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Back to the Battlefield

German Tank and Infantry Attack

Annotation

Robert Murphy served in Company A, 505th Parachute Infantry Regiment during World War II. He was a pathfinder and had been well trained. Murphy had attended the first pathfinder school in 1943 so when they got their equipment they were ready to go. The made many night jumps in England and practiced setting up their equipment. They also did demonstration drops. The 505th Parachute Infantry Regiment was well trained and that was proved on D Day, 6 June 1944, when 90 percent of them landed on their assigned drop zones. By half past four in the morning they had entered and secured the town of Sainte Mere Eglise. Sainte Mere Eglise was the first town liberated in Occupied Europe by the 505th Parachute Infantry Regiment. About a week prior to D Day they were brought from their base in Corn [Annotators Note: unsure of spelling or location] to the pathfinder training camp and airbase outside of the town of Grantham, England and locked in. About five days before they had a demonstration and a table set up and maps of their drop zone. This information was necessary for pathfinders. They were made very much aware of the area they were going to be landing in. Murphy knew that when his aircraft passed over the railroad tracks just past the Merderet River it was when they were to jump. When they reached that point the pilot had already turned on the green light [Annotators Note: the green light was the signal to exit the aircraft] but the pathfinders were in charge and waited until they saw the land marks they had been given to look for. The ranking officer was Lieutenant Mike Chester [Annotators Note: First Lieutenant Michael C. Chester] who was also Murphy’s platoon leader. They knew exactly where they were going when they landed at about one o'clock in the morning on D Day. They had been shown photographs taken by the US Army Air Corps [Annotators Note: US Army Air Forces] prior to D Day that showed an area of marsh. Army engineers told them that the area may be damp but it was actually a swamp full of water from the Merderet River. The area was totally flooded but the reeds looked like grass in the photographs. There was also no communication with the resistance other than them letting them know that there were Germans there. Another problem they had was that the 505 was supposed to drop about ten miles to the west of Sainte Mere Eglise but the plan was changed because of heavy German occupation. They were now to drop on Sainte Mere Eglise. As a result of moving the drop zones they had no information on ground conditions. There was a lot of water there and many men and gliders landed in the water. General Gavin [Annotators Note: Lieutenant General James M. Gavin], the assistant division commander, landed there too and went into the water. They had all seen the photographs before the jump and to them the area did not appear to be full of water.

Annotation

[Annotators Note: Robert Murphy served in the army as a paratrooper and pathfinder in Company A, 1st Battalion, 505th Parachute infantry Regiment, 82nd Airborne Division.] The LaRue family was a farm family living in the area of the drop zone [Annotators Note: the drop zone where Company A, 1st Battalion, 505th Parachute infantry Regiment, 82nd Airborne Division was to land in the early morning hours of 6 June 1944]. They had not been bothered by the Germans except for when the Germans got milk from them. The LaRue building and bridge had never been occupied by Germans. On the afternoon of 5 June [Annotators Note: 5 June 1944] the Germans occupied the entire area. During the battle the LaRue family was down in their wine cellar. They were all terrified but got out ok and went to the home of a friend later that day. That was fortunate because the next day the whole front of the house was blown apart and the whole middle part of the house was destroyed. They all survived the war. Murphy returned to Europe in 1965. They went to France then took a plane from Paris to Holland. There were three of them on the trip and went around visiting the battle sites they had fought at during the war. When they got to the town [Annotators Note: Sainte Mere Eglise] Murphy met Alexandre Renaud, who had been the mayor on D Day, and Madame Renaud. Madame Renaud spoke fluent English and wrote letters to the families of American servicemen who had been killed in action and were still buried in Sainte Mere Eglise before they moved their remains to the American cemetery on Omaha Beach. When Murphy went back in 1961 he drove down to La Fiere. He stopped the car when he saw the bridge and the manoir [Annotators Note: manor house] and just looked at it. He then drove down the hill, parked the car, and got out. He stared at the bridge for about five minutes. Looking back up the hill to his left in his mind he could see the 57 millimeter cannon and Harold Rose with his machinegun and other scenes from the battle. In his mind he was walking through the battle. He could see the three tanks that the two bazooka men and their assistants had knocked out along with guys from the 307th Engineers [Annotators Note: 307th Airborne Engineer Battalion] who operated the 57 millimeter cannon that had been brought in by the 80th Anti Aircraft Glider Battalion [Annotators Note: 80th Airborne Antiaircraft Battalion]. Murphy walked up to the manoir and knocked on the door. He told the people there that he had been there on D Day. It was quite a memorable event. It was something for him to stand there where so many of his comrades had been killed. Murphy had been in combat in Sicily and Italy but La Fiere was different than the other battles he fought. In Italy they fought driving battles with artillery assistance. They were chasing the Germans. The La Fiere battle was more hand to hand and more one on one. When the Germans heard the fighting at the La Fiere manoir they crossed the causeway and had machineguns set up that Murphy and the other paratroopers were not aware of. After eliminating the Germans outside of the manoir Colonel Ekman [Annotators Note: Colonel William E. Ekman was the commanding officer of the 505th Parachute Infantry Regiment] and First Lieutenant Dolan [Annotators Note: First Lieutenant John J. Dolan, also know as Red Dog, was the commanding officer of Company A] were standing on the road outside the manoir trying to decide what to do about the Germans still inside the house. While they were standing there, members of the 508 [Annotators Note: 508th Parachute Infantry Regiment] came in and the Germans started firing at them. That is when the battle started again. There were no mortars or artillery because of the proximity of the Americans to the Germans. The only heavy weapon used was one bazooka rocket that was fired by Company A into the manoir.

