Audie Murphy iz junaka Drugog svjetskog rata: 'Kako to da nisam mrtav?'

Audie Murphy iz junaka Drugog svjetskog rata: 'Kako to da nisam mrtav?'


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26. januara 1945. Audie Murphy i oko 40 američkih vojnika sjedili su drhteći na ledenoj čistini prekrivenoj snijegom u blizini alzanskog grada Holtzwihr. Vojnicima izmorenim borbama naređeno je da drže vitalnu cestu do dolaska pojačanja, ali operacija je odgođena i obećano olakšanje nije bilo nigdje. Nešto iza 14 sati, zimsku tišinu iznenada je prekinula grmljavina neprijateljske artiljerijske paljbe. U daljini je iz šume izašlo oko 250 njemačkih vojnika i šest tenkova.

Dok je gledao Nijemce kako se postrojavaju za napad, Murphy je osjetio talas panike u svom trbuhu. Bio je to poznat osjećaj, koji je naučio kontrolirati tokom 18 mjeseci žestokih borbi širom Italije i Francuske. Sa samo 19 godina, Teksašanin sa bebinim licem već je osvojio dvije srebrne zvijezde i križ za istaknute službe, a vodio je u borbu 10 godina starije ljude. Kad je pucnjava počela, znao je da će ga instinkti preuzeti. „Živci će se opustiti,“ kasnije je napisao, „srce, prestani da lupa. Mozak će se okrenuti životinjskom lukavstvu. Posao je direktno pred nama: uništite i preživite. ”

Murphy je znao da njegovi ljudi nemaju šanse protiv tako velikih snaga, pa je naredio većini od njih da se povuku na unaprijed pripremljene obrambene položaje uz obližnji drvored. Dok su trčali u zaklon, on je ostao iza i upotrijebio svoj terenski telefon da pozove u artiljerijskom napadu. Imao je taman dovoljno vremena za radio u svojim koordinatama prije nego što su oko njega izbile salve njemačke tenkovske vatre. Jedna granata je odmah izbušila drvo u blizini mitraljeskog gnijezda i zasula svoju posadu smrtonosnim krhotinama drveta; drugi je pogodio obližnji razarač tenkova i zapalio ga.

Murphyjevo zapovjedno mjesto rušilo se pred njegovim očima, ali on je ostao pri svom mjestu i nastavio pozivati ​​savezničku artiljeriju. Za nekoliko sekundi, zavesa prijateljske vatre pala je između njega i nadiruće nemačke pešadije, zatrpavši otvoreno polje kraterima i prekrivši sve dimom. Nakon što je ispraznio svoj karabin M-1 prema neprijatelju, Murphy je zgrabio njegov poljski telefon i sklonio se na gorući razarač tenkova. Preko radija je mogao čuti komandanta artiljerije kako pita koliko su Nijemci blizu njegove pozicije. "Samo drži telefon i dopustit ću ti da razgovaraš s jednim od gada!" uzviknuo je.

Razarač tenkova polako je zahvatio plamen, ali Murphy je vidio da je njegova kupola mitraljeza kalibra 50. još uvijek u funkciji. Brzo je uzeo pištolj i isprskao vatru na sušenje prema njemačkim trupama koje su mu bile najbliže. "Moj umrtvljeni mozak namjerava samo uništiti", kasnije je Murphy napisao u svojoj autobiografiji. "Svjestan sam samo da dim i kupola omogućavaju dobar ekran, te da su mi prvi put u tri dana stopala topla." Nastavio je pucati rafal za rafalom, pokosivši desetak nacističkih vojnika i držeći tenkove podalje. Sve vreme je ostao na telefonu, usmeravajući artiljerijsku vatru sve bliže svom položaju i nanoseći katastrofalnu štetu napredujućoj pešadiji.

Sa svog zaklona na rubu drvoreda, većina Murphyjevih trupa mogla je to samo šokirano promatrati. "Očekivao sam da ću svakog trenutka vidjeti cijeli prokleti razarač tenkova pod njim", napisao je kasnije vojnik Anthony Abramski. Zapravo, požar je možda spasio Murphyjev život. Mnogi njemački vojnici i zapovjednici tenkova nisu ga mogli vidjeti iza zastora dima i plamena, a oni koji su to učinili opirali su se prići previše iz straha da će vozilo eksplodirati.

Uprkos tuči savezničkih artiljerijskih granata, svježi talasi njemačkog pješaštva nastavili su se približavati Marphyjevoj poziciji. Jedna je grupa pokušala napraviti bočni manevar s njegove desne strane, da bi ga potom tuča precizne vatre srušila iz pištolja kalibra 50. Dok je Murphy nastavio napad s jednim čovjekom, njemački topnici su vatrenim oružjem i tenkovskom vatrom progurali njegov tinjajući razarač tenkova. Jedna eksplozija ga je zamalo izbacila iz vozila i poslala mu oštre gelere u nogu, ali on nije uzeo u obzir ranu i nastavio je borbu. Tek kad je Murphyju ponestalo municije, konačno se povukao. Omamljen i krvav, skočio je s još uvijek zapaljenog razarača tenkova i odšepao do svojih ljudi. Kasnije je napisao da mu je odlaskom neprestano prolazila jedna misao: "Kako to da nisam mrtav?"

Murphyjevi ljudi su se bez sumnje pitali isto. To je bio "najveći iskaz hrabrosti i hrabrosti koji sam ikada vidio", napisao je kasnije zapanjeni Abramski. "Sat vremena je sam držao neprijateljske snage, boreći se protiv nemogućih izgleda." Murphy je lično ubio ili ranio oko 50 neprijateljskih trupa i usmjerio artiljeriju na još desetine. Čak i nakon što je stigao na sigurno, odbio je evakuaciju s terena i umjesto toga okupio je svoje ljude u kontranapadu koji je Nijemce vratio u šumu.

Audie Murphy je proglašen nacionalnim herojem i odlikovan Medaljom časti za podvige u Holtzwihru. Ne želeći riskirati život svog najnovijeg slavnog vojnika, vojska ga je premjestila u časnika za vezu i učinila je sve da ga spriječi u borbi do kraja rata. Do tada je G.I. pretrpio je tri rane, gadan slučaj malarije, gangrene i više mrtvih prijatelja nego što je želio zapamtiti. "Postoji Dan VE bez", napisao je o svojim pomiješanim osjećajima na kraju rata, "ali nema mira u sebi."

Murphy se vratio kući u junu 1945. na herojsku dobrodošlicu paradama, rojevim novinarima i njegovim licem na naslovnici časopisa Life. Po savjetu filmske legende Jamesa Cagneya, kasnije je svoj dječački izgled odnio u Hollywood, gdje je stvorio filmsku karijeru koja je uključivala više od 40 kredita, većinom u vesternima i ratnim filmovima. Njegova najpoznatija uloga došla je 1955. godine, kada je igrao sebe u filmu "Do pakla i natrag", adaptaciji njegovih vlastitih memoara o Drugom svjetskom ratu. Ponovno proživljavanje strahota borbe pred kamerom pokazalo se teškim za Murphyja, koji je od povratka kući patio od mora i sjećanja. Kasnije je javno govorio o svojoj višedecenijskoj borbi sa posttraumatskim stresnim poremećajem i pozvao američku vladu da svojim veteranima pruži bolju njegu mentalnog zdravlja.

"Do pakla i natrag" bio je veliki hit - film je bio najprofitabilnije izdanje Universal Studiosa do "Čeljusti" 1975. - i pomogao je u zapečaćenju ugleda Murphyja kao jednog od najpoznatijih američkih veterana Drugog svjetskog rata. No, uprkos tome što je osvojio nekoliko desetina medalja za hrabrost, uvijek se opirao pokušajima da ga proglasi herojem. "Hrabrost je samo odlučnost da se uradi posao za koji znate da mora biti obavljen", rekao je novinarima po povratku kući 1945. "Samo sam se borio da ostanem živ, kao i svi drugi, pretpostavljam."


