Conner, Garlin Murl, 1LT

Deceased
 
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Last Rank
First Lieutenant
Last Service Branch
Infantry
Last Primary MOS
1542-Infantry Unit Commander
Last MOS Group
Infantry (Officer)
Primary Unit
1944-1945, 1542, 3rd Battalion, 7th Infantry Regiment
Service Years
1941 - 1945

Infantry

First Lieutenant



Four Overseas Service Bars


 Last Photo   Personal Details 

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Home State
Kentucky
Kentucky
Year of Birth
1919
 
This Military Service Page was created/owned by MAJ Mark E Cooper to remember Conner, Garlin Murl (Murl), 1LT.

If you knew or served with this Soldier and have additional information or photos to support this Page, please leave a message for the Page Administrator(s) HERE.
 
Contact Info
Home Town
Aaron, KY
Last Address
Clinton County, KY

Date of Passing
Nov 05, 1998
 
Location of Interment
Memorial Hill Cemetery - Albany, Kentucky
Wall/Plot Coordinates
Not Specified

 Official Badges 

Infantry Shoulder Cord Honorably Discharged WW II Meritorious Unit Commendation 1944-1961 3rd Infantry Division




 Unofficial Badges 




 Military Association Memberships
Post 1096, Albany Post
  1945, Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States (VFW), Post 1096, Albany Post (Albany, Kentucky) - Chap. Page


 Additional Information
Last Known Activity
G. Murl Conner
A Clinton County War Hero
 
See the Byron Crawford article from the Courier Journal Newspaper.
The site of Wolf Creek Dam is important for more than simply holding back the mighty blue waters of Lake Cumberland.
 
Nearby, in what was once Aaron, Ky., was the birthplace of one of Kentucky's unsung heroes of World War II - Garlin Murl Conner.
 
A small portion of the farmland now flooded was once owned by Conner and his young bride, Pauline, shortly after the conclusion of the war.
 
Murl, as he is called by his Clinton County neighbors, was one of Kentucky's most decorated heroes of World War II. By coincidence, he was a neighbor and an acquaintance of one of World War I's most publicized heroes, the late Sgt. Alvin C. York of Pall Mall, Tennessee. Conner and York lived in adjoining counties separated by the state line.
 
No doubt some of Conner's early experiences on the farm, up and down the Cumberland River and through the hollows, helped groom him for his future experiences as a soldier, just as some similar experiences of the late Sgt. York were credited with much of his success as a soldier in World War I.

It was February 1941 and the third man drafted to war from Aaron, Ky. was Murl Conner, As a young recruit he passed the old 1, 2, 3 physical with flying colors and was shipped off to basic training.
 
On Nov. 8, 1942 Conner was given the opportunity to travel army-style, so off to Africa he went. Here he entered his first combat with the troops of the 3rd Infantry Division.
This division was to become his traveling home while abroad. In fact, Conner and one other soldier from Owensboro, Ky., were the only two men to stay with the 22,000 man unit the entire time it was overseas.
 
The 3rd Division made quite a record through the efforts of Conner and many other outstanding soldiers as it traveled through the African campaigns, and on to Sicily, Italy, France and finally on to Berlin.
 
It was during these many months of travel and combat that Conner received a battlefield commission and his many decorations.
 
For his gallantry in action during seven campaigns and 28 months combat action, Lt. Conner received the Bronze Star with three oak leaf clusters, Silver Star and three oak leaf clusters, and the nation's second highest award, the Distinguished Service Cross. He was wounded seven times.
 
The Seventh Army Commander at that time, Lt. Gen. Alexander M. Patch presented the Service Cross to Conner.
 
An excerpt from this presentation reads:
"For extraordinary heroism in action, on 24 January 1945 at 0800 hours, near Houssen, France, Lt. Conner ran 400 yards through the impact area of an intense concentration of enemy artillery fire to direct friendly artillery on a force of six Mark VI tanks and tank destroyers, followed by 600 fanatical German infantrymen, which was assaulting in full fury the spearhead position held by his battalion."
 