Annotation

[Annotators Note: Robert Murphy served in the army as a paratrooper in Company A, 505th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 82nd Airborne Division] Captain Dolan [Annotators Note: First Lieutenant John J. Dolan, also know as Red Dog, was the commanding officer of Company A] and Company A landed together. The 507th Parachute Infantry Regiment and the 508th Parachute Infantry Regiment were supposed to land across the causeway. Their pathfinders had a lot of trouble. The Air Force was bringing them [Annotators Note: the paratroopers] in and flew into a cloud bank and when the paratroopers jumped they were scattered all over the place. As a result the 507th and 508th people were all over the Normandy area around Sainte Mere Eglise and other towns. Within a day or two some of the 507th men who had landed close to Sainte Mere Eglise were trying to get across the causeway to where they were supposed to be. By four in the morning the 505 had taken Sainte Mere Eglise which was the first town liberated in Occupied Europe as far as they were concerned. General Gavin led a group from where he landed that was 600 to 700 men strong. The main target was to stop the Germans from getting down to Utah Beach. Murphy’s unit jumped behind Utah Beach. Murphy’s company’s mission on D Day was to take the La Fiere Bridge. The 508th was to take or be in the area of the Chef du Pont Bridge which was another bridge that the Germans could get their tanks across. General Gavin [Annotators Note: Lieutenant General James Gavin] or General Ridgway [Annotators Note: General Matthew Ridgway] would issue the orders. When the morning was over and they were in complete control of the La Fiere manor and the bridge General Gavin talked with Colonel Ekman [Annotators Note: Colonel William E. Ekman was the commanding officer of the 505th Parachute Infantry Regiment] and Major Kellam [Annotators Note: Major Frederick Kellam], Kellam told Gavin that they had the area under control that he should continue on to the Chef du Pont Bridge. Gavin knew that he could trust Kellam’s word and went to Chef du Pont. The capture of these two bridges was vital in keeping the Germans from getting their tanks across and down to Utah Beach. There was a small highway that the Germans could have used to move their tanks but that was controlled by 505th men with bazookas. Some of the paratroopers were killed there defending the area. Chef du Pont is a little hamlet on the Merderet River. The Merderet River had been flooded and the water was almost up to the bottom side of the bridge. Today the level of the river is about seven feet below the bottom side of the bridge. Now the bridge is named the Roy Creek Bridge because he defended and held the bridge against a superior enemy force.