Velika dama je prošla & mdash Pamela Murphy

TVRDITI: Account opisuje napore Pamele Murphy u ime pacijenata u Veteranima
Administrativna bolnica.

Primjer: [Prikupljeno putem e-pošte, jul 2010.]

Svaki vojnik ili marinac koji je došao u bolnicu imao je isti poseban tretman od nje. Hodala bi hodnicima s međuspremnikom u ruci pazeći da njeni dječaci moraju posjetiti stručnjaka koji im je potreban.

Ako nisu, pazite. Njeni dječaci nisu bili dobitnici Medalje časti niti filmske zvijezde poput Audiea, ali to nije bilo važno za Pam. Oni su služili svojoj zemlji. To je bilo dovoljno dobro za nju. Nikada nije nazvala veterana njegovim imenom. Uvijek je to bilo „Gospodine“. Poštovanje je stiglo sa poslom.

“Nitko nije mogao brže prebroditi birokraciju VA -a od rečenog veterana Stephen Shermana, govoreći za hiljade veterana s kojima se sprijateljila godinama. „Mnogo sam je puta gledao kako maršira veteran koji je čekao više od sat vremena pravo u liječničku ordinaciju. Nekoliko puta su je čak i ukorili, ali nije bilo važno da „Samo su njeni dječaci bili važni. Ona je bila naš anđeo. "

Porijeklo: Audie Murphy bio je najodlikovaniji američki svjetski veteran, koji je dobio Medalju časti (najveće priznanje američke vojske za hrabrost), kao i drugu nagradu i citate iz SAD -a, Francuske i Belgije. Murphyjev poslijeratni život uključivao je uspješnu glumačku karijeru koja je obuhvaćala nastupe u više od četrdeset filmova (uključujući Do pakla i nazad, filmska verzija njegove svjetske autobiografije u kojoj je Murphy glumio sebe).

1971. Audie Murphy je poginuo u 45. godini u avionskoj nesreći, ostavljajući za sobom suprugu Pamelu. (Iako se par razišao početkom 1960 -ih, ostali su u braku do Murphyjeve smrti.) Kako bi se izdržavala nakon smrti svog muža, Pamela Murphy se zaposlila u bolnici Sepulveda Veterans Administration (VA) u dolini Kalifornije i provela je sljedeći radeći u toj ustanovi, gdje je bila nadaleko poznata i hvaljena zbog nivoa njege i brige koju je pokazivala prema veteranima koji su tamo tražili liječenje.

Pamela Murphy preminula je u 90. godini što je izazvalo Dennisa McCarthyja Daily News da napiše gore navedenu kolumnu o njoj, posthumno donoseći Pameli Murphy mjeru prepoznatljivosti javnosti koju je uvijek prezirala dok je bila živa.


Kritična masa: Nepretenciozni Audie Murphy pravi američki heroj

Audie Murphy (lijevo) i John Dierks glume u filmu Johna Hustona iz 1951. godine "Crvena značka hrabrosti".

Audie Murphy bio je mali čovjek, dodira preko 5 stopa, visok 5 inča. Dolazio je iz teksaške dioničke porodice nakon što mu se majka razboljela 1936. godine, a njegov otac - koji "nije bio lijen, ali je imao genija da ne razmišlja o budućnosti" - napustio je nju i njegovo 11 djece. Audie je postao hranitelj. Ubrao je pamuk, radio u trgovini i pucao na zečeve sa melasom i kruhom koji su jeli. Njegova majka, Josie, umrla je u maju 1941. godine, kada je imao 15 godina.

"Nikad se ne mogu sjetiti da sam bio mlad u životu", rekao bi mnogo kasnije.

Imao je 16 godina kada se prvi put pokušao prijaviti u marince, odmah nakon što su Japanci napali Pearl Harbor. Odbijen je zbog nedostatka težine i maloljetnosti.

Zamolio je svoju sestru da položi lažnu izjavu da je bio godinu dana stariji od njega, te je otišao na prejedanje koje mu je podiglo težinu sve do 112 kilograma. Vojska ga je konačno uzela u junu 1942. godine, a tokom osnovne obuke briljirao je kao strijelac, ali se onesvijestio tokom vježbe po narudžbi po vrućem suncu u Teksasu.

Zapovjednik njegove čete smatrao je da je premalo građen za borbu i pokušao ga je premjestiti u školu kuhanja i pekarstva. Ali Murphy je, prema njegovoj autobiografiji napisanoj od duhova, oduvijek želio biti vojnik.

Poslali su ga u inostranstvo 1943. godine, kada je imao 18 godina. Do kraja rata govorilo se da je ubio 241 neprijateljskog vojnika. Uveden u redove, brzo će biti unaprijeđen u kaplara i narednika, konačno će dobiti rijetku narudžbu na bojnom polju za potporučnika i vođu voda.

Sa 19 godina osvojio je medalju časti jer je doslovno sam nadmašio njemački tenkovski i pješadijski napad - pucao je s vrha nasukanog razarača tenkova i pozvao topničku vatru na svoj položaj. (Navodno, kada su ga upitali koliko su Nijemci blizu njegove pozicije, Murphy je rekao: "Samo drži telefon i dopustiću ti da razgovaraš s jednim gadom.") Zatim, nakon što su se Nijemci povukli, Murphy je zaokružio preostale 19 (od originalnih 128) ljudi u njegovoj četi i organizirali su kontranapad.

Odlikovan je sa 36 drugih medalja, a njegove strane pohvale su bile francuski krivotvoritelj, Legija časti i Croix de Guerre s palmom i srebrnom zvijezdom te belgijski Croix de Guerre 1940 s Palmom. Zakonodavno tijelo Teksasa također mu je dodijelilo Medalju časti. Obično se naziva najodlikovanijim vojnikom Drugog svjetskog rata.

Kada se vratio iz Evrope nakon Dana VE u junu 1945., dočekan je kao heroj, sa paradama i banketima. Život ga je stavio na naslovnicu svog broja od 16. jula 1945. godine. Ispostavilo se da je Audie Murphy zgodan klinac, uvijek opisivan kao "dječji" ili "dječački". James Cagney je vidio fotografiju, nazvao Murphyja i pozvao ga u Hollywood.

Murphy je došao, pomalo nevoljko, bolno svjestan da nema talenta ili afiniteta za posao, ali da može toliko dugo živjeti na govorima nakon večere i vojnoj penziji od 113 dolara. Kad ga je Cagney osobno upoznala, začudio se što je ratni heroj bio "vrlo mršav", sa "plavkastosivim tenom".

Cagney je otkazao hotelsku sobu koju je rezervirao za Murphyja i odveo ga u vlastiti dom. Cagney i njegov brat William potpisali su Murphyja kao ugovornog igrača od 150 dolara sedmično za svoju produkcijsku kuću i namjestili mu časove glume, glasa i džuda.

Ali nikada ga nisu uložili u film, a 1947. preselio se u sobu u Atletskom klubu Terryja Hunta u Hollywoodu, gdje je upoznao scenarista Davida "Speca" McClurea, koji je služio u Signalnom korpusu američke vojske tokom Drugog svjetskog rata. McClure je ohrabrio Murphyja da traži ugovor o knjizi, a uskoro je potpisao ugovor s Henry Holt and Co. da napiše njegove memoare, a McClure je služio kao pisac duhova.

McClure je Murphyju također donio prvu ekransku ulogu kao dječaka koji je kopirao novine u filmu "Texas, Brooklyn and Heaven". (Slično mali dio, u filmu Alana Ladda "Beyond Glory", snimljen je ranije, ali je objavljen kasnije. Murphyjeva djevojka i kasnija supruga, Wanda Hendrix, pomogla mu je da osigura tu ulogu.)