Lt. Conner unreeled a spool of telephone wire, disregarded shells which exploded 25 yards from him and set up an observation post which he manned for more than three hours during the intense fighting.
 
He was individually credited with stopping more than 150 Germans, destroying all the tanks and completely disintegrating the powerful enemy assault force and preventing heavy loss of life in his own outfit.
 
Following the presentation Kentucky's little known hero said simply, "I think Gen. Patch is a fine man, and I think (my) regiment is the best outfit in the army."
 
After being discharged from the army Conner rejoined his neighbors at Aaron. But first there was the hero's welcome in Albany, including a parade and ceremony at the courthouse.

The following is a portion of a letter written to W. H. Ramsey by his son, Lt. Col. Lloyd B. Ramsey, (now retired Maj. Gen. Lloyd B. Ramsey, who resides in Arlington, Virginia) commanding 3rd. bn., 3rd Div., 7th Inf., 7th Army, General Patch commanding.
"I just sent one of my officers home. He was my S-2 (Intelligence Officer), Lt. Garlin M. Conner, who is from Aaron, Kentucky. I'm really proud of Lt. Conner. He probably will call you and, if he does, he may not sound like a soldier, will sound like any good old country boy, but, to my way of seeing, he's one of the outstanding soldiers of this war, if not the outstanding. He was a Sergeant until July and now is a First Lieutenant. He has the D.S.C., which could have been, I believe, a Congressional Medal of Honor but, he was heading home and we wanted to get him what he deserved before he left. He has a Silver Star with 4 clusters, a Bronze Star, Purple Heart with 6 clusters and is in for a French medal. On this last push, within two weeks he earned the D.S.C., a cluster to his Silver Star and a Bronze Star. I've never seen a man with as much courage and ability as he has. I usually don't brag much on my officers but, this is one officer nobody could brag enough about and do him justice; he's a real soldier."

From the Courier Journal, Louisville, Kentucky
June 11, 2000
by Bryon Crawford.
Bravery of Clinton County soldier inspires quest to honor him
 
Why would a Wisconsin farmer, a former Green Beret, work nearly four years trying to persuade the U.S. government to award the Medal of Honor to a deceased World War II veteran from Clinton County, Ky.?
 
"Because it's the right thing to do," said Richard Chilton of Lake Geneva, Wis.
Chilton, 67, who served with the 11th Airborne Division in Korea and with Israeli paratroopers during Desert Storm, thinks he knows a war hero when he sees one. And if the late Garlin M. Conner of Aaron, Ky., isn't deserving of the Medal of Honor, Chilton doesn't know who is.
His quest for the medal was inspired by Chilton's research into the war record of his uncle, Gordon Roberts, who was killed shortly after the landing at Anzio, Italy. Roberts was a member of then-Sgt. Conner's platoon.
 
"I would say that I interviewed over 300 (veterans of the 7th Infantry Regiment) looking for information about my uncle," Chilton said. "But the name I kept hearing was Garlin Conner.
"They were amazed when they learned he had made it through the war and was still alive at that time, and they would go on to tell me what he had done," Chilton said.
 
Chilton was so moved by the many eyewitness accounts of Conner's courage and sacrifice that he is seeking the Medal of Honor for the Kentuckian, who died in 1998. Conner's selfless acts of bravery, Chilton insists, should place him in the company of Sgt. Alvin York, who lived just down the road from Conner in Tennessee, and of Audie Murphy, who served in the same division as Conner but who earned one less Silver Star for gallantry than Conner's four. York and Murphy both received the Medal of Honor.
 
Many of Conner's battle records were lost, and some of his commanders have said that because of combat conditions, they did not take time to properly document his bravery.
Existing records document that Conner repeatedly risked his life under enemy fire to capture and disable numerous enemy positions "with grim ferocity," one of his commanders wrote.
In one battle, Conner charged 400 yards into an intense German tank, artillery and infantry assault near Houssen, France, in January 1945. Almost single-handedly, Conner turned back the enemy advance and prevented heavy casualties in his own battalion.
 
