Garlin Murl Conner

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Garlin Murl Conner
Born (1919-06-02)June 2, 1919
Clinton County, Kentucky
Died November 5, 1998(1998-11-05) (aged 79)
Albany, Kentucky
Memorial Hill
Cemetery, Albany
(36°41′52″N 85°07′54″W / 36.69780°N 85.13170°W / 36.69780; -85.13170Coordinates: 36°41′52″N 85°07′54″W / 36.69780°N 85.13170°W / 36.69780; -85.13170)
Allegiance  United States of America
Service/branch Seal of the United States Department of War.png United States Army
Years of service 1941–1945
Rank First Lieutenant
Battles/wars World War II
Awards Distinguished Service Cross
Silver Star (4)
Purple Heart (7)
Croix de guerre (France)

Garlin Murl Conner (June 2, 1919 – November 5, 1998) was a soldier in the U.S. Army during the Second World War. Assigned to the 3rd Infantry Division and serving in North Africa and Europe, he has been labeled the "second most decorated soldier" after Audie Murphy.[1] Although recommended for a posthumous Medal of Honor for his actions in Houssen, France, the awarding of the medal was denied by a U.S. District Judge on a technicality.

Early life[edit]

Conner was born on June 2, 1919 in Clinton County, Kentucky.[2]

Army service[edit]

Conner was conscripted and enlisted in the U.S. Army on March 1, 1941 in Louisville, Kentucky[3] and completed his basic training at Fort Lewis. He deployed overseas as a member of K Company, 7th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Infantry Division. He served in French Morocco, Tunisia, Algeria, Sicily, Italy and France.

Conner was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross for action against enemy forces on January 24, 1945 near Houssen, France.[4] With disregard for a recent hip wound, Conner joined his unit in a ditch on the front lines against the German offensive action, during which time he directed his men for three hours by telephone. During the action, Conner killed 50 German soldiers with return fire. Lt. Harold Wigetman was a witness to the action and credits Conner with saving the 3rd Battalion.[5]

He was wounded seven times. After his unit was sent to occupied Austria, Conner was sent back to the U.S. for rest prior to being sent to fight in the Pacific theater. The War ended before he could be sent overseas a second time. During his service, Conner received a battlefield commission as a second lieutenant and was subsequently promoted to first lieutenant.[6]

Awards[edit]

Distinguished Service Cross[4][7]
Bronze oak leaf cluster
Bronze oak leaf cluster
Bronze oak leaf cluster
Silver Star with three oak leaf clusters[7]
Silver oak leaf cluster
Bronze oak leaf cluster
Width-44 purple ribbon with width-4 white stripes on the borders
Purple Heart with six oak leaf clusters (one silver cluster counts as 5)[8]
American Defense Medal
Silver star
Bronze star
Bronze star
European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal with seven bronze battle stars (one silver star counts as 5)
French Croix de Guerre[8]

Later life[edit]

Conner married Pauline Wells on July 9, 1945. They had one son, Paul, one grandson and three granddaughters and lived in Albany, Kentucky. Conner was a businessman in Kentucky and was active in veterans organizations. He was handicapped from his war wounds and from heart surgery. Conner died in 1998.[9] In 2012, the U.S. Army honored Conner by designating a portion of a new maintenance facility at Fort Benning, Georgia as Conner Hall.[10]

Posthumous Medal of Honor campaign[edit]

Pauline Conner waged a seventeen-year campaign to gain Garlin the Medal of Honor for the action on January 24, 1945 in France that resulted in his being awarded the Distinguished Service Cross. On March 11, 2014, U.S. District Judge Thomas B. Russell ruled that Pauline had waited too long to submit her most recent request.[1]

There is no doubt that Lt. Conner should have been awarded the Medal of Honor for his actions. 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.

—Maj. Gen. Lloyd B. Ramsey, Ret.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Barrouquere, Brett (March 12, 2014). "Judge: Decorated Soldier Won't Get Medal of Honor". ABC News. Retrieved 14 March 2014. 
  2. ^ "Conner, G. Murl". Gravesite Locator. U.S. Dept of Veterans Affairs. Retrieved March 14, 2014. 
  3. ^ "Access to Archival Databases". Retrieved 18 March 2014. 
  4. ^ a b "Garlin Murl Conner". Military Times. Retrieved 14 March 2014. 
  5. ^ "Second-most decorated WWII soldier won't get Medal of Honor". CBS News. March 12, 2014. Retrieved March 15, 2014. 
  6. ^ Baxter, Randall (2013). The Veteran Next Door: Randall Baxter, Volume 1. AuthorHouse. p. 110. ISBN 978-1491803806. 
  7. ^ a b 3d Infantry Division (1947). Donald Taggart, ed. History of the Third Infantry Division in World War II. 1115 17th Street NM, Washington 6, DC: Infantry Journal. p. 389. Retrieved 21 March 2014. 
  8. ^ a b "HJR122". House Resolution. State of Alabama. Retrieved 29 May 2014. 
  9. ^ Associated Press (March 13, 2014). "Judge ends widow's quest to earn decorated husband posthumous Medal of Honor". New York Daily News. Retrieved March 20, 2014. 
  10. ^ Rodewig, Cheryl (Oct 3, 2012). "TACOM FMX dedicates buildings". Bayonet & Saber. Retrieved 21 March 2014. 

External links[edit]