Kako je Murphy nastavio glumiti u sve većim ulogama u B slikama, on i McClure krenuli su u pisanje obećanih memoara. Odleteli su u Evropu kako bi vratili Murphyjeve korake kroz Siciliju, i Salerno, Anzio, južnu Francusku i južnu Njemačku kako bi ponovno posjetili ratišta na kojima je osvojio svoje medalje.

Proces je bio naporan Murphy je vjerojatno bio prirodni introvert i vratio se iz rata s onim što bismo sada prepoznali kao klasičan slučaj posttraumatskog stresnog sindroma. (Borio se s nesanicom, napadima depresije i noćnim morama povezanim s brojnim bitkama tokom svog života. Hendrix je bio uznemiren što je spavao sa zarobljenim Waltherom ispod jastuka i tvrdio je da ju je jednom navukao nakon što ga je ona prenerazila. Razveli su se 1951. godine. .)

Iako je mukotrpno dugo pisao neke odlomke, vjerovatno je napisao manje od 10% knjige. U ostatku, McClure se za svoje činjenice oslanjao na Murphyjeve medalje i klasiku Donalda Taggarta "Povijest treće pješadijske divizije u Drugom svjetskom ratu". Zatim bi pokušao intervjuirati šutljivog Murphyja o svojim iskustvima, otkucati ono što misli da se dogodilo i poslati njegovu kopiju Murphyju.

Murphy bi često odbijao McClureov prvi i drugi pokušaj da prikaže Murphyjeva sjećanja. Pisac bi postao frustriran zbog svog saradnika i zahtijevao da mu Murphy tačno kaže šta se dogodilo. Ponekad bi slomljeni mladić učinio upravo to.

Nakon godinu dana imali su izuzetnu knjigu, općenito poznatu kao "Do pakla i nazad". No, ako pogledate zaštitnu jaknu prvog izdanja, primijetit ćete da je knjiga zapravo naslovljena "Do pakla i natrag Audieja Murphyja", što izgleda da zaključuje o izvjesnoj dvosmislenosti autorstva. Nije baš "po" Murphyju, a McClureino ime se nigdje ne pojavljuje u izdanju.

I dok se pripovijeda u prvom licu, čini se da se Murphy povlači sa mjesta događaja, prepuštajući ga svojim kolegama vojnicima. U jednom slučaju, pjesma koju je Murphy napisao (kasnije će postići određeni uspjeh kao tekstopisac) pripisuje se drugom vojniku.

Počinje na Siciliji, a Murphy se osjeća razočarano što je zbog problema s rasporedom njegova četa došla na obalu nešto nakon početnog napada i naišla samo na simboličan otpor talijanskih trupa:

Bilo je nekih velikih stvari koje su se razbijale, a s različitih je točaka dopiralo zveckanje malokalibarskog oružja. Ali ubrzo smo se navikli.

Ali ne treba dugo da počne horor. Prva smrt, jednog od Murphyjevih kolega vojnika, događa se na drugoj stranici:

Druga ljuska je drugačija. Nešto užasno i trenutačno u vezi njegovog zvižduka tjera me tjeme da počne peckati. Zgrabim kacigu i prevrnem se na trbuh. Eksplozija je gromoglasna. Čelični fragmenti cvile, a čini se da zemlja skače i udara me u lice.

Opet tišina. Podižem glavu. Kisele pare praha izazvale su epidemiju kašlja.

Glas pukne. Svi to vidimo. Crvenokosi vojnik je pao sa stijene. Krv mu curi iz usta i nosa.

Potrebno je još osam stranica prije nego što Murphy zabilježi svoje prvo ubistvo:

. Ja sam ispred čete sa grupom izviđača. Ispratili smo nekoliko italijanskih oficira. Trebali su se predati. Umjesto toga uzjašu dva veličanstvena bijela konja i ludo galopiraju. Moj čin je instinktivan. Pavši na jedno koljeno, pucam dvaput. Ljudi padaju s konja, prevrću se i mirno leže.

Teško je znati kome pripisati veličanstvene ritmove i ton činjenice. Poniznost je vjerovatno Murphyjeva - nigdje u memoarima ne spominju se njegove medalje, a iako je knjiga puna pokolja i galantnosti, čini se da je neuobičajeno usredotočena na svakodnevne svakodnevne strahote života u zoni borbi.

Osim rekonstruiranih razgovora među vojnicima, koji se ponekad čine škrtim i širokim (problem nije pomogao ni pokušaj ponavljanja regionalnih naglasaka), knjiga odzvanja autoritetom nevoljnog svjedoka.

Prošlo je dosta vremena od kada sam pročitao roman Normana Mailera iz Drugog svjetskog rata "Goli i mrtvi", ali "Do pakla i natrag" osjeća se izravnije i nekako iskrenije, iako je filtrirano kroz McClureov holivudski senzibilitet koliko i "Goli i The Dead "je filtriran kroz Mailerove spisateljske težnje.

U suradnji Murphy/McClure ponekad postoji poezija, kao kad on prepričava san iz djetinjstva:

. Bio sam na dalekom ratištu, gdje su trubile trube, vijorili se transparenti i ljudi galantno jurišali preko plamenih brda gdje je temperatura uvijek stajala na osamdeset, a naša je strana uvijek pobjeđivala gdje su umirući bili samo bezlične sjene, a ranjeni nikada nisu plakali.

"Do pakla i natrag" ima manje od 300 stranica i lako se čita. Mnogo lakše nego "Goli i mrtvi". Ali nikada se ne spominje kao jedna od najboljih knjiga proizašlih iz Drugog svjetskog rata, vjerovatno zato što je bila zaklonjena filmskom verzijom iz 1955., u kojoj je Murphy glumio sebe.

Murphy, uprkos samozatajnoj ocjeni vlastitih glumačkih sposobnosti, bio je sve u redu kao glumac, posebno u "Crvenoj znački hrabrosti" iz 1951. i zapadnjačkim ulogama poput "Destryja" iz 1954. i "Duel u Silver Creeku" iz 1952. godine od Don Siegel Ipak, nije bio voljan glumiti sebe, dijelom i zbog toga što se bojao da će ga doživjeti kako unovčava svoje ratno iskustvo.

Možda se i s pravom uplašio da će njegova priča biti holivudizirana, posebno nakon što je McClure izgubio priliku da knjigu prilagodi ekranu kalfi Gilu Doudu, koji je bio poznatiji po svom radiju. Dok je Doud radio s Murphyjem na isti način kao i McClure, film se, barem modernoj publici, čini standardnim ratnim filmom, iako je nešto mračniji od većine ratnih filmova tog razdoblja: Na kraju, Murphy je jedini član preostale originalne jedinice.

Nakon što je film izašao, Murphy je dao intervju u kojem se osvrnuo na "čudne trzaje naprijed-natrag između izmišljene i stvarnosti" koje je snimanje u njemu izazvalo, "između borbe za svoj život i otkrića da je to samo igra i morate ponoviti snimanje jer je turistički pas usred bitke pretrčao polje. "

Ispričao je incident u kojem je ponovio smrt jednog od svojih bliskih prijatelja u bitci. U stvarnom životu, njegov prijatelj je ustao previsoko dok su napredovali uz brdo i pogođen rafalom neprijateljske mitraljeske vatre. Pao je nazad u Murphyjevo naručje, nasmiješio se i rekao "Zajebavao sam se, Murphy" dok je umro.

"Kad smo snimali scenu," sjetio se Murphy, "promijenili smo dio u kojem je Brandon umro u mojim rukama. To se zaista dogodilo, ali izgledalo je previše banalno, rekli su. Pretpostavljam da jeste."

Vjerovatno zbog noviteta ratnog heroja koji se predstavlja na ekranu, savremene kritike bile su gotovo ujednačeno pozitivne. "Vjerodostojnost gori u njegovom blagom licu i nježnim pokretima dok se zanosno kreće kroz scene bitke, poput čovjeka koji ih proživljava s čuđenjem i nečim pijetetom", napisao je časopis Time.

