Produced by the Association of the United States Army (AUSA), a graphic novel series titled "Medal of Honor" illustrates the true stories of the real-life action heroes who have been awarded the U.S. military's highest and most prestigious award.

AUSA's 'Medal of Honor'

The medal itself recognizes those who have distinguished themselves by valiant action against enemy forces.

Part of AUSA's Book Program, the graphic novel project strives to make these remarkable stories of valor accessible to new audiences in a new medium.

Legendary comic book artists and writers helped bring these stories to life. Each episode is illustrated with vivid frames and action-packed plotlines summarizing true events on battlefields around the world and throughout history.

Available as free PDFs, the first four issues can be read online or downloaded and shared. They were also bound in a free compendium at AUSA's annual conference in October 2019.

"The appearance of U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) visual information does not imply or constitute DoD endorsement.""The appearance of U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) visual information does not imply or constitute DoD endorsement."

Alvin York

The first issue in the series honors WWI hero Corp. Alvin York, the most decorated veteran of WWI.

On Oct. 8, 1918, during the Meuse-Argonne campaign, much of York's platoon was brought down German machine gunfire behind enemy lines. York quickly assumed command of his unit. His seven surviving soldiers took a defensive stance, guarding their German captives.

Meanwhile, York led a decisive solo attack against the machine gun nest. With no time to reload his rifle, the Tennessee sharpshooter switched to his pistol, leaving few survivors. His fearless advance led 132 enemy soldiers to surrender.

Roy Benavidez

The second issue recounts the herculean efforts of Special Forces Staff Sgt. Roy Benavidez.

On May 2, 1968, Benavidez survived countless injuries on his way to rescue a dozen members of a reconnaissance team trapped by the North Vietnamese infantry. After racing across 75 yards of open fire to provide medical aid to the wounded soldiers, he went back again to assist those wounded by the crashed rescue helicopter.

Once another helicopter evacuated the group, Benavidez was placed in a body bag; he had lost so much blood the medics assumed him to be dead. However, his determination that day saved his own life and those of eight other soldiers, making him a Green Beret legend.

Audie Murphy

The third issue in the series highlights the most highly decorated U.S. soldier, 2nd Lt. Audie Murphy.

Murphy single-handedly held off six Nazi tanks in Holtzwirh, France on Jan. 26, 1945. For over an hour, he resisted waves of infantry assault from a disabled American destroyer tank with flames and smoke billowing out of it.

As the enemy closed in on his position, the 5-foot-5-inch, 110-pound Texan maintained communication with his men, coordinating artillery missions while taking down as many Nazis as possible. After using up all of his ammunition, Murphy returned to his unit to launch a triumphant counterassault.

Sal Giunta

The fourth issue honors Spc. Sal Giunta, the first living Medal of Honor recipient since the Vietnam War.

Under the cover of night in Afghanistan's Kkorengal Valley, Giunta's platoon was ambushed by Taliban enemies on Oct. 25, 2007. The Iowa-born soldier advanced into the line of rifle fire and rocket-propelled grenades to drag one of his own men to safety. "There were more bullets in the air than stars in the sky," he remembered in an interview.

Refusing to leave anyone behind, Giunta then rescued another from the arms of two Taliban attackers. His heroic deeds turned the tables so that American gunships could close in on the enemy.

Future issues

Since the decoration's introduction in the 1860s, 3,508 soldiers have earned the Medal of Honor. There are thousands of equally remarkable stories to share — and AUSA plans to bring more to the forefront in 2020.

Until then, military families and comic-book lovers can read Issues 1 through 4 for free on AUSA's website.