American Heroes of World War II ~ Right Click, Open in New Tab

Although many went unrecognized, there were many American heroes of World War II, one of the bloodiest and most devestating oversea wars in history.

1) Audie Murphy was raised an orphaned son of Texas sharecroppers, and enlisted in the U.S. Army on his 18th birthday in 1942. He landed at Casablanca in February of 1943 and spent the next two years fighting his way across North Africa, Italy, France, and Germany during World War II. During Murphy’s service as a combat solder, he became one of, if not the best fighting combat soldier on the battlefield. It was during military action in a French forest on January 26, 1945, when Murphy climed aboard a burning German tank destroyer and used its 50-caliber machine gun to kill dozens of attacking Germans that he rose to fame as the most decorated U.S. combat soldier of World War II. In his 3 years of active service, Audie recieved 33 awards, including the Congressional Medal of Honor, the highest military award for bravery that can be given, for “conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above the beyond the call of duty.” Among these awards he also recieved 5 decorations by France and Belgium. Murphy was promoted from private to 2nd lieutenant and fought in 9 major campaigns across Europe during the war. By the end of the war, Murphy was not even 21 years old and was a surviving legend of the war within the 3rd infantry division. After the war, he was invited to visit Hollywood in 1945 where he pursued am up-and-down career as a movie actor, songwriter, and businessman. He published a war memoir called To Hell and Back about his war experiences in 1949, and played himself in the 1955 movie version of his book. Audie Murphy was killed in a private plane crash in Virginia in 1971. The U.S. Army has always declared that there will never be another soldier like Audie Murphy.
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2) George S. Patton Jr., also known as “Old Blood and Guts”, was one of the greatest generals of World War II. George attended the Virginia Military Institute and West Point, where he was recognized as a remarkable athlete. After serving as a cavalryman and swordsman in the U.S. Army during World War I, he became an expert on newly developed battle machinery, especially tanks. After the first World War, he continued to study tanks and eventually held administrative posts in the Army as a pilot and a sailor. During World War II he served in North Africa and Sicily before becoming the commander of the Third Army. Patton was a highly skilled commander and used his tanks to their full effectiveness throughout the war. He led his Third Army and successfully drove the Nazis across France and back into Germany. Although a great contribution to the Allies success during World War II, his outspokenness caused him to be relieved of command of the Third Army after the war due to an infamous incident where he slapped a hospitalized soldier for what he believed was cowardice.

3) George C. Marshall served as chief of staff of the U.S. army from 1939 to 1945, where he built and directed the largest army in history. After attending the Virginia Military Institute, Marshall served in posts in the Philippines and the United States, where he was graduated with honors from the Infantry-Cavalry School at Fort Leavenworth in 1907 and from the Army Staff College in 1908.  Marshall quicky rose through the administrative ranks and accepted a post with the General Staff in Washington, D.C. in July of 1938. In September, 1939, he was named chief of Staff, with the rank of general, by President Roosevelt. As chief of staff, Marshall urged military readiness before the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941, and was greatly responsible for the building, supplying, and deploying of over 8 million American soldiers. He also supervised the atomic studies until he resigned at the end of the war in November, 1945. After the war, Marshall was the U.S. ambassador to China before returning to the U.S. and serving as Secretary of State and Secretary of Defense in President Truman’s cabinet. One of his greatest achievements was the Marshall plan, an economic policy to help Western Europe recover from the effects of the war. For his efforts toward world peace, Marshall was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1953.
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Reading Reflection: If it weren’t for the many Americans that gave their lives for their country during World War II, the United States wouldn’t hold the leading role in military forces that it does today. Every single American that fought, wether their actions are still remembered and recognized to this day or not, they all contributed to the powerful nation that we’ve become. They are forever heroes.


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