About one hour after dawn on the morning of March 18, 1945, the 259th Infantry Regiment of the 65th Infantry Division was engaged in battle at the Siegfried Line in Saarlautern, Germany. The division had taken on severe casualties inflicted by wooden "schu" mines containing 1/4 pound of TNT. Pfc. Frederick C. Murphy was a medic, who was unarmed, but moved through the mined landscape to nurse the wounded.
He first sustained an injury in the shoulder, probably from the fragment of a mortar projectile, but he continued to administer first aid to the other wounded. Next, he stepped on a "schu" mine which blew away part of his foot. In great pain and bleeding profusely, he continued to respond to the cries of agony from his division, dragging himself from one injured man to another, bandaging and shouting to those he could not reach how to bandage themselves. He refused an evacuation offer, choosing instead to continue his assignment in dedication to his companions. Finally, he crawled over a second mine in an effort to reach another fallen soldier. Before he expired from his injuries from the blast, he was heard saying, "I can't go on. . .my wife. . .my family."
He left behind a wife, Virginia "Gina" Murphy Bresnahan, who gave birth to his daughter Susan two months later. Congress presented Susan with the Medal of Honor for her father's actions posthumously. The Medal of Honor Citation read: "With indomitable courage and unquestionable spirit of self-sacrifice and supreme devotion to duty which made it possible for him to continue performing his tasks while barely able to move, private Murphy served many of his fellow soldiers at the cost of his own life."
Above: Portrait of Frederick C. Murphy and the Congressional Medal of Honor
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