Friday, December 07, 2007

Audie 'Spindly' Murphy

Chris Gerrib on women soldiers . . .
Are women on average physically weaker then men? Well, duh. Can and does that cause problems? Again, duh. In large part, the argument is "optimal" vs. "effective." It might be optimal to have all your soldiers six feet tall and able to carry 200 pounds all day. Can a lesser mortal be effective?
I'm reminded that Audie Murphy - 5'5 and 110 pounds - was rejected by the Marines and the paratroopers for being too spindly.

Which is probably good - if he's enlisted in the Marines he probably would have been another dead grunt at Tarawa instead of the bad-ass soldier he became.
Second Lt. Murphy commanded Company B, which was attacked by six tanks and waves of infantry. 2d Lt. Murphy ordered his men to withdraw to a prepared position in a woods, while he remained forward at his command post and continued to give fire directions to the artillery by telephone. Behind him, to his right, one of our tank destroyers received a direct hit and began to burn. Its crew withdrew to the woods. 2d Lt. Murphy continued to direct artillery fire, which killed large numbers of the advancing enemy infantry. With the enemy tanks abreast of his position, 2d Lt. Murphy climbed on the burning tank destroyer, which was in danger of blowing up at any moment, and employed its .50 caliber machine gun against the enemy. He was alone and exposed to German fire from three sides, but his deadly fire killed dozens of Germans and caused their infantry attack to waver. The enemy tanks, losing infantry support, began to fall back. For an hour the Germans tried every available weapon to eliminate 2d Lt. Murphy, but he continued to hold his position and wiped out a squad that was trying to creep up unnoticed on his right flank. Germans reached as close as 10 yards, only to be mowed down by his fire. He received a leg wound, but ignored it and continued his single-handed fight until his ammunition was exhausted. He then made his way back to his company, refused medical attention, and organized the company in a counterattack, which forced the Germans to withdraw. His directing of artillery fire wiped out many of the enemy; he killed or wounded about 50. 2d Lt. Murphy's indomitable courage and his refusal to give an inch of ground saved his company from possible encirclement and destruction, and enabled it to hold the woods which had been the enemy's objective.

That is Murphy's Medal of Honor citation. It's seems obvious that being effective as a soldier is down to what you are not how you're built.

I also agree with Chris when he says
At any rate, this argument, like many others, is unwinnable, because most of the debaters don't want their opinions confused by the facts.
Amen. So having said my bit I'll retire from the field.
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