A citation awarding Conner the Distinguished Service Cross states that, amid exploding shells and automatic-weapon fire, Conner unreeled a spool of telephone wire that enabled him to call for artillery help.
 
For three hours, he lay in a shallow ditch as "wave after wave of German infantry" surged toward him, at times to within five yards of his position.
 
"As the last all-out German assault swept forward, he ordered his artillery to concentrate on his own position, resolved to die if necessary to halt the enemy," Conner's commanding officer wrote. "Friendly shells exploded within five yards of him, blanketing his position . . . but Lieutenant Conner continued to direct artillery fire on the assault elements swarming around him until the German attack was shattered and broken."
 
Conner was a quiet man who stood about 5 feet 5 inches tall and weighed 145 pounds. Chilton says Conner was wounded at least seven times during 29 months of nearly continuous combat service, but he refused to accept Purple Hearts for most of the wounds. He was given a battlefield commission to second lieutenant after only three months of fighting.
 
Many of his fellow infantrymen told Chilton they often watched in amazement as Conner repeatedly risked his life to save others. They said Conner frequently volunteered to take the point on the most dangerous patrols. And one officer remembered that when volunteers were requested for an especially dangerous night mission into enemy territory, Conner was the only one who reported to the commander's tent.
 
"Where are the rest?" the commander asked. "I'm it," Conner replied.
Conner came home to Clinton County after the war and began farming. He died there at age 79 of heart and kidney complications. His widow, Pauline, still lives there as do his son, Paul Conner, several grandchildren and a great-grandchild.
 
Chilton visited Conner several years ago; the war hero was in a wheelchair and unable to speak. Conner wept when Chilton mentioned his uncle.
 
Since then, Chilton has called and written letters to the military and to politicians and anyone else who might help, pleading with them to award Conner the Medal of Honor -- so far, without success.
 
"I don't think I have the option to give up as long as anyone will listen," Chilton said. "It's just something that has to be done."
   
Other Comments:


After a struggle that has lasted more than 20 years and has been filled with ups, downs, promises and broken dreams, the news of a victory came via a long-awaited telephone call from Washington, D.C. Monday.
 

President Donald Trump reached out with a telephone call Monday morning to inform Pauline Conner that her late husband, Garlin Murl Conner, would in fact receive this nations highest military honor  the Congressional Medal of Honor.
 

I talked to the President of the United States this morning and he told me the news, that he was going to get it, a exuberant Pauline Conner told the Clinton County News Monday during a brief telephone interview. Im on top of the world right now, and thats what I told the President when he called me.
 

Despite being contacted last week by officials at the White House to give her plenty of notice that she would be receiving a telephone call from the President of the United States, Pauline Conner was very hesitant at to the authenticity of the earlier call.
 

I was just scared to death that it was a scam of some kind, she said Monday.
 

In fact, she was so concerned about the authenticity of the message and whether or not the scheduled call from President Trump would be real or not, she asked local attorney L.C. Hoppy Conner and his wife, Susan, to be at her home at the time the call was supposed to come in.
 

It didnt take long for them to realize that the caller on the other end of the conversation was in fact the Commander In Chief.
 

After the President called and I had been talking to him, I was just on top of the world,Conner said. He was a wonderful person to talk to and when we were finished talking about Murl, I told him to give that beautiful wife of his a big hug and a kiss and he said he would.
 

The awarding of the Congressional Medal of Honor will be made at a ceremony in Washington, D.C., with the President awarding the medal posthumously to Lt. Garlin Murl Conner, making the presentation to his widow, Pauline.
 

U.S. Representative James Comer, whose 1st Congressional District includes Clinton County, issued a statement to the Clinton County News Tuesday morning via email regarding the news that Conner would be posthumously awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor
 

First Lieutenant Garlin Conner was an American hero. It was a privilege to be part of the effort to award the Medal of Honor to this Clinton County native in recognition of his courage and valor during World War II,Comer said. His bravery and service to our nation is an inspiration to us all.
 

Pauline Conner has worked alongside a host of individuals and officials in the effort to have the Medal of Honor awarded to her husband, telling the Clinton County News on more than one occasion during the 20 year-long ordeal that she did not think she would ever see the day come.
 

