[Congressional Record Volume 157, Number 131 (Wednesday, September 7, 2011)]
[Extensions of Remarks]
[Pages E1553-E1554]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]




         TRIBUTE TO COL. CHARLES P. MURRAY, JR., AMERICAN HERO

                                 ______
                                 

                            HON. JOE WILSON

                           of south carolina

                    in the house of representatives

                      Wednesday, September 7, 2011

  Mr. WILSON of South Carolina. Mr. Speaker, on August 12, 2011, one of 
the most outstanding patriots of America's Greatest Generation passed 
away. The beloved Col. Charles P. Murray, Jr., a Medal of Honor 
recipient of World War II who also served in Korea and Vietnam died 
peacefully at home in Columbia, South Carolina.
  Colonel Chuck Murray was recognized by a thoughtful article on August 
18, 2011, by Jeff Wilkinson of The State (August 18, 2011) newspaper of 
Columbia.

                   Col. Charles P. Murray Remembered

                          (By Jeff Wilkinson)

       Col. Charles P. Murray, Jr., a Medal of Honor recipient 
     from World War II, was remembered Wednesday in Columbia as a 
     humble hero who protected his men in battle, loved his family 
     and worked tirelessly, until his death at age 89, to promote 
     veterans' issues and educate students about patriotism and 
     service to country.
       ``The word hero has never been about football players and 
     movie stars,'' retired Col. Kevin Shwedo, a past deputy 
     commander of Fort Jackson, said in a eulogy. ``He defines 
     what a hero is.''
       After being drafted in 1942, Murray, who grew up in 
     Wilmington, N.C., landed on Omaha Beach in 1944 after D-Day 
     and joined the 3rd Infantry Division in France.
       On Dec. 16 near Kaysersberg, France, the platoon that 
     Murray was leading was pinned down on a ridge under heavy 
     fire by 200 well-entrenched Germans. Murray, using a variety 
     of weapons, killed 20 enemy soldiers and captured 10 more, 
     single-handedly driving the Germans from the position. At the 
     end of his assault, a German grenade riddled him with 
     shrapnel, wounding him in eight places. He spent only four 
     days recovering at a medical aid station before ``borrowing'' 
     a uniform and returning to his unit.
       None of the other men in his platoon was injured.
       ``His focus was keeping his men safe,'' Shwedo said. ``And 
     he kept his men safe.''
       Murray, awarded the Medal of Honor for that action, also 
     received three Silver Stars and two Bronze Stars for other 
     acts of valor.
       Murray's flag-draped coffin was carried by horse-drawn 
     caisson from Dunbar Funeral Home to the First Presbyterian 
     Church, a few blocks away. It was accompanied by pallbearers 
     from the Arlington Cemetery's ``Old Guard,'' the Army's 
     oldest active-duty infantry unit. Murray once was deputy 
     commander of the unit, best known, perhaps, for maintaining a 
     24-hour-a-day vigil at the Tomb of the Unknowns at Arlington 
     National Cemetery.
       Honorary pallbearers included four Medal of Honor 
     recipients--Sgt. John F. Baker Jr. of Columbia, Maj. Gen. 
     James E. Livingston of Charleston, Sgt. Maj. Robert M. 
     Patterson of Raleigh, N.C., and Col. Walter J. ``Joe'' Marm 
     of Fremont, N. C.--as well as members of Murray's VFW Post 
     641. Also participating were a color guard and about 40 
     members of the 3rd Infantry Division from Fort Stewart, Ga., 
     Murray's unit in World War II.
       Murray died of congestive heart failure Friday, six weeks 
     after having a pacemaker implanted. He passed away in his bed 
     while taking a nap, family members said.
       Murray is survived by his wife, Anne, son Brian of Fort 
     Payne, Ala., and daughter Cynthia Anne of Roswell, Ga. 
     Another son, Charles P. Murray III, of Columbia passed away 
     in 2004.
       About 600 people attended the memorial service.
       More stood quietly outside on the sidewalk throughout the 
     service to see Murray's remains pass by on the way to and 
     from the church. ``I wanted to pay my respects,'' said Dick 
     Rosenbeck of Columbia, a four-year veteran of the U. S. Air 
     Force.
       Inside, dignitaries included Fort Jackson commander Maj. 
     Gen. James Milano, U.S. Rep. Joe Wilson of Springdale and 
     Col. Ted Bell of Columbia, one of The Citadel's most 
     decorated graduates from World War II.
       Bell was on the faculty of the Infantry School at Fort 
     Benning, Ga., after the war with Murray, a close friend.
       ``I thought he would be a big ol' dumb fella coming in 
     there with all his exploits, but he had a brilliant mind,'' 
     said Bell, 91, who received the Distinguished Service Cross 
     and Silver Star while fighting in the Pacific. ``He was a 
     fine person. A fine family man. And he was one of the 
     greatest heroes we've ever known. There is no question about 
     it.''
       The Service of Worship for the Remembrance of and 
     Thanksgiving for the Life of Col. Charles P. Murray, Jr., 
     September 26, 1921-August 12, 2011, on August 17, 2011, was 
     conducted at the historic First Presbyterian Church 
     (Associate Reformed Presbyterian Denomination) established in 
     1795. This was the boyhood church of President Woodrow Wilson 
     and his parents Reverend and Mrs. Joseph R. Wilson are buried 
     in the Churchyard with Ann Pamela Cunningham who, in 1853, 
     founded the Mount Vernon Ladies Association which purchased 
     and preserved Mount Vernon:
       The following biography and citation were published in the 
     program:


                         Charles P. Murray, Jr.

       Charles P. Murray, Jr., entered the Army from Wilmington, 
     North Carolina, in 1942, attended Infantry OCS and was 
     commissioned 2d. Lt. in 1943. He served during WWII in 
     France, Germany and Austria with 3d Infantry Division. His 
     final combat assignment was as a brigade commander in 
     Vietnam, where he served with the 196th Light Infantry 
     Brigade and 9th Infantry Division. His awards include the 
     Medal of Honor, the Silver Star (3 OLC), Legion of Merit 
     (3 OLC), Bronze Star (OLC), Air Medal (6 OLC), Purple 
     Heart, French Legion of Honor and Croix de Guerre, and 
     various Republic of Vietnam commendation and service 
     medals. He attended National War College and has degrees 
     from University of North Carolina and George Washington 
     University.


                    Citation for the Medal of Honor

       For commanding Company C, 30th Infantry, displaying supreme 
     courage and heroic initiative near Kaysersberg, France, on 16 
     December 1944, while leading a reinforced platoon into enemy 
     territory. Descending into a valley beneath hilltop positions 
     held by our troops, he observed a force of 200 Germans 
     pouring deadly mortar, bazooka, machinegun, and small arms 
     fire into an American battalion occupying the crest of the 
     ridge. The enemy's position in a sunken road, though hidden 
     from the ridge, was open to a flank attack by 1st Lt. 
     Murray's patrol but he hesitated to commit so small a force 
     to battle with the superior and strongly disposed enemy. 
     Crawling out ahead of his troops to a vantage point, he 
     called by radio for artillery fire. His shells bracketed the

[[Page E1554]]

     German force, but when he was about to correct the range his 
     radio went dead. He returned to his patrol, secured grenades 
     and a rifle to launch them and went back to his self-
     appointed outpost. His first shots disclosed his position; 
     the enemy directed heavy fire against him as he methodically 
     fired his missiles into the narrow defile. Again he returned 
     to his patrol. With an automatic rifle and ammunition, he 
     once more moved to his exposed position. Burst after burst he 
     fired into the enemy, killing 20, wounding many others, and 
     completely disorganizing its ranks, which began to withdraw. 
     He prevented the removal of 3 German mortars by knocking out 
     a truck. By that time a mortar had been brought to his 
     support. 1st Lt. Murray directed fire of this weapon, causing 
     further casualties and confusion in the German ranks. Calling 
     on his patrol to follow, he then moved out toward his 
     original objective, possession of a bridge and construction 
     of a roadblock. He captured 10 Germans in foxholes. An 
     eleventh, while pretending to surrender, threw a grenade 
     which knocked him to the ground, inflicting 8 wounds. Though 
     suffering and bleeding profusely, he refused to return to the 
     rear until he had chosen the spot for the block and had seen 
     his men correctly deployed. By his single-handed attack on an 
     overwhelming force and by his intrepid and heroic fighting, 
     1st Lt. Murray stopped a counterattack, established an 
     advance position against formidable odds, and provided an 
     inspiring example for the men of his command.


