APPENDIX A: Sergeant Audie Murphy Biography
SGT Audie Leon Murphy
Audie Leon Murphy was a legend in his own time. A war hero, movie actor, writer of country and western songs and poet. His biography read more like fiction than fact. He lived only 46 years, but made a lasting impression on American history.
Audie was born on a sharecropper's farm in North Texas on June 20, 1924. As a boy, he chopped cotton for one dollar a day and was noted for his feats of daring-do'o and his accuracy with a gun. He had only 5 years of schooling and was orphaned at age 16.
Audie earned a battlefield commission for his courage and leadership ability, as well as, every medal for valor that America gives. He was also awarded three French medals and one Belgian medal. Lieutenant Audie Murphy is the highest decorated soldier of World War II.
Discharged from the Army on September 21, 1945, Audie went to Hollywood at the invitation of movie star, James Cagney. He acted in 44 films staring in 39 of them. His best-known film is "To Hell and Back"; adapted from the best selling book of his war experiences by the same name. In 1955, Audie Murphy was voted the Most Popular Western Actor in America by the Motion Picture Exhibitors.
Audie wrote the lyrics to 16 country and western songs, the most popular of which was "Shutters and Boards", written with Scott Turner in 1962. The song was recorded by over 30 pop singers, including Dean Martin and Porter Waggoner.
Audie was an accomplished poet; unfortunately, only a few of his poems have survived.
In 1950, Audie joined the 36th Infantry Division (T-Patchers) of the Texas National Guard and served with it until 1966. He was a Mason and a Shriner and belonged to several veterans' organizations.
Audie Murphy was killed in a plane crash on a mountaintop near Roanoke, Virginia on May 28, 1971. Fittingly, his body was recovered 2 days later on Memorial Day. He is the greatest combat soldier in the 200-year plus history of the United States.
The original club was started at Fort Hood, Texas early in 1986. There were several key people at Fort Hood - officer, enlisted, civil service, and a Killeen civilian - who were instrumental in getting this club up and running.
Leading the effort was Lieutenant General Crosbie Saint, then the III Corps commander; his Command Sergeant Major George L. Horvath; III Corps Awards Clerk Jean Crisp, and Don Moore, a Killeen artist who assisted with designing the logo.
In 1991, then III Corps Commander Lieutenant General Pete Taylor and Command Sergeant Major Richard B. Cayton expanded the Fort Hood installation club to include all of III Corps. This included Fort Riley, Kansas; Fort Sill, Oklahoma; Fort Bliss, Texas; Fort Polk, Louisiana; and Fort Carson, Colorado.
In 1993, CSM Cayton was voted into the Sergeant Audie Murphy Club by the membership and then became the Forces Command, Command Sergeant Major. Soon thereafter, the club became Forces-Command (FORSCOM) wide, including the Reserves and National Guard.
In 1994 at a Sergeant Major of the Army conference, the Sergeant Audie Murphy Club spread Army-wide, to all commands with installations retaining the selection process for their own NCOs.
The crest was designed by one of the original organizers of the club, Mr. Don Moore, Illustrator of Killeen, Texas. The crest depicts the symbols of the majestic American Bald Eagle superimposed over the olive branch-wreath, saber, and lightning bolt. In front of the eagle are the U.S. Army staff sergeant stripes. The eagle firmly clutches in both claws a powder-blue banner, the color of the infantry. On the banner are displayed words Loyalty, Caring, Discipline, and Professionalism.