Annotation

[Annotators Note: Robert Murphy served in the army as a paratrooper in Company A, 505th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 82nd Airborne Division] After learning from Kellam that everything at La Fiere was being handled, General Gavin [Annotators Note: Lieutenant General James Gavin] took Colonel Lindquist and the 507th [Annotators Note: the 507th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 17th Airborne Division was attached to the 82nd Airborne Division from January through August 1944] and 508th [Annotators Note: the 508th Parachute Infantry Regiment was a separate unit and not part of a division] men that he had to the Chef du Pont Bridge. When they arrived there was some shooting going on. Colonel Ostberg [Annotators Note: US Army Lieutenant Colonel Edwin Ostberg] tried to attack across the bridge. He was wounded during the assault and fell off the bridge into the water. Ostberg was later killed in action in Holland. The 507 took, defended, and held the Chef du Pont Bridge with Colonel Roy Creek. On the Chef du Pont side of the bridge there were a lot of Germans preparing for a large attack. Suddenly an American glider came in and landed behind them. In the glider was a 57 millimeter cannon. At the time the American positions were being hit by German artillery. They brought the 57 millimeter cannon over by the bridge, determined where the German artillery was located, and fired at it until the German cannon stopped firing at them. The Chef du Pont Bridge, held by 507th men, was used to get to 508th guys who were on Hill 30 and surrounded by Germans. They were running short of ammunition and the Germans were attacking them with a far superior force but the 508th held out. The 57 millimeter cannons brought in by gliders helped. On the second day another German force came in and a very big battle took place. On the afternoon of the first day they fought a big battle against enemy tanks trying to cross to Sainte Mere Eglise. The German force had a lot of mortars and artillery. In the afternoon after the manor was taken and Murphy and his fellow paratroopers had rounded up several German prisoners. They began building defenses. The Germans started an attack with three tanks. When the tanks approached bazooka teams moved up. The commander of the lead tank opened the lid and looked out. When he did about 50 guys fired at him. When the shooting started all of the German infantry around the tanks vanished. The German infantry was waiting for the tanks to move up and take out the American positions. The first tank was knocked out by the bazooka teams. The second tank moved up and took out a cement telephone pole. The bazooka teams then knocked out the second and third tanks. During this time the 57 millimeter was also firing at the second and third tanks. After the tanks were knocked out the German infantry attacked the American positions but the Americans were dug in well and they held the high ground. The Germans set up machinegun positions and fired across the causeway. All that afternoon and evening the Germans fired artillery and mortars at the Americans. There were a lot of men killed on both sides. The Americans did not have artillery support. They only had mortars. The battle ended and the Germans backed off.

Annotation

[Annotators Note: Robert Murphy served in the army as a paratrooper in Company A, 505th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 82nd Airborne Division] During the fighting around La Fiere and Chef du Pont, the Germans dropped a lot of artillery on them [Annotators Note: Robert Murphy and his fellow paratroopers]. The next day the Germans attacked with artillery, infantry, and tanks. By that time the Americans had tanks and General Ridgway [Annotators Note: General Matthew Ridgway] was trying to get them to fire on the enemy tanks. Murphy and his fellow paratroopers had to keep their heads down in their foxholes because of the shrapnel and German bullets flying through the air. Even though the Germans were firing from across the causeway their weapons were quite capable of reaching the Americans. On day two they were almost out of ammunition. The platoon sergeant told Murphy to tell Lieutenant Dolan [Annotators Note: First Lieutenant John J. Dolan, also know as Red Dog, was the commanding officer of Company A, 505th Aprachute Infantry Regiment] that they were out of ammunition and many of the men were dead or wounded. Murphy ran to Dolan and Dolan gave Murphy a note to bring back to the platoon sergeant. The note said that there was no better place to die. They were to stay. They did. By this time they had killed a large number of Germans. The Germans raised a white flag and everybody stopped firing. Dolan went out to meet with the German crossing the bridge. The Germans requested a 30 minute cease fire to pick up their dead and wounded. Being low on ammunition and having little support Dolan granted the truce. That night there was no attack but artillery continued to fall. Captain Kellum [Annotators Note: Major Kellam] and his exec Captain Roysden were killed and Francis Buck was wounded that night. Murphy did not know Roysden. Roysden had been in 1st Battalion Headquarters.

