family in Texas in the mid 20's. With both parents dead at an early age, Murphy left school at a very young age and picked cotton to help support his family.

After the attack on Pearl Harbor, he had his sister help him to falisify his age so he could meet the minimum age to get into the military.

After his three year active duty, Murphy went on to serve in the Guard and Reserves. His total time of duty was from 1942-1969 where he achievced the rank of Major in the Texas Army National Guard.

His acting career went on for 21 years with many roles in westerns. One of his movies included his 1955 autoboigraphical film, To Hell and Back, where he played himself in the leading role.

Murphy died in a plane crash in Virginia in 1971, shortly before his 46th birthday.

Photo Composite: Gas Mask in the aftermath of war


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