Bolji sud mogao bi ponuditi novinar New Yorkera John McCarten, koji je napisao: "Rečeno mi je da je on skroman čovjek i da se ovdje ponaša skromno. Međutim, događaji opisani na slici imaju činjeničnu sliku o njima. Možda spontanost stvarnog herojstva jednostavno se ne može ponoviti u filmovima. "

Film završava tako što je Murphyju uručena Medalja časti, a njegovi pali drugovi na ceremoniji su predstavljeni sablasnim ukazanjima. Više volim posljednju stranicu knjige na kojoj, kad Murphy čuje da je rat konačno gotov, obećava sebi da će "pronaći djevojku o kojoj sam nekad sanjao. Naučit ću gledati na život neciničnim očima, imati vjeru, spoznati ljubav. Naučit ću raditi u miru kao u ratu. "

Ali Murphyjeva priča nije imala sretan kraj. Ponovo se oženio i dobio dvoje djece, a njegove pjesme snimili su Dean Martin i Harry Nilsson, ali su ga noćne more dovele do ovisnosti o tabletama za spavanje. Nikada nije prevladao svoja glumačka ograničenja, a b-vestern u koji se činilo da se uklopio ubrzo su istisnule TV serije s jedne strane i oštriji, nasilniji špageti vestern s druge. Film koji je zamislio da napravi sa McClureom, "Put natrag", nastavak njegovih ratnih memoara, nikada nije dobio finansiranje.

Do 1960. Murphy, koji je možda bio jedna od inspiracija za lika Quentina Tarantina Ricka Daltona (Leonardo DiCaprio), sveden je na ulogu zapadnog detektiva na TV -u u uglavnom zaboravljenoj seriji "Whispering Smith".

Intervjuiran 1962., govorio je o svom poslijeratnom iskustvu: "Rat vas lišava psihički i fizički, iscrpljuje vas. Stvari vas više ne oduševljavaju. To je svakodnevna borba da pronađete nešto zanimljivo za učiniti."

Nekoliko godina kasnije, povukao se iz glume, razvio problem kockanja, loše investirao, bankrotirao i proglasio bankrot 1968. Sudio mu se zbog pokušaja ubistva - njegova odbrana je u osnovi bila da bi, da je htio ubiti čovjeka, imati

uradio to. Porota mu je stisnula ruku nakon što su ga oslobodili.

Godinu dana kasnije, 1971., bio je mrtav. Avion koji je unajmio srušio se na putu da provjeri potencijalnu mogućnost ulaganja u tvornicu koja je proizvodila montažne kuće. Imao je 45 godina.

Kad ljudi pomisle na američke vojnike u Drugom svjetskom ratu, veliki broj njih se odmah sjeti Johna Waynea. Ljudi mi šalju ljuta pisma kad istaknem da Wayne, koji je imao 34 godine na dan bombardovanja Pearl Harbora, nikada nije proveo dan u oružanim snagama, da je poduzeo mjere kako bi izbjegao službu tokom rata.

Oni žele da zamisle da njihov junak izvršava tajne misije za O.S.S. divljeg Billa Donovana, ili da mu je FDR naredio da snima filmove kako bi održao moral.

Nemam ništa protiv Waynea koji je bio glumac, a ne heroj, i učinio je ono što bi mnogi, ako ne i većina ljudi, učinili u njegovoj situaciji.

Ali mislim na Audieja Murphyja, koji je došao slab i izgladnjeo iz istočnog Teksasa, autentičnog heroja koji je zaboravljen u ovo doba kada autentičnost navodno mnogo znači. I ta velika, zaboravljena knjiga koju je nekad napisao.


Autor Tom Huntington

Grupa za potragu borila se kroz gustu šumu na Virdžinijskoj planini Brush. Na vrhu vrha od 3.065 stopa, udaljenog oko 12 milja od Roanokea, tragači su naišli na olupinu aviona koju je posada helikoptera ranije uočila. Pronašli su tri tijela u unakaženom trupu i još tri u razbacanom kršu. Među poginulima je i 46-godišnji Audie Murphy, najodlikovaniji veteran u historiji SAD-a.

Murphy, koji je letio u Virdžiniju da provjeri mogućnosti ulaganja, u Drugom svjetskom ratu zaradio je 21 medalju, uključujući i Medalju časti Kongresa. Nakon rata pojavio se u mnogim filmovima, nekim dobrim, najsrednijim. Kad se avion srušio 23. maja 1971., on je izgledao kao čovjek iz nekog drugog vremena. Vijest o njegovoj smrti podijelila je naslovnu stranicu New York Timesa sa izvještajima o protestima povodom Dana sjećanja protiv Vijetnamskog rata.

Murphy je sa punim vojnim počastima sahranjen na nacionalnom groblju Arlington dok su gledali njegova supruga i dva sina. Svečanosti je prisustvovao načelnik generalštaba vojske William Westmoreland. Bijela kuća predsjednika Richarda Nixona izdala je saopćenje da je Murphy "ne samo osvojio milionsko divljenje svojim vlastitim hrabrim podvizima, već je došao i da utjelovljuje galantnost u akciji američkih boraca".

Nažalost, Murphy je jednako temeljito utjelovio mračni korolar do "galantnosti na djelu", psihološkog učinka koji rat može nanijeti čak i najhrabrijim ratnicima. Iako je bio tri puta ranjen u borbi, njegovi najdublji ožiljci nisu bili fizički. Patio je od užasnih mora, spavao je sa upaljenim svjetlima i pištoljem ispod jastuka, teško se kockao i nije ga zanimalo nakon što je na visokim linijama postojao s visokim ulozima. "Čini se kao da me ništa više ne može uzbuditi - znate, oduševljen?" rekao je to redatelju Johnu Hustonu nakon što je glumio u "Crvenoj znački hrabrosti". "Prije rata bih se uzbudio i oduševio oko mnogih stvari, ali ne više."

Rođen 20. juna 1924. godine u blizini teksaškog grada Kingstona, Murphy je bio jedno od devetero preživjele djece roditelja koji su živjeli od zemlje. "Bili smo poljoprivrednici sa zajedničkim usjevima", napisao je. “A reći da je porodica bila siromašna bilo bi potcjenjivanje. Siromaštvo je pratilo svaki naš korak. ” Kad je Murphy imao 16 godina, njegov otac je otišao. "Jednostavno je otišao iz naših života i više se nismo čuli s njim", napisao je Murphy. Majka mu je umrla sljedeće godine, a Murphy je teško podnio njenu smrt. Porodica se morala raspasti, a Murphyjeva trojica najmlađe braće i sestara poslani su u sirotište.

Dolazak u rat s japanskim napadom na Pearl Harbor 7. decembra 1941. izgleda da je obećavao izlaz iz loše situacije, iako se Murphy-nizak, pjegavog lica i slab-činio nevjerojatnim ratnikom. Marinci ga nisu htjeli odvesti. Ne bi ni padobranci. Kad se konačno uspio prijaviti u pješaštvo, imao je 18 godina, ali je izgledao mlađe. Njegov narednik u kampu za obuku zvao ga je Baby, a Murphy se onesvijestio tokom prve vježbe bliskog reda. Zapovjednici su ga pokušali spriječiti u borbi, predlažući da ga mogu postaviti za službenika ili pekara. Ali htio se boriti.

Šansa se napokon ukazala kad je Murphyjeva četa B 15. puka, 3. divizije, sletila u Italiju. Ubio je svoje prve neprijateljske vojnike na Siciliji: dva talijanska oficira koji su pokušali odjahati na konju. "Ne osjećam nikakvih smetnji ni ponosa ni grižnje savjesti", rekao je u To Hell And Back, autobiografiji iz 1949. koju je napisao zajedno sa novinarom i prijateljem Davidom McClureom. "Postoji samo umorna ravnodušnost koja će me pratiti tokom cijelog rata." Čak je u ovoj ranoj fazi svoje borbene karijere učio kako suzbiti svoje emocije.

