Texas Tough!

Growing up as a young lad in this culture I absorbed plenty from things around me. My folks and how they made decisions, heroes I read about or saw on TV. Sometimes it was the movies. One movie I always recalled was about a quite Texan, short in stature but tall in resolve. The funny thing is he played himself in the movie “To Hell and Back”. Today in 1945 he earned the Congressional Medal of Honor.

In 1945 American Lt. Audie Murphy was wounded in France. Born the son of Texas sharecroppers on June 20, 1924, Murphy served three years of active duty. He began as a private, rising to the rank of staff sergeant, and finally winning a battlefield commission to 2nd lieutenant. He was wounded three times, fought in nine major campaigns across Europe, and was credited with killing 241 Germans.

He won 37 medals and decorations, including the Distinguished Service Cross, the Silver Star (with oak leaf cluster), the Legion of Merit, and the Croix de Guerre (with palm). The battle that won Murphy the Medal of Honor, and which ended his active duty, occurred during the last stages of the Allied victory over the Germans in France.

Murphy acted as cover for infantrymen during a last desperate German tank attack. Climbing atop an abandoned U.S. tank destroyer, he took control of its .50-caliber machine gun and killed 50 Germans, stopping the advance but suffering a leg wound in the process.

Upon returning to the States, Murphy was invited to Hollywood by Jimmy Cagney, who saw the war hero’s picture on the cover of Life magazine. By 1950, Murphy won an acting contract with Universal Pictures. Favoring acting in westerns, however, his most famous role was playing himself in the monumentally successful To Hell and Back. Perhaps as interesting as his film career was his public admission that he suffered severe depression from post-traumatic stress syndrome, also called battle fatigue, and became addicted to sleeping pills as a result. This had long been a taboo subject for veterans. Murphy died in a plane crash while on a business trip in 1971. He was 46.

That time of year approaches to the delight of florists everywhere. We are looking at Friday February 10th at 6:00pm for our annual Legion-Auxiliary Valentine Dinner at the Hut. The Legion will provide the meat dish and Auxiliary/spouses the sides and desserts

The Monday morning Koffee Klatch meetings for January, except when it is below freezing, are still scheduled for biscuits and gravy and always a cup of coffee. And meetings are the first and third Thursday evenings (Feb 2 & 16th).  I look forward to Commander and Vice Commander’s updates from the State Convention. They and I have been too busy to catch up so I hope to bring you that after the February meeting.

Keep your eye on the weather in case things must be postponed. If you are a veteran come on by. If you have a good story it may end up in print. Also, keep up with us at website “americanlegion142.org”.

About Gary Lanham

Authors the weekly article "News from the Hut", about local American Legion Post #142 in Hominy, OK. Read his weekly articles in the "Hominy News Progress".
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