Annotation

Robert Murphy's platoon leader, Lieutenant Dolan [Annotators Note: First Lieutenant John J. Dolan, also know as Red Dog, was the commanding officer of Company A, 505th Aprachute Infantry Regiment], had been through Sicily and Italy as an officer. He had graduated from the same law school Murphy graduated from. He only had six months left to go in law school when he went into the service. Dolan went through parachute training and was assigned to Company I of the 505th Parachute Infantry [Annotators Note: Company I, 3rd Battalion, 505th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 82nd Airborne Division]. In Italy Murphy’s Company A commander, Captain Edwin Sayre, who was awarded the DSC [Annotators Note: Distinguished Service Cross], was badly wounded. After their combat in Italy, when they went to Ireland Company A had no company commander. When they went over to England they still had no company commander. In England the senior ranking First Lieutenant of the 505, John Dolan, took over the company. Dolan was a good soldier and his men all liked him. Red Dog Dolan was from Quincy, Massachusetts. Murphy is a Boston boy so they got along well. They felt lucky to have Dolan. They had been lucky to have their previous company commander, Capt. Sayre. When Dolan came to Company A the men knew he was a good leader. When Billy Owen got the note from Dolan [Annotators Note: during the fighting at La Fiere in Normandy on 7 June 1944] he told Murphy to get in the foxhole with him. They would just have to hold out. That was about the time the German approached them with a Red Cross flag. They could have taken off and gotten out of there but there were still 508 and 507 guys [Annotators Note: 508th and 507th Parachute Infantry Regiments] further behind them. Those men were holding positions near a railroad. Ridgway [Annotators Note: General Mathew Ridgway] was afraid that if the Germans got across they would hold the high ground. When the peace came [Annotators Note: a brief cease fire was called so the opposing forces could gather their dead and wounded from the battlefield] Murphy’s unit was able to resupply with ammunition. One of the bazookas was destroyed during the artillery barrage that hit them. Even though the bazooka man lost his heavy weapon he still had his personal weapon. All of the bazooka men carried either a carbine or a Thompson. After the war Murphy became close to the 82nd Airborne Division Association. He went to the first convention which was held in Chicago. He got very interested and went to the next convention the following year and was soon elected to the board of directors. Murphy was elected president of the association twice. When they formed the 505th Parachute Infantry Regiment Association they contacted a lot of 505 men. About 30 years after the war they heard of Marcus Heim, the bazooka assistant for Lionel Peterson [Annotators Note: unsure of spelling]. When Heim joined the association he became very interested in it and even went back to Normandy. One of the 505 men now lives in Chef du Pont and convinced the town to rename the causeway the Marcus Heim Causeway which they did. Heim died shortly after returning home from one of the 505 reunions. Heim also did TV documentaries about the defense of that area and the part he played in it. In addition to Heim, Murphy was also in contact with Darryl Franks, Billy Owens, and several other men from his company. Lionel Peterson never attended any of the reunions. Murphy tried to get a hold of Peterson when he was writing his book, No Better Place to Die. When Murphy found Peterson’s phone number and called him Peterson was in no condition to talk to him.

Annotation

Robert Murphy located Gordon Prein and convinced him to come to the Las Vegas 505 reunion [Annotators Note: reunion of the 505th Parachute Infantry Regiment Association]. Prein’s daughter brought him to the reunion. Heim [Annotators Note: Marcus Heim] and Prein had come into the company as replacements after the fighting in Italy. John D. Bollerson, another man from Company A, died young. One of Bolerson’s sons is a priest and another is a confirmed deacon. Father Bollerson wrote a book about his priesthood and his family. On page one of the book it states that the book is better read with beer and pretzels. Murphy has never met Father Bollerson but will in Normandy. General Gavin [Annotators Note: Lieutenant General James Gavin] was the assistant division commander and, as such, had to go around to all of the different positions to determine what was happening with the division. When Gavin landed he was in the wrong place. He made his way to the railroad then on to the 505 DZ [Annotators Note: drop zone]. Gavin went from the DZ to where Ridgway [Annotators Note: General Matthew Ridgway] had his headquarters. After learning from Kellam that the La Fiere area was under control Gavin led his men to the Chef du Pont area. As a colonel, Gavin commanded the 505th in Sicily and Italy. When the assistant division commander was killed in the invasion of Sicily, Gavin was promoted to O7, or Brigadier General, and made the assistant division commander. Gavin was a combat soldier and carried an M1 rifle. In most units the commanding generals carried only a .45 [Annotators Note: M1911 .45 caliber pistol]. Ridgway and Gavin carried M1 rifles. Gavin was very well respected and his men were proud to have him as their regimental commander. The men were glad for Gavin when he was promoted to assistant division commander but did not like losing him as their regimental commander. Gavin and Ridgway were excellent soldiers.

