A highly decorated and heroic Kentucky soldier will posthumously be awarded the Medal of Honor during a White House ceremony next week for heroic actions 73 years ago during World War II.
Garlin Murl Connor, who was born in Clinton County in 1919 and died in Albany at the age of 79 in 1998, will be recognized for bravery while he was a 1st lieutenant in World War II.
According to the Army News Service, Conner’s valorous actions occurred Jan. 24, 1945, while serving as an intelligence officer with Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 3rd Battalion, 7th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Infantry Division.
Conner voluntarily left his position of relative safety to place himself in a better position to direct artillery fire onto the assaulting enemy infantry and armor, according to the announcement.
For three hours he remained in an exposed and dangerous position 30 yards ahead of the defending force, directing artillery fire, despite the enemy closing within five yards of his position. His actions, according to the announcement, repelled the enemy forces.
After enlisting in the Army March 1, 1941, Conner was sent to Fort Lewis, Washington, for training. He then deployed with the 3rd Infantry Division to the North African theater of operations on Oct. 23, 1942 and was part of the amphibious assault on Fedala, French Morocco, Nov. 8, 1942. He continued combat operations throughout North Africa, prior to landing on Sicily, and subsequently the Italian mainland during the push into Europe.
On June 26, 1944, he received a battlefield commission as an infantry officer after attaining the rank of technical sergeant and having served as a platoon sergeant.
As a lieutenant, he served as a commander and intelligence staff officer with the same unit he was with during his valorous actions that led to his nomination to receive the Medal of Honor.
During his World War II service, Conner also earned the Distinguished Service Cross, four Silver Stars, a Bronze Star, three Purple Hearts and the French Croix de Guerre.
The effort to upgrade Conner's award began when Richard Chilton, a former Green Beret, wrote to the Army Board for Correction of Military Records saying Conner should be honored, according to Military.com.
Chilton had been researching details of his uncle's military career, and he came across Conner, who had served with Chilton's uncle. The Board rejected the initial application for the upgrade in 1997, and an appeal in 2000.
Luther Conner, a lawyer in Albany, Kentucky, and a second cousin of 1st Lt. Conner, said veterans organizations, local lawmakers and others then got together to reverse the rulings. They found three affidavits in the National Archives testifying to Conner's actions on Jan. 24, 1945, and the upgrade was finally approved.
The Medal of Honor will be presented to Conner's spouse, Pauline Lyda Wells Conner, on Tuesday, June 26.