Sa Sicilije, Murphyjeva kompanija preselila se na talijansko kopno. Napad malarije spriječio ga je da sudjeluje u prvim slijetanjima u Anzio, ali vidio je dovoljno akcije. Njemački otpor se pojačao nakon slijetanja, a saveznički vojnici su preživjeli bijednu pat poziciju. Jedne noći, dok je bio pod vatrom, Murphy se prikrao do oštećenog njemačkog tenka i trajno ga stavio van pogona. Napad mu je donio prvu medalju, brončanu zvijezdu.

Takav odvažan napad postao je tipičan za Murphyja. Bio je to sjajan udarac, njegovi instinkti na bojnom polju bili su oštri poput britve, i činilo se da je neustrašiv. "Ako sam otkrio jednu vrijednu stvar u ranim borbenim danima, to je bila smjelost, koja se često pogrešno smatra hrabrošću ili glupošću", rekao je. “Nije ni jedno ni drugo. Odvažnost je taktičko oružje. Devet puta od deset to će neprijatelja izbaciti iz ravnoteže i zbuniti ga. ”

Odvažnost ili ne, strah nikada nije potpuno nestao. "U žaru bitke može nestati", napisao je Murphy. „Ponekad nestane u slijepom, crvenom bijesu koji se pojavi kada vidite prijatelja kako pada. Onda se opet toliko umoriš da postaneš ravnodušan. Ali kada se krećete u borbu, zašto biste pokušali da se zavarate? Strah je tu kraj tebe. ”

Kompanija B napustila je Italiju 12. avgusta 1944, kako bi se borila u operaciji Dragoon, savezničkoj invaziji južne Francuske. Amerikanci su se nasukali na obalu gotovo bez otpora. Murphy, sada narednik, krenuo je prema unutrašnjosti sa četom B kada ih je njemački mitraljez na grebenu iznad vinograda prikovao. Redovka Lattie Tipton, mršavi 33-godišnji Tennessean koji je postao Murphyjev najbliži prijatelj i svojevrsna očeva ličnost, krenula je za Murphyjem kako bi se borila protiv Nijemaca. Murphy ga je pozvao da se vrati nazad i liječi ranjeno uho, ali Tipton je to odbio. "Hajde Murphy", rekao je, "idemo gore. Mogu nas ubiti, ali nas ne mogu pojesti. To je protiv zakona. " Nekoliko minuta kasnije Tipton je bio mrtav. Nijemci su mahali bijelom zastavom, a Tipton je, iako iskusan pješak, pogriješio ustajući. Nemački mitraljezi izdajnički su ga oborili.

Tiptonova smrt dovela je Murphyja u mrlju bijesa. "Pamtim to iskustvo dok pravim noćnu moru", napisao je. „Izgleda da je demon ušao u moje tijelo. Moj mozak je hladno budan i logičan. Ne mislim na opasnost za sebe. Cijelo moje biće koncentrirano je na ubijanje. Kasnije su mi ljudi prikovani u vinogradu rekli da im izvikujem molbe i psujem, jer oni ne prilaze i ne pridružuju mi ​​se. ” Koristeći zarobljeni njemački mitraljez, Murphy je metodički pokosio Nijemce koji su mu ubili prijatelja. "Dok rascjepkana tijela plutaju i vrpolje se, ponovo ih grabim", napisao je Murphy "i ne prestajem pucati dok je u njima još drhtavica života." Murphy je za svoje postupke toga dana osvojio Krst istaknute službe. Medalju je poklonio Tiptonovoj kćeri.

Do ovog trenutka u ratu, Murphy je nekako preživio fizički neozlijeđen. Prvu ranu dobio je dok su se Amerikanci gurali na sjever kroz Francusku, a njemačka vojska se povlačila prije njih u planine Vosges. Tokom jedne borbe, blizu njega je pala minobacačka granata, ubivši dva vojnika i onesvijestivši ga. Eksplozija je razbila zalihe njegovog sretnog karabina (koji je ponovo spojio), ali njegove su ozljede bile samo lakše.

Murphyjevo junaštvo na bojnom polju nije ostalo nezapaženo, pa unatoč njegovim protestima da želi ostati među redovima, 14. listopada 1944. postavljen je za potporučnika. Manje od dvije sedmice kasnije, jer je mrazno vrijeme nagovještavalo gorku zimu Dođi, skriveni njemački strijelac ga je pogodio u kuk. Čak i ranjen i na zemlji, Murphy je uspio ubiti snajpera prije nego što ga je snajperist uspio dokrajčiti. No, njegova se rana ubrzo zarazila i kirurzi su mu morali ukloniti veliki komad mesa s kuka. Murphy se pridružio četi B tri mjeseca kasnije, taman na vrijeme za jednu od najtežih akcija jedinice: poraz njemačkih trupa u džepu Colmar, ispupčenom rubu koja se prostirala do Francuske na zapadnoj obali rijeke Rajne.

On January 26, Murphy and Company B found themselves on the outskirts of woods facing the German village of Holtzwihr. The day dawned miserably cold and uncomfortable as the small American force waited tensely for an attack. Finally, six German tanks supported by infantry began moving toward them from the village and quickly put two American tank destroyers near Murphy’s company out of action. Murphy sent his men back, but he stayed put with his field telephone. He was only 20 years old, and it did not look like he would live to see 21.

With his phone, Murphy called in artillery fire on the advancing German infantry. German tanks were approaching on his sides, but Murphy climbed onto a burning tank destroyer—which could have exploded at any second—and began firing its .50-caliber machine gun. He killed dozens of German soldiers, forcing the tanks to fall back due to lack of infantry protection. One German squad sneaking up on Murphy’s right got as close as 10 yards from him before he detected the threat. He shot the whole squad down. Somewhere along the way, Murphy got hit in the leg, but he kept fighting until he ran out of ammunition. Having killed about 50 Germans, he returned to his company, where he refused medical help and instead rallied his men to make a counterattack. The Germans were forced to retreat.

Later, Murphy heard that the enemy had stayed away from his burning tank destroyer because it looked ready to blow up. “I do not know about that,” he answered in his memoir, putting himself back into the scene. “I am conscious only that the smoke and the turret afford a good screen, and that, for the first time in three days, my feet are warm.”

Murphy’s heroics at Holtzwihr earned him the Congressional Medal of Honor, the nation’s highest military award. The citation read, “Lt. Murphy’s indomitable courage and his refusal to give an inch of ground saved his company from possible encirclement and destruction, and enabled it to hold the woods which had been the enemy’s objective.” When the army found out Murphy was going to receive the medal, it pulled him off the front lines too many of these medals had ended up being awarded posthumously. Still, Murphy found a way into combat. On one occasion he went in to rescue his company when it was pinned down by German fire along the Siegfried Line in western Germany.

In June 1945, Murphy finally returned. He was a national hero. Life magazine put him on its cover, identifying him simply as “America’s Most Decorated Soldier.” The story inside told of his return to Farmville, Texas. One photograph showed him with his “special girl,” 19-year-old Mary Lee. “Audie hopes she is his own girl,” the caption read, “but he isn’t quite sure yet because he usually blushes when he gets within ten feet of any girl.” The Murphy Life portrayed could hardly have been more different from the Murphy that McClure came to know. While the two men worked together on To Hell And Back, Murphy told McClure about an Italian family in Rome that had invited him to dinner one day. Murphy said that before dinner he seduced the two daughters, and afterward, for good measure, he seduced the mother. “Audie seduced more girls than any man I ever knew with the possible exception of Errol Flynn,” McClure said. “He might even have topped Flynn.”