Annotation

[Annotators Note: This segment begins with the interviewer brushing off Robert Murphy’s coat]. After the big battle on the morning of 8 June [Annotators Note: 8 June 1944], the 505 [Annotators Note: 505th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 82nd Airborne Division] was taken out of the area [Annotators Note: Murphy is talking about the area around La Fiere in Normandy]. The 325 [Annotators Note 325th Glider Infantry Regiment] was moved into the area along with the 2nd Battalion, 101st Airborne Divisions 401 Glider Infantry Battalion [Annotators Note: 2nd Battalion, 401st Glider Infantry Regiment, 101st Airborne Division]. This battalion was taken out of the 101st and made the 3rd Battalion, 325th Glider Infantry. When those men were transferred in February or March into the 325th Glider Infantry they still wore the 101st Airborne shoulder patch, the Screaming Eagle. This caused some confusion during the battle. They were brought down to defend against any further attack then cross the causeway and move further west. Ridgway [Annotators Note: General Matthew Ridgway] was upset because the 507 and 508 [Annotators Note: 507th and 508th Parachute Infantry Regiments] should have captured many of the towns they were to pass through but had not because of the confusion created by the drops.[Annotators Note: interview is briefly interrupted by someone at the door] Ridgway was very upset because those towns had not been captured. By this time Ridgway had a number of tanks that had come up from the beach. He was determined to cross the causeway and head west. He needed additional men so he pulled in the glider men, 507 and 508 men. The 505 was pulled out and was to attack across the causeway. On 8 June they moved out. They experienced almost no opposition. Murphy’s unit was to take the Montebourg railroad station and the town of Fresville. On 10 June they got into a tremendous battle. There was a lot of artillery and small arms fire. During the attack Dolan [Annotators Note: First Lieutenant John J. Dolan, also know as Red Dog, was the commanding officer of Company A, 505th Aprachute Infantry Regiment] sent Murphy out to get Lieutenant Chester, Murphy’s platoon leader and the 1st Battalion pathfinder leader. Chester was getting out too far ahead of the unit. When Murphy went across a field to get Chester under heavy artillery bombardment he was hit in the back and buttocks by shrapnel. He had been calling out to Chester who ran back, picked him up, and pulled him back behind an embankment. Finally the shelling stopped. Murphy was covered with blood so Chester told him to go to the aid station.

Annotation

Robert Murphy first returned to Normandy in 1961 then again in 1964. In 1961 he met Madame Renaud. Murphy worked on the John F. Kennedy presidential election. After Kennedy was elected Murphy and several others took a trip to Europe to check out the combat sights they had fought on. In combat they did not get to see the area or meet people. When they arrived they went to meet Alexandre Renaud who was the mayor of Sainte mere Eglise on D Day [Annotators Note: 6 June 1944]. At this time they also met Madame Renaud. Madame Renaud spoke very good English and was well known for contacting American families whose sons had been killed and buried in the Sainte Mere Eglise Cemetery. That is where all of the men who were killed in that area were buried before the big Colleville cemetery was built. Murphy and a friend named Johnny Lee informed Madame Renaud that they were sky divers and asked if it would be alright with her if they dropped over her property on the twentieth anniversary of D Day if they could get licenses to do so. She loved the idea and when the time came she arranged for a plane for Murphy. There were people and cows all over the field. It was a great time. Later on Murphy jumped with the French Army. He also jumped with Eves Theriot, the president of a parachute league in France. Murphy had to quit jumping in 1994 because of back problems. He had jumped with the French Army and formed many friendships. The 82nd Airborne Division had been traveling to France every year for about 15 years. This year, 2007, there will be three planes that will drop paratroopers on the La Fiere drop zone. When Murphy went back to France in 1964 the movie of Cornelius Ryan’s The Longest Day had already been released. Murphy became good friend with one of the men who did the parachuting for the movie. In 1964 Murphy and Johnny Lee started the first parachuting in Sainte Mere Eglise. There had been other army men who had gone over in the late 1940s or early 1950s and made a jump but it was the 6 June 1964 jump by Murphy and Lee that started the annual tradition of the jumps over Sainte Mere Eglise. A few years later Yves Theriot and Murphy got together and jumped with about 200 French civilians and paratroopers. They jumped from a French C-116 double door aircraft. Occasionally they would have a C-47 come over. On the 60th anniversary in 2004 or the 50th anniversary in 1994 there were a lot of veterans present but only a third of them were actual D Day veterans.

