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Captain America and Audie Murphy January 16, 2013

Posted by johnhemry in Uncategorized.
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These days Captain America is a lot more widely known than Audie Murphy, but they had a very similar “origin story.” For those who don’t know of him, Audie Murphy was the most decorated American soldier in World War 2, earning the medal of honor, the distingushed service cross, two silver stars, the legion of merit, two bronze stars, and three purple hearts in fighting on some of the toughest battlefields in Europe. He also worked his way up the ranks to sergeant before receiving a battlefield commission. It’s an amazing story. What does it have to do with Captain America? Before he was finally allowed to enlist in the Army, Audie Murphy had been turned down by every armed service repeatedly. Why? He was five feet five inches tall and weighed 112 pounds. In other words, he was a real life Steve Rogers, the little guy who kept trying to join the US military until finally accepted, after which he was given a serum that turned him into the big, buff Captain America. But Audie Murphy didn’t get any super-soldier serum. In 1945 his height was only up to five feet eight inches and his weight to 138 pounds. He became a hero (read his medal of honor citation to see how much that term is deserved http://homeofheroes.com/moh/citations_1940_wwii/murphy_audie.html) but he wasn’t of heroic stature in the physical sense. Which is worth remembering because too often we think of “hero” as meaning someone who looks big and impressive. But what’s big about heroes is what’s inside, and what they do. One other thing. These days there is debate about opening ground combat positions to women, and one of the big arguments against it is the claim that women aren’t big enough to handle the physical stresses of ground combat. But then there was Audie Murphy. Five feet five inches tall, 112 pounds.

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