The Life story opened an unexpected door for Murphy. Actor James Cagney saw it and invited the young veteran to Hollywood. “All I saw him as was a typical fighting Irishman,” Cagney said. “Perhaps I imagined there was a little bit of me in Audie.” Cagney put Murphy up for a time in his Hollywood home and provided him with acting classes, but after two years, the country’s most decorated soldier was broke and living above a gymnasium.

It was around this time that McClure met Murphy. McClure was a fellow Texan and ex-army man, now working as an assistant to Hollywood gossip columnist Hedda Hopper. He heard of Murphy’s plight and began to champion him. The two men became friends and started working on To Hell And Back, with McClure prodding the reluctant Murphy to provide material he could use in the book. “Audie had been burned out by the war,” McClure said later. “He reacted intensely to the death of his friends in combat. I supposed in order to keep from going insane he buried his emotions so deeply that getting them back was difficult if not impossible.” But McClure persevered, making up the material that Murphy couldn’t—or wouldn’t—supply, and the book came out in 1949 to favorable reviews.

McClure also used his Hollywood connections to help Murphy get movie roles. The first was in 1949’s Bad Boy. Murphy remained clear-eyed about his abilities. “You must remember I’m working under a handicap,” Murphy told the director in his self-deprecating way. “No talent.”

For the most part, Murphy acted in Western B-movies. One exception was The Red Badge of Courage, director John Huston’s 1951 adaptation of Stephen Crane’s story about a Civil War soldier who flees from battle. MGM didn’t want Murphy, but Huston fought for him, realizing he had the right qualities for the role. “They just don’t see Audie the way I do,” he said. “This little, gentle-eyed creature. Why, in the war he’d literally go out of his way to find Germans to kill. He’s a gentle little killer.”

There was another famous WWII veteran in Red Badge: Bill Mauldin, whose cartoons about the inanities of army life entertained GIs in the army publication Stars and Stripes. He had some sharp recollections of Murphy. “He was a scrappy little sonofabitch,” Mauldin said. “He would get into bare-knuckle fistfights just for fun with stuntmen. He was five foot four and he’d beat these guys up. They were tangling with a wildcat. That’s why Huston really liked him.”

Murphy delivered a fine low-key performance, but the movie never found an audience. After two disastrous previews, MGM cut the running time to less than 70 minutes and the film flopped. Red Badge was probably Murphy’s best shot at stardom now he slowly slipped back into the grind of forgettable B-movies. “I’m grateful to the movie business,” he said. “The only trouble is the type-casting. You make a success in Westerns, they milk it dry—until you are dry. That’s why Hollywood has just about dried up for somebody like me.” Murphy categorized himself as “a middle-sized failure.”

Murphy had one undeniable film success: playing himself in Universal’s 1955 adaptation of To Hell And Back. He re-created his combat experiences—even though they were layered over with Hollywood gloss—with an understated dignity that helped lift the movie above its otherwise pedestrian treatment of the war. The movie remained Universal’s biggest moneymaker until Jaws in 1975.

On the personal front, Murphy’s life maintained a slow downward slide. He married starlet Wanda Hendrix in 1949, but the marriage lasted only 15 months. Four days after his divorce, in 1951, he married Pamela Archer. That marriage, too, was strained. Murphy was a haunted man, tortured by insomnia, his nights interrupted by a recurring nightmare in which an army of faceless men attacked him on a hill. Murphy fought back in the dream with his trusty M-1 Garand rifle, but pieces of the gun kept flying off until he had only the trigger guard left.

Plagued by nightmares and sounds he thought he heard, Murphy began sleeping in a bedroom made up in his converted garage, with the lights on and with a pistol under his pillow. He tried using tranquilizers but got addicted to them, finally throwing away the pills and locking himself in a hotel room until the withdrawal symptoms ceased. He acted in more and more forgettable movies, invested in real estate, bred horses, and gambled. “I didn’t care if I won or lost,” he said “it was as if I wanted to destroy everything I had built up.” In 1968 he went bankrupt. Two years later, he was in the headlines again, when he and a friend were charged with beating up a dog trainer. In every news story, he was invariably identified as “America’s most decorated soldier.”

The experiences that had earned Murphy his decorations had taken their toll. Today, his symptoms would be diagnosed as post-traumatic stress disorder, but that term didn’t exist during his lifetime. He had emerged from the crucible of war, but he had not emerged unchanged. He had seen men die—ripped apart by machine guns, run over by tanks, obliterated by mortar fire. He had killed many men himself, supposedly accounting for 240 Germans single-handedly. “To become an executioner, somebody cold and analytical, to be trained to kill, and then to come back into civilian life and be alone in the crowd—it takes an awful long time to get over it,” he told journalist Thomas Morgan in 1967. “Fear and depression come over you.”

When Morgan visited Murphy at his house in California to interview him, he saw a small glass display box with some of his medals inside. The display was in disarray. The Medal of Honor looked “tacky,” Morgan noted, while the first of Murphy’s three Purple Hearts had fallen and lay face down at the bottom of the case. Like Murphy himself, the medals were ignored, forgotten. At the time of Morgan’s visit, Murphy, America’s most decorated soldier, had four more years to live. But part of him had already died, long before his airplane crashed into the top of Brush Mountain.

Tom Huntington, a contributing editor to America in WWII, has written for Smithsonian, American Heritage, Yankee, and other publications. This article appeared in the February 2007 issue of America in WWII. Find out how to order a copy of this issue here. To get more articles like this one, subscribe to America in WWII časopis.

Fotografije: Audie Murphy after the war, in 1945, at age 21 Murphy (right) with siblings Murphy playing himself in the 1955 movie To Hell and Back.


Vojna karijera

A few months later, Murphy&aposs division moved to invade Sicily. His actions on the ground impressed his superior officers and they quickly promoted him to corporal. While fighting in the wet mountains of Italy, Murphy contracted malaria. Despite such setbacks, he continually distinguished himself in battle.

In August 1944, Murphy&aposs division moved to southern France as part of Operation Dragoon. It was there that his best friend, Lattie Tipton, was lured into the open and killed by a German soldier pretending to surrender. Enraged by this act, Murphy charged and killed the Germans that had just killed his friend. He then commandeered the German machine gun and grenades and attacked several more nearby positions, killing all of the German soldiers there. Murphy was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross for his actions.

Over the course of World War II, Murphy witnessed the deaths of hundreds of fellow and enemy soldiers. Endowed with great courage in the face of these horrors, he was awarded 33 U.S. military medals, including three Purple Hearts and one Medal of Honor.

In June 1945, Murphy returned home from Europe a hero and was greeted with parades and elaborate banquets. LIFE magazine honored the brave, baby-faced soldier by putting him on the cover of its July 16, 1945 issue. That photograph inspired actor James Cagney to call Murphy and invite him to Hollywood to begin an acting career. Despite his celebrity, however, Murphy struggled for years to gain recognition.


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The Incredible Story of How I Came to Possess the Gun Audie Murphy Learned to Shoot With

In 1966, I was a young boy of nine years old, and my father took me to Renner Road, a section of of land near Dallas, Texas that was once a rural community of about 10 square miles. There he let me shoot a Winchester single shot .22 caliber rifle for the first time.

But it wasn’t just any Winchester single shot .22 caliber rifle.

After a few hours had passed, and my dad was placing the rifle back into its leather gun sleeve, he turned and looked at me and said, “Don’t ever let go of this gun. Audie Murphy used it.”

I looked at him in bewilderment, and being only a young boy then, replied, “Who is Audie Murphy?” My father just smiled and said, “Someone we grew up with in Farmersville.”

Reminiscing Leads to Researching
This Winchester has been in my possession for many, many years. But as a young man attending college, then married with children and working, etc., I had no time to hunt or think about what I had in my possession up through adulthood.