Annotation

For Robert Murphy, returning to Sainte Mere Eglise and making the annual jumps was for his comrades. The guys he served with were his very close friends. When he went into the army he was 17 years old. Many of the guys he served with were four or five years older than he was but he was still able to keep up with them. When Murphy got into Company A [Annotators Note: Company A, 505th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 82nd Airborne Division] in North Africa he looked up to the real soldiers. In his heart they were his heroes. Even though he had his parachute wings he still looked up to them. When they got into combat and men were injured, taken out, or killed they missed them. Many of Murphy’s friends were lost. He still visits the graves of some of them. It makes Murphy feel good to stand in front of the graves of his comrades and talk to them. The French in Normandy have always treated the Americans and British very good. Those people who were liberated there have never forgotten them. The French still tend the graves of fallen soldiers. In Paris there is a different mindset regarding their liberation. Enthusiasm for the return of American and British veterans is high among younger people in Normandy. The parents and grandparents of those younger people pass on to them the story of the liberation. They told them about the treatment they were enduring under the German occupation. Murphy has been thanked by people of all ages in Normandy. They are great people. Normandy is also a great area. In his book, Murphy mentions that in 1066 William the Conqueror left the Normandy area with 13,000 men in ships to go to Hastings, England. Some 800 years later the 82nd Airborne Division was headed the other way.

Annotation

[Annotators Note: The interviewer mentions to Robert Murphy that he may be doing a series on great military leaders from World War 2 and asks Murphy to talk about Generals James Gavin and Matthew Ridgway] General Gavin was a lieutenant colonel in July of 1942 then was made a colonel and became commander of the 505th Parachute Infantry Regiment. Gavin was respected by his men. When he trained the unit he did all of the training with his men. The division commander, General Ridgway, did have four or five jumps but Gavin was the man they considered their commander. Gavin was always with his men. He was a tough commander and he made his decisions based on what was best for the unit. He looked out for all of the men in his unit. During the war, seeing their commander side by side with them firing an M1 rifle did a lot for them. After the war Gavin was the division commander [Annotators Note: of the 82nd Airborne Division]. Even though Gavin was a brigadier general in Holland he had already been Senate approved for promotion to be the division commander because Ridgway was being taken up to the 18th Airborne Corps and promoted to lieutenant general. In Holland Murphy was on outpost one night when a jeep approached from the direction of the German lines. He could not see who was in the jeep and considered firing on the vehicle. When the jeep got close he noticed that it was General Gavin. Gavin continued to lead his men through the Battle of the Bulge, always up on the front lines. In other units the general's duty was to lead the troops. He was not supposed to be in the front lines firing a rifle and shooting bazookas. But that was a regular infantry unit. The infantry had cooks, kitchens, and food. The airborne did not. All they had was what they carried in their pockets. At Kennedy’s inauguration Murphy introduced General Gavin to John F. Kennedy.

Annotation

Robert Murphy had a lot of postwar contact with General James Gavin. In Murphy’s opinion the reason many high ranking officers and notable figures opposed the war in Vietnam was because of who was making the decisions over there and what those decisions were. When fighting a war, the object is to destroy the enemy. The only way to do that is to use every piece of equipment an army possesses to do so and that is what General Gavin had said about the Vietnamese and how it could turn out. Murphy believes that he was right. Murphy had a son who was in the 3rd Battalion, 4th Marines [Annotators Note: 3rd Battalion, 4th Marine Regiment, 3rd Marine Division] who was wounded twice and received two Purple Hearts but Murphy still thinks Gavin was right. Around the May 1944 payday, two pounds ten shillings was taken out of each paratrooper's pay for the 82nd Airborne Division Association that would be formed after the war. None of the guys complained. They each had a fist full of money so they did not care. After the war General Gavin was very much involved with the division and attended the first reunion, as did Murphy. Murphy was married and in college at the time. He and another former 82nd Airborne paratrooper hitch hiked across the country to the reunion. General Gavin was there, along with a lot of officers who were forming the association. Two years later Murphy was on the board of directors. He has also been the national president of the organization twice. Murphy has also been an officer of the 505th Regimental Combat Team Association. Murphy has gotten into the management level of just about every organization he has ever been involved with. General Gavin was one of the great soldiers of World War 2. He was always there when it came to visiting the association. He was their hero and the most respected man in the 82nd Airborne Division Association. To Murphy he was like the Ceasars of the Roman era. Gavin was easy to talk to and wanted to know peoples' names and had a good memory when it came to the men. Murphy knew Gavin for many years after Gavin left the army. The Murphy and Gavin families visited each other frequently after the war.
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