Im 88 years old and I was pretty discouraged because I didnt think they would ever get this done in my lifetime and I would never get to see it, but they did, she said Monday. This is the best thing that has ever happened to me since I married Murl.
 

The plight of having the nations highest military medal awarded to Conner first came to light many years ago when a retired soldier doing research on one of his own relatives, continued to come across the name Garlin Conner during battlefield accounts.
 

Richard Chilton, a former soldier who served with the Green Berets and later became involved in military history, researched Conners military career several years ago, visited with the Conner family and was one of the leaders in the effort of going after the Medal of Honor for Conner.
 

Chilton made a presentation locally concerning Conners military service to a crowd gathered at Clinton County High School, at which time he also presented the Conner family with a copy of his research findings.
 

Conner, who passed away in 1998 at the age of 79, was Kentuckys most decorated soldier of World War II, and reportedly the second most decorated soldier from that war, being awarded four Silver Stars, four Bronze Stars, the French Croix de Guerre, seven Purple Hearts and the Distinguished Service Cross.
 

On February 10, 1945, while making the presentation to Conner of the Distinguished Service Cross, Lt. General Alexander M. Patch read the following account from Conners service record:

 

. . . for extraordinary heroism in connection with military operations against an armed enemy while serving with Company K, 3d Battalion, 7th Infantry Regiment, 3d Infantry Division, in action against enemy forces on 24 January 1945, in the vicinity of Houssen, France. On that date, at 0800 hours, First Lieutenant Conner ran 400 yards through the impact area of an intense concentration of enemy artillery fire to direct friendly artillery on a force of six Mark VI tanks and tank destroyers, followed by 600 fanatical German infantrymen, which was assaulting in full fury the spearhead position held by his battalion. Along the way, he unreeled a spool of telephone wire, disregarding shells which exploded 25 yards from him and set up an observation post which he manned for more than three hours during the intense fighting. He was individually credited with stopping more than 150 Germans, destroying all the tanks and completely disintegrating the powerful enemy assault force and preventing heavy loss of life in his own outfit. First Lieutenant Conners intrepid actions, personal bravery and zealous devotion to duty exemplify the highest traditions of the military forces of the United States and reflect great credit upon himself, the 3d Infantry Division, and the United States Army.

 

Serving in the 3rd Infantry Division, after being wounded, Conner slipped away from an Army hospital while recovering from battle wounds to keep from being sent home to Clinton County, instead returning back to the front lines of battle.
 

Accounts of his actions during the war have noted that he often stood up during fire fights instead of crawling toward his enemy because he could get a better look at where the enemy was shooting from.
 

Conners commanding officer, Lt. Col. Lloyd Ramsey, was wounded soon afterward, and was not able to see to it himself that the paperwork for the Medal of Honor was properly channeled.
 

In later years, when completing his memoirs, Ramsey wrote that he had never seen a man with as much courage as Conner had, adding that his actions in January, 1945 should have certainly seen him awarded the Medal of Honor.
 

Although he was reluctant to talk about his World War II experiences, Conner never quit fighting for his fellow soldiers and their rights earned for their time on the battlefields.
 

After returning to Clinton County at the end of World War II, Conner became a familiar figure in his home county, but not because of his war heroics, rather because of his involvement with issues here, especially issues and activities related to war veterans and the agriculture life he chose to lead.
 

Conner spent the rest of his post-war life farming with his wife, Pauline, and working to assist other veterans as a Volunteer and Service Officer with the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) organization.
 

He was also heavily involved with the Clinton County Farm Bureau, serving as that organizations president for many, many years.
 

He and Pauline made their home in the Concord Community of south-east Clinton County.
 

Their son, Paul Conner, and his wife Kathy, also raised their family in the same Concord Community.
 

The argument to have Conner awarded the medal was taken to every elected official from Kentucky who would listen  locally, on a state level and especially to the federal level.
 

At times, the prospect looked promising, then with seemingly every advancement that would be made, a stumbling block would arise in the path.

