Conner, Garlin Murl, - M 1919/06/02

Social, Family, and Historical Relationships

Index

History of: Conner, Garlin Murl
Family and Social Relationships of: Conner, Garlin Murl

 
Date of birth: 1919/06/02
Place of birth:
 
Date of death: 1998/11/05
Cause of death:
Place of death:
Place interred: Memorial Hills cem. Clinton County KY
 

Social Relationships:

Acquaintance: Bristow, Roy Duane - M 1947/08/29 - 1975/--/-- to ----/--/-- - Friends -
 

Primary profession or occupation:

Farmer and soldier

Important dates:

Notes:

               
Garlin Murl Conner 

Birth:  Jun. 2, 1919 Death:  Nov. 5, 1998 

Information provided by Judy Richards, FAG #47131306: 

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP)  Lt. Garlin Murl Conner left the U.S. Army as the 
second-most decorated soldier during World War II, earning four Silver Stars, 
four Bronze Stars, seven Purple Hearts and the Distinguished Service Cross for 
his actions during 28 straight months in combat. 

But despite backing from congressmen, senators, military veterans and 
historians, he never received the Medal of Honor, the nation's highest 
military distinction, awarded for life-risking acts of valor above and beyond 
the call of duty. 

Now a federal judge in Kentucky has ended his widow's 17-year quest to see 
that her husband received the medal. 

U.S. District Judge Thomas B. Russell, in an 11-page opinion issued late 
Tuesday, said a technicality will prevent Pauline Conner of Albany, Ky., from 
continuing her campaign on behalf of her husband, who died in 1998. Russell 
concluded that Pauline Conner waited too long to present new evidence to the 
U.S. Army Board of Correction of Military Records, which rejected her bid to 
alter her husband's service record. 

Russell praised Conner's "extraordinary courage and patriotic service," but 
said there was nothing he could do for the family. 

"Dismissing this claim as required by technical limitations in no way 
diminishes Lt. Conner's exemplary service and sacrifice," Russell wrote. 

Richard Chilton, a former Green Beret and amateur military historian who has 
researched Conner's service, said Conner deserves the Medal of Honor. Chilton 
pledged to get resolutions from lawmakers and veterans' groups in all 50 
states in an attempt to get Congress to act on Conner's behalf. 

"I want to make sure they can't walk away from this," Chilton told The 
Associated Press on Wednesday. "He's a man worthy of this." 

Roughly 3,400 people have received the Medal of Honor since it was created in 
1861, including actor Audie Murphy, the most decorated U.S. soldier in World 
War II. Murphy fought in the same areas as Conner and went on to star in 
dozens of Hollywood films, most of them Westerns and war epics. 

Conner served with the 3rd Infantry Division, which fought in France and 
Europe in 1945. The Army in 2001 named Eagle Base in Bosnia-Herzegovina after 
Conner, who died in 1998 in Clinton County, Ky., where he lived after his 
fighting days and served 17 years as president of the Clinton County Farm 
Bureau. 

"He was a real hero," said attorney Donald Todd of Lexington, who represents 
Conner's family. 

Conner's citation for the Distinguished Service Cross states that on Jan. 24, 
1945, near Houssen, France, he slipped away from a military hospital with a 
hip wound to rejoin his unit rather than return home to Kentucky and unreeled 
a telephone wire, plunged into a shallow ditch in front of the battle line and 
directed multiple rounds of fire for three hours as German troops continued 
their offensive, sometimes getting within five yards of Conner's position. 

The board first rejected Conner's application in 1997 on its merits and turned 
away an appeal in June 2000, saying at the time no new evidence warranted a 
hearing or a new decoration despite more than a dozen letters of support for 
Conner. 

In the years that followed, lawmakers in Kentucky, Tennessee and three other 
states passed resolutions backing the effort to see Conner receive the Medal 
of Honor. After Chilton found three eyewitness accounts to Conner's deeds in 
2006, Pauline Conner resubmitted the case to the board in 2008  two years 
after the statute of limitations expired. 

A bipartisan group of current and former members of Congress has backed 
Conner's application in the past, including retired Sen. Bob Dole, a Kansas 
Republican and World War II veteran; retired Sen. Wendell Ford, a Democrat 
from Kentucky; current Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky; and 
Whitfield, who represents Conner's home town near the Tennessee line. Noted 
World War II historian Steven Ambrose, who died in 2002, wrote in November 
2000 to support Conner's application, saying his actions were "far above the 
call of duty." 

The review board remained unmoved by Conner's submission. 

"The most recent information received 22 December 2008 is not new evidence and 
does not warrant granting an exception to the above cited regulation and a 
formal hearing," wrote Conrad V. Meyer, the director of the Army Board for 
Correction of Military Records on Feb. 9, 2009. 

While the military board has upgraded other recipients of the Distinguished 
Service Cross to a Medal of Honor, the action is rare. As of 2012, the last 
year available, 178 Distinguished Service Crosses had been elevated to Medal 
of Honor status out of 13,000 issued since 1917. Military policy dictates that 
the first decoration must be re-examined, re-justified and then re-evaluated 
with new evidence before any action can be taken. 

The military can also conduct a review at the behest of Congress. 

In February, the Pentagon announced that President Barack Obama will bestow 
the Medal of Honor on 24 other veterans after a decade-long congressionally 
mandated review of minorities who may have been passed over for it because of 
prejudices. The unusual mass ceremony, scheduled for Tuesday, will honor 
veterans  most of Hispanic or Jewish heritage  who already had been 
recognized with the Distinguished Service Cross. 

Conner's commander in World War II, retired Maj. Gen. Lloyd B. Ramsey of 
Salem, Va., filed an affidavit saying Conner's work, while injured, provided 
valuable intelligence. 

"There is no doubt that Lt. Conner should have been awarded the Medal of Honor 
for his actions," Ramsey wrote. "One of the most disappointing regrets of my 
career is not having the Medal of Honor awarded to the most outstanding 
soldier I've ever had the privilege of commanding." 

Conner's fellow soldiers also filed affidavits crediting Conner with helping 
not only save the lives of fellow soldiers but being key to defeating the 
Germans in the battle. 

Retired Lt. Harold Wigetman, a member of the 3rd Battalion, 7th Infantry, said 
that between the artillery strikes Conner called in and spray from his own 
machine gun, he killed at least 50 German soldiers and wounded twice as many. 

"His heroic and entirely voluntary act saved our battalion," Wigetman wrote. 
"If he hadn't done what he did, we would have had to fight for our lives." 
 
 
Inscription: 

1st LT US Army World War II 

Distinguished Service Cross Silver Star with 3 Oak-Leaf Clusters Purple Heart 
with 2 Oak-Leaf Clusters 
 
Burial: Memorial Hill Cemetery Albany Clinton County Kentucky, USA 

A Clinton County War Hero.

Physical Characteristics:

Contacts:

Pictures and videos:


1st Lieutenant, 3rd Infantry Div., 7th Army, Company K - 1944

Sounds:

History of: Conner, Garlin Murl

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Please use the email address below to send me corrections or additions for this page. I will add it when I have time and regenerate new web pages.

Duane Bristow (duane@kyphilom.com)
Please send comments.


Index

Last revised 2014/07/24.