Despite his small size, Audie Murphy proved to be a phenomenal soldier. In 1944, after witnessing the death of a friend during Operation Dragoon, he charged a group of German soldiers, took over their machine guns and other weapons, and proceeded to take out the other enemy soldiers within range using captured artillery.
He was awarded a Distinguished Service Cross for his actions that day, the first of many medals.
Audie Murphy rose through the ranks and was a captain when he was pulled out of the war in 1945. All in all, he earned 33 awards and decorations for his exemplary service during World War II. He was just 20 years old at the time and, as one movie critic later put it, knew more of death than he did of life.