 

In March of 2014, the effort received perhaps the worst news that had been experienced since the beginning when a federal judge, Thomas B. Russell, issued an opinion that noted due to a technicality in the case regarding the amount of time that had elapsed between the previous presentation of evidence, the statute of limitations had been exceeded.
 

At that time, the opinion by the federal judge would have appeared to have ended the quest as he noted that the matter would be prevented from being considered now or in the future.
 

With that disheartening news, many people would have simply given up the fight then and there, but not Pauline Conner and the others who had already worked for nearly two decades to see this wrong made right.
 

Im going to keep on trying. Im going to protest this, or appeal it or whatever I have to do, Pauline Conner told the Clinton County News in March of 2014. I just dont think this is right.
 

At that time, she noted that she would continue to battle for her late husbands rightful honor as long as she was able.
 

There were no time limits when he was in service  they didnt tell him you have so long to do this Conner said. I think he deserved it, and he wouldnt apply himself, but now that this is going, Im absolutely going to continue to fight  I dont give up very easily.
 

When that 2014 court decision was handed down indicating that the process had come to an end, even Chilton renewed his vow to continue working to see that Conner would be awarded the Medal of Honor.
 

According to an article issued at that time by Associated Press writer Brett Barrouquere, Chilton vowed to continue to work toward having the Medal of Honor awarded to Conner by reaching out to lawmakers and veteran groups in all 50 states, requesting resolutions in hopes of having Congress to act on Conners behalf.
 

I want to make sure they cant walk away from this Chilton was quoted as saying after learning of the ruling by Judge Russell.
 

Then, in a rare turn of events, the path seemed to once again make a turn that eventually led to this weeks positive results.
 

In late 2015, the Army Board for Correction of Military Records voted unanimously, against the advice of its own staff, that the evidence was sufficient to warrant a recommendation that Conner receive the Medal of Honor.
 

At that time, Dennis Shepherd, an attorney for the Kentucky Department of Veterans Affairs, said it was a rare move indeed for the panel to go against the advice of its own staff.
 

The staff report to the board had noted that there was insufficient evidentiary basis for the granting of the medal, but the board disregarded that advice totally and instead acted in an about face manner completely.
 

A few months ago, the News learned that the documentation necessary to move the awarding forward had landed onto the desk of U.S. Secretary of Defense James Mattis, and was awaiting his signature before it would be forwarded on to the President of the United States for final consideration.
 

This week, that final hurdle was completed and on Monday, the phone call that Pauline Conner had been waiting on for two decades, finally came.
 

For a long, long, long time, Clinton County residents, family and friends of Garlin Conner  known around here simply as Murl  have known he had been a hero on the battlefields of World War II.
 

Soon, the rest of the world will know as well.
 

Lt. Garlin Murl Conner  Congressional Medal of Honor (posthumously) recipient.

   

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 Unit Assignments
7th Infantry Regiment 3rd Battalion, 7th Infantry Regiment
  1941-1944, 745, 7th Infantry Regiment
  1944-1945, 1542, 3rd Battalion, 7th Infantry Regiment
 Combat and Non-Combat Operations
  1942-1942 WWII - European-African-Middle Eastern Theater/Algeria-French Morocco Campaign (1942)
  1943-1943 WWII - European-African-Middle Eastern Theater/Sicily Campaign (1943)
  1943-1944 WWII - European-African-Middle Eastern Theater/Naples-Foggia Campaign (1943-44)
  1944-1944 Southern France Campaign (1944)/Operation Dragoon
  1944-1944 WWII - European-African-Middle Eastern Theater/Anzio Campaign (1944)
  1944-1944 WWII - European-African-Middle Eastern Theater/Rome-Arno Campaign (1944)
  1944-1945 WWII - European-African-Middle Eastern Theater/Rhineland Campaign (1944-45)
  1944-1945 WWII - European-African-Middle Eastern Theater/Ardennes Alsace Campaign (1944-45)
  1945-1945 WWII - European-African-Middle Eastern Theater/Central Europe Campaign (1945)
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