After my parents passed, I started to reminisce about the days I had spent with my father in my youth. Then the thought hit me about shooting the rifle, and I remembered I had a gun my dad told me never to get rid of. One that Audie Murphy had used to hunt when he and my dad were both young boys.

According to research records, the rifle was manufactured sometime between 1935-37, and was most likely shared back and forth between the boys until they enlisted in 1942. Although I can’t say how many times Audie may have shot the rifle, my father’s words, along with the dates, make me confident it was more than just a few times.

Now, several years later, I was an educated adult and acutely aware of who Audie Murphy was and the legacy he left behind. Since most of his generation has now passed on, I went into a state of mild panic, because I apparently had an irreplaceable piece of history in my possession, but just an oral statement from my father many years ago attesting that it was used by Audie Murphy.

I had by now obtained a bachelors and a masters degree, and I went into student research mode and began my personal project on the rifle in 2014. I didn’t know at that time what a daunting task I was about to face…

Discouraged but Not Defeated
My first thought was to discover if there were any direct living relatives of Audie Murphy. To my surprise, Nadine, one of Audie’s sisters, was alive, and I was given her phone number by the Audie Murphy Museum in Greenville, Texas.

My first contact did not go as well as I wanted it to. Given that she was 79 years old, I had no idea how healthy Nadine would be. I quickly learned that not only was she healthy, but she also had the old spark of an Irish woman. Once I had spoken to her about the rifle and its history, she really didn't have much to say about the rifle, and added in a stern voice, “I don't remember your family!”

I thanked her for taking my call and also thanked her for Audie's heroism during WWII. Nadine replied firmly that, “He wasn't my only brother I had who was a hero.” A bit taken aback by that, I simply told her I agreed! Nadine had a brother who worked as a Deputy Sherriff and who was tragically killed on duty. With apologies and gratitude, I said my goodbyes.

Being so discouraged from that initial conversation, I nearly gave up hope that I could ever learn the real history of the rifle my dad left me. It seemed everything about Audie Murphy had already been told, found, sold, displayed on websites, available for view in museums or in pictures hung on walls in his honor across the nation.

But there I sat with the gun that was used by Audie and my father as young boys hunting to put food on the table. Moreover, this was the rifle that created the marksman who went on the become the most decorated soldier of WWII, and whose sharpshooting skills during the frontline battles with German soldiers saved countless American lives.

With these thoughts in my mind, I was once again energized to seek out more details to substantiate my father’s words and the rifle he passed down to me.

A Modern Key to the Past
Both sides of my family lived within close proximity of the Murphys while in the Farmersville area. Because they were all sharecroppers picking cotton, planting onions, and the like, they would travel to where there was work to be had. This would include not only Farmersville, but other rural communities, namely: Princeton, Celeste, Floyd, all the way to Emory – where my parents were married. Nothing between these towns but old Texas black clay dirt and row after row of cotton… not much different from today.

My next quest was to see if there were pictures on the internet with Audie holding the Winchester. I had low expectations going in, but to my surprise, I came across one picture showing Audie after a squirrel hunt holding a rifle and standing next to an old car, and yes, may dead squirrels.

I researched Audie’s height, weight, and physical characteristics, which I found online. I also used the picture to estimate some of the dimensions of the rifle. I then considered who would be a perfect match for these measurements of Audie for comparison purposes? I turned to ask my wife, and behold! I had Audie standing in front of me – at least the female version.

My first thought was, “Wow! How did a young man this small cause so much damage in WWII?” I had my wife position herself with the gun just like Audie in the picture. It matched perfectly. I also had her move her hands up the barrel and made more comparisons to the picture. Still a perfect match. Lastly, I had a professional authenticator successfully examine the picture along with my gun to confirm it was a Winchester rifle like my father’s.

Connecting the Dots
So now I have my dad’s word, some family history connecting us to the Murphys, and a childhood picture of Audie holding a rifle matching the one I have in my possession.
Backtracking a bit for a moment – many years ago I was sifting through some family pictures my mother handed down to me. I came across a picture of a small group of women standing together by an old white house (it was more like a shack) with the solemn background of a cotton field.

My mother – thank goodness! – could always be relied upon to put the names of people who were pictured on the back of photos for future reference. When I flipped the card over, I was elated to find that she had written “Audie’s sister” as one of the ladies in the picture!

Now I have a dated rifle, a picture of Audie with a very similar looking rifle, and a picture showing that our families did intertwine with each other. I wished there had been more pictures like this, but I'm sure they were hard to come by during the Depression era. I was ecstatic to have at least this one, almost conclusive, piece of evidence.

The Light at the End of a Very Long Tunnel
Pushing forward about five years, I finally saw the light at the end of a very long tunnel.

I thought it would be a good time to reach back out to Audie’s last, surviving, immediate family member, Nadine. Some years had passed since we first spoke, and I wasn’t sure she was even still alive or would accept any contact.

Again, I reached out to the museum, and they gave me the good news that she was still alive, but aging. The people at the museum told me she would only accept mail as communication. I set out to write her an update on what I had discovered and requested that we meet so I could show her the rifle.

I waited for her response for several weeks to point that I assumed she wasn't going to respond at all. Then, one day, to my surprise, I received a letter back from her. Again, in her persistent Irish way wrote, she said she did not know of me or the gun and that it was so long ago.

Well, being a stubborn Irishman myself, I googled her phone number and found a match. Before I called her, I looked at my wife and exclaimed, “I am a sixty-one-year-old male, and I am terrified to call this lady!”

But I did call her. An older female answered the phone: “Hello?” I thought, “So far, so good!” I asked her, “Are you Nadine, Audie's sister?” Her reply was, “Yes I am…”
All of a sudden, I couldn't speak. A lump developed in my throat, and I was afraid she was going to hang up on me if I told her who I was. I finally untied my tongue and took a deep swallow before I told her I was William Trammell, the man who mailed her the letter about the rifle.

Then the clouds parted, and sunshine filled the room. Nadine said she was so sorry about the brash letter response, and that she had been thinking of me ever since she had mailed it.

Thereafter, I had the most wonderful conversation from the loveliest lady since my own mother was alive. It turned out that Nadine had worked at Texas Instruments, where my mother worked as well. We discussed many things that night, and by the end of our conversation, I thought I was actually talking to my mother. She said that she thought I was an “good honest young man,” and added she was sorry that so many people have tried to approach her who deceived her family. She had just been protecting herself. I told her, “I don't blame you one bit for that. I would do the same if my brother were Audie Murphy!”

We ended a long, fruitful conversation, and at the end, I let slip quickly, as though I were talking on the phone with my own mother, "I love you.” She replied, "I love you, too.”

What a sweet woman to have had the time to spend with – even if were only by phone. I hope we get to meet each other in person at the Audie Murphy Day celebration in June 2019. That is our plan.

My wife overheard our conversation, and I was so excited that I wanted to keep talking about it. That's when I realized I have an Uncle John Smith (my mother's brother) who would be the same age as Nadine. Maybe he knew the Murphys?

I contacted Uncle John and asked if he ever remembered the Murphy family. He said, “Of course. One of them lived directly behind us at one time.”

Zaista? Now living “directly behind” someone then does not mean what it means now. The house my uncle referred to was on the other side of a cotton field, probably.
My Uncle John was born in 1934, as was Nadine. So they were much younger than Audie and my parents. Audie was born the same year as my mother – in 1925, not in 1924! He had to “exaggerate” his age to enter the service. Although Audie was born in Kingston, Texas, it was soon after that his family moved to Farmersville, where my family had already been established.

I told my uncle about the Winchester, and he said he remembered my father (Dub) showing it to him. My wife and I just recently returned from a trip to see my uncle. Once I showed him the gun, he remarked, “That’s it.”

The last piece of the puzzle is a snippet I found in a television documentary in which Nadine is interviewed. At the very end she talks about how great a shooter Audie was, and that they would have starved had it not been for his hunting skills. She goes on to say that, “He used a little old .22, but I’m not sure where he got it from.”