                      Participating in the service

       The Rev. Dr. Sinclair B. Ferguson, Senior Minister, The 
     First Presbyterian Church;
       The Rev. L. Craig Wilkes, Associate Minister, The First 
     Presbyterian Church;
       The Rev. Dr. Mark E. Ross, Professor of Theology, Erskine 
     Seminary;
       Col. (ret.) Kevin A. Shwedo, Executive Director, South 
     Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles;
       Dr. Richard Conant, Professor Emeritus, University of South 
     Carolina School of Music;
       Mr. Ronald E. Miller, Organist, The First Presbyterian 
     Church.
       One of Colonel Murray's greatest honors was the naming in 
     2001 in appreciation of his service of Charles P. Murray 
     Middle School in his childhood home of Wilmington, North 
     Carolina. This is such an appropriate legacy for an American 
     Hero. He was devoted to promoting freedom and opportunity for 
     the young people of America. At Wilmington, he earned the Boy 
     Scout Eagle Scout Award in 1934. He is one of only eight 
     known Eagle Scouts to receive the Medal of Honor. In 1938, he 
     graduated from Wilmington's New Hanover High School.
       Thomas E. McCutchen, Sr., Esq., one of South Carolina's 
     most respected attorneys as senior partner of McCutchen, 
     Blanton, Hopkins, and Campbell, LLP, eloquently praised his 
     fellow church member:
       ``Colonel Charles Murray, Jr., was an incredible giant who 
     successfully performed for all America and for you and for 
     me. He was the ultimate solider. He was a step ahead of 
     bravery. Every man, woman, and child here is indebted to him 
     for freedom. On Sundays, he sat next to the outside aisle on 
     the left side of this Church as you face the congregation.''
       Colonel Murray was a vital participant in patriotic 
     observances. He enlivened each year the Carolina Celebration 
     of Liberty at the First Baptist Church of Columbia led by 
     Pastor Wendell Estep and First Lady Linda Estep with the 
     extraordinary choreography by Minister of Music Steve 
     Phillips being passionately emceed by the legendary Joe 
     Pinner. Each year, he highlighted the Columbia Veterans Day 
     Parade, one of the nation's largest, where tens of thousands 
     of school children recognized his achievements with the 
     program organized by Mayors Patton Adams, Bob Coble, and now 
     Steve Benjamin, with emcee Earl Brown who is Second 
     Congressional District Deputy Director. I especially remember 
     in 2003 Colonel Murray was recognized at the patriotic 
     services at Grace Baptist Church in West Columbia organized 
     by Mary Kerr and the late Reverend Bob Kelly. This was my 
     last opportunity to appear with him in uniform as a Colonel 
     in the Army National Guard.
       Another legacy of his life of service is his success with 
     the late Medal of Honor recipient J. Elliott Williams, the 
     Navy's most decorated hero of the Vietnam War, in moving the 
     Medal of Honor Society Museum to the U.S.S. Yorktown in 1993 
     at Patriot's Point in Charleston Harbor at Mount Pleasant.
       Colonel Murray was instrumental in October 2010 to work 
     with Brigadier General Eugene F. Rogers and his wife former 
     State Representative Elsie Rast Stuart Rogers (R-Pelion) 
     along with Colonel Myron Harrington to organize the national 
     2010 Congressional Medal of Honor Convention at Charleston. 
     The hosts were the South Carolina State Guard Foundation and 
     The Citadel, South Carolina's historic military college.
       In 2004, Colonel Murray was presented an elegantly engraved 
     Browning weapon by Herst Fabrique Nationale of Liege, 
     Belgium, in appreciation of helping the liberation of 
     Belgium, France and Luxembourg from the Nazis. It was 
     presented to him at their subsidiary FN Manufacturing Company 
     located near his home in Columbia which is recognized for its 
     world class armaments. The Browning Automatic Rifle was his 
     weapon on December 16, 1944.
       I will always cherish our final joint appearance as co-
     Grand Marshalls of the Sparkleberry Country Fair Parade this 
     spring at Sandhills in Richland Northeast. This family-
     friendly event was organized by former County Councilman John 
     Monroe and the white horse-drawn carriage was driven by Don 
     Purcell. It was inspiring to see the public's warm response 
     when they recognized Colonel Murray.
       My wife, Roxanne, and I know of his encouragement of young 
     people in military service. He was a devoted advisor to our 
     son Alan for his Field Artillery service in Iraq and his 
     current service as an Army National Guard Major and Attorney 
     General of South Carolina. Col. Murray and his wife, Anne, 
     hosted our son Addison and fiancee Lauren Houston for the 
     Washington 2001 Inaugural Ceremonies for Medal of Honor 
     recipients and he is now a Lieutenant in the Navy having 
     served as a physician in Iraq. At the 60th Anniversary of The 
     Battle of the Bulge, Colonel Murray was an inspiration for 
     our two youngest sons, Army Captain Julian Wilson and Army 
     2nd Lt. Hunter Wilson, where the Colonel gave real meaning to 
     our visit to The Luxembourg American Cemetery and Memorial at 
     Hamm, Luxembourg, which is a world-class perpetual shrine for 
     our fallen heroes where General of the Army George S. Patton 
     is buried facing thousands of his troops.
       Rest In Peace, Colonel Charles P. Murray, Jr. You have 
     successfully completed your duty for the American people.

                          ____________________