Audie Leon Murphy (June 20, 1925 â€“ May 28, 1971) was one of the most famous and decorated American combat soldiers of World War II. He was awarded every U.S. military combat award for valor available from the U.S. Army, and was also decorated by France and Belgium. He served in the Mediterranean and European Theater of Operations. He was presented the Medal of Honor for his defensive actions against German troops on January 26, 1945, at the Colmar Pocket near Holtzwihr, France. During an hour-long siege, he stood alone on a burning tank destroyer firing a machine gun at attacking German soldiers and tanks. Wounded and out of ammunition, Murphy climbed off the tank, refused medical attention, and led his men on a successful counter assault. In 2013, he was posthumously awarded the Texas Legislative Medal of Honor.
He was born into a large sharecropper family in Hunt County, Texas, and his skill with a hunting rifle was a necessity for feeding the family. His father abandoned the family, and his mother died when he was a teenager. Murphy dropped out of school in fifth grade to pick cotton and find other work to help support his family. His older sister helped him falsify documentation about his birth date in order to meet the minimum age requirement for enlisting in the military. He received training at Camp Wolters, Texas, Fort Meade, Maryland and Arzew, Algeria. He first saw action in the Allied invasion of Sicily and Anzio, and was part of the 1944 liberation of Rome. On August 15, 1944, he was part of the Allied Invasion of southern France, where he saw action at MontÃ©limar and the capture of German Brigadier General Otto Richter. He led his men on a successful assault at the L'Omet quarry near Cleurie in northeastern France in October 1944. Murphy was only 19 years old when he was awarded the Medal of Honor for his actions at the Colmar Pocket. He always maintained that the medals belonged to his entire military unit. Suffering what would in later wars be labeled post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), he slept with a loaded gun under his pillow and looked for solace in addictive sleeping pills. The Audie L. Murphy Memorial Veterans Hospital in San Antonio is named for him.
In 1955, Audie Murphy became interested in Freemasonry. Encouraged by his close friend, Texas theater owner Skipper Cherry, Audie petitioned and joined the Masonic Order in California. Later he returned to Texas to conduct his 32 degree work where he joined the Shriners. Audie remained active in various masonic events and was a member of good standing at the time of his death. Audie received his first degree in Masonry when he was regularly initiated, February 14, 1955 through the North Hollywood (California) Lodge No. 542 F & AM (Ancient Free and Accepted Masons). He was passed to the 2d degree of Fellowcraft on April 4, 1955. On June 27, 1955, he was raised to the 3rd degree of a Master Mason. Later, he became a dual member with Heritage Lodge No. 764 F & AM (North Hollywood, California) on May 14, 1956. Audie took his 32d degree work (degrees 4 through 32) at the Scottish Rite Temple in Dallas on November 11-14, 1957 according to records located at this temple. After receiving his 32d degree, Audie was elected vice president of the Thomas B. Hunter Memorial Class of the Dallas Scottish Rite. Audie became a Shriner (Hella Temple, Dallas) on November 15, 1957.
Audie was made a "Master of the Royal Secret" in the Valley of Dallas, Orient of Texas, on November 14, 1965.
Audie was also decorated a Knight Commander of the Court of Honor (KCCH) on December 11, 1965.
Audie affiliated with the Long Beach (Scottish Rite) Consistory on April 2, 1971. Two weeks previously, on March 19, 1971, Shriner Murphy affiliated with the Al Malaikah Temple in Los Angeles. Audie often participated in Shrine parades in both Texas and on the West Coast. He was especially involved with the annual Mariner's Night, which included a dinner held in the memory of the dead and to honor the living seafaring men. The annual Mariner's Night is sponsored by San Pedro's Los Angeles Harbor Lodge No. 332, Long Beach California. As an honored guest, Audie made one of his last public speeches for the Mariner's Night Dinner on April 15, 1971.
Mrs. Murphy Receives Audie's Honorary 33rd Degree Cap Shortly after Audie Murphy's death, the Long Beach California Scottish Rite Bodies of the Masonic Order honored Brother Audie Murphy by naming the 111th Scottish Rites Graduating Class the "Audie Murphy Memorial Class." The class, which graduated on Saturday, November 19, 1971, had 124 members from forth-five California cities and towns. One of the highlights of "graduation day" for the members of the Memorial Class was a special showing of the film TO HELL AND BACK. The film took the place of the 31st degree and was shown to give the candidates a much better understanding of the character and background of the distinguished Mason and late member of the Long Beach Bodies.
In 2000, during the November Ladies Night Dinner of the Valley of Long Beach, Audie Murphy was recognized when local Scottish Rite members presented to his widow, Mrs. Pamela Murphy, a 33 degree cap in honor of the posthumous election of her husband to that degree at an earlier Biennial Session of the Supreme Coucil of the Scottish Rite. Harold B. Simpson quoted the Encyclopedia Britanica, in his book AUDIE MURPHY, AMERICAN SOLDIER, as he described Freemasonry as a...
"... fraternity to which men called Freemasons belong . . . . It is secret insofar as it has rituals and other matters which those admitted take an oath never to divulge. Its meeting places, however, are prominently identified and its governing bodies publish annual proceedings, while its membership is a matter of public knowledge . . . . It admits adherents of all faiths, claiming to be based upon those fundamentals of religion held in common by all men and to inculcate, through allegories and symbols connected with the art of building, a lofty morality laying particular stress upon benevolence."
Source: audiemurphy.com / wikipedia