Well, I think I can safely say where he got it. It was my father’s Winchester rifle that he shared with Audie Murphy, and which is still in my possession today.


Audie Murphy, From World War II Hero to Hollywood Hitmaker

Audie Murphy was a bona fide World War II hero, a term which, in these days of endless American conflicts, seems both antiquated and slightly offensive even. But in his time, Murphy — maybe the greatest war hero the country ever has seen — was an out-and-out superstar. He fashioned a grateful country's unbridled adulation into a career as one of Hollywood's biggest draws, most famously playing the lead role in his own film autobiography, "To Hell and Back."

Yet the war that made him famous, as is the case with many who fight, never left him.

"A hero is somebody who takes an abstract virtue and embodies it for a short time," says David A. Smith, the author of "The Price of Valor: The Life of Audie Murphy, America's Most Decorated Hero of World War II." Smith teaches history at Baylor University in Waco, Texas. "As human beings, we're not comfortable with abstractions. But if you show me what honor looks like, even a glimpse, I'll know. If you show me what valor looks like, then I'll know what it means.

"Audie Murphy fit the role of a hero. Being a hero is great for the society. But it's really hard on the person who, for a moment, becomes a hero."

The Roots of a Legend

Born in Hunt County, Texas, in 1925, the son of Irish sharecroppers, Audie Leon Murphy grew up in extreme poverty — the Great Depression began in 1929 — inside a family in turmoil. Murphy's father deserted the family when he was just a kid. When Murphy was 16, as World War II broke out in Europe, his mother died. Some of his younger siblings were placed in an orphanage.

"[T]o say that the family was poor would be an understatement. Poverty dogged our every step," Murphy wrote in "To Hell and Back," his 1949 memoir. "Year after year the babies had come until there were nine of us children living, and two dead. Getting food for our stomachs and clothes for our back was an ever-present problem. As soon as we were old enough to handle a plow, an ax, or a hoe, we were thrown into the struggle for existence," he wrote.

Just 5-foot-5 (1.6 meters) and barely 100 pounds (45 kilograms), Murphy dreamed of the service as a way out. After his mother died, he tried to join the Marines but was turned down for being too small and too young. He was finally accepted into the U.S. Army, with some tweaked documentation, in June 1942. He was just 17.

After his training in the States, Murphy was shipped to North Africa with the 3rd Infantry Division, the beginning of a short but unparalleled career in which he was awarded every medal for valor that the Army could confer. (Some of the original commendations are here.) One of his battlefield exploits, in particular, became legendary.

During a firefight in France on Jan. 26, 1945, an American tank destroyer was hit by German fire, setting it ablaze and forcing the crew to abandon. Murphy ordered artillery fire on the German positions and called for his men to retreat to nearby woods. But Murphy did not fall back. Instead, he mounted the burning tank, grabbed control of its .50-caliber machine gun, and faced with hostile fire from three sides for more than an hour, kept the Germans at bay, killing scores of them. Murphy was wounded in both legs in the fight.

He was awarded the Medal of Honor for his actions. From the his citation (via the Smithsonian Institution):

Murphy returned home to parades — some 300,000 people in San Antonio — more awards (from France and Belgium, too), and rewards that enabled him to buy a house for his older sister, where his younger siblings came to live for some time. On July 16, 1945, a smiling Murphy was featured on the cover of Life Magazine with the words "Most Decorated Soldier."


6. Unbroken (2014)

After crashing their plane in WWII, Olympian Louis Zamperini spends 47 days on a life raft with two fellow crewmen. Eventually, he’s caught by the Japanese and sent to a prisoner-of-war camp where he’s tortured and forced to endure hard labor — but he never gives up.

(Image via Universal Pictures)


North Korea threatens pre-emptive strikes after ‘madcap joint military drills’

Posted On February 04, 2020 17:24:11

North Korea has threatened its own pre-emptive strikes in response to recent drills for “decapitation” strikes by U.S. and South Korean special operations forces aimed at taking out the leadership in Pyongyang.

The simulated strikes reportedly targeted the upper echelons of the North Korean regime, including leader Kim Jong Un, as well as key nuclear sites.

They also involved the participation of the U.S. Navy’s SEAL Team 6 — the outfit famed for killing al-Qaida founder Osama bin Laden in Pakistan in 2011, the Asahi Shimbun reported earlier this month. Media reports said a number of U.S. special operations forces also participated, including U.S. Army Rangers, Delta Force and Green Berets.

North Korea recently launched satellite-carrying Unha rockets, which is the same delivery system as North Korea’s Taepodong-2 ballistic missile, which was tested successfully in December 2012 and January 2016. (Photo: Reuters/KNCA)

In a statement released March 26 by the Korean People’s Army (KPA), a spokesman said the “madcap joint military drills” would be met with the North’s “own style of special operation and pre-emptive attack,” which it said could come “without prior warning any time.”

The statement, published by the official Korean Central News Agency, said the U.S. and South Korea “should think twice about the catastrophic consequences to be entailed by their outrageous military actions.

“The KPA’s warning is not hot air,” the statement added.

In mid-March, several U.S. Marine F-35B stealth fighter jets conducted bombing practice runs over the Korean Peninsula as a part of the joint exercises, the South’s Yonhap news agency reported Saturday.

The dispatch of the fighters, based at Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni in Yamaguchi Prefecture, was the first time they had been sent to the Korean Peninsula. The fighters returned to Japan after the drills wrapped up.

Pyongyang has stepped up efforts to mount a nuclear warhead on a long-range missile over the last year and a half, conducting two atomic explosions and more than 25 missile launches — including an apparent simulated nuclear strike on the U.S. base at Iwakuni.

In the event of conflict on the Korean Peninsula, U.S. troops and equipment from Iwakuni would likely be among the first deployed.

The administration of U.S. President Donald Trump is in the midst of a policy review on North Korea, and has said all options, including military action, remain on the table.

But this review could be bumped up Trump’s list of priorities in the near future.

U.S. and South Korean intelligence sources, as well as recent satellite imagery, has shown that the North is apparently ready to conduct its sixth nuclear test at any time, media reports have said.

MOĆNA TRENDOVA

Audie Murphy received every combat award which the United States Army could offer, as well as awards from its European Allies France and Belgium, for his heroism as an infantryman during the Second World War. He wrote memoirs of his combat days entitled To Hell and Back and appeared as himself in a film made of the book under the same name.

Murphy enjoyed a film career of just over twenty years, in war films and westerns, and eventually branched into television. Murphy became an accomplished horse breeder and though not a performing musician wrote several songs which were recorded by artists such as Harry Nilsson, Roy Clark, Bobby Dare, Dean Martin, and many others.

In late May of 1971, Murphy was killed in a private airplane crash near Roanoke, Virginia. He was buried with military honors at Arlington National Cemetery, and his widow began what became a 35-year career with the Veteran&rsquos Administration as a clerk, living in a small apartment in Los Angeles. Given that the war hero had enjoyed a lengthy and successful career in entertainment, with a best-selling book, numerous successful films, and television and music success, questions arose over his finances. What happened to Murphy&rsquos money?

Most of his money was lost in poor investments with his horses. Murphy made many bad business decisions regarding his horse breeding investments and the losses contributed to a depression that originated in Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) resulting from his combat experiences. He developed a gambling habit that put greater strain on his available funds. He tried to make business deals in areas in which he had little expertise &ndash looking for a quick return &ndash and lost still more money.

In the late 1960s, an oil deal in Algeria collapsed costing Murphy over a quarter of a million, and unpaid taxes to the IRS were troubling him too. Murphy, a child of the depression, had come from a virtually destitute family and sadly died in similar circumstances. After his death, a lawsuit over the causes of the plane crash in which he died eventually afforded his family some financial relief.


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