First Lieutenant Garlin M. Conner
Medal of Honor Recipient
World War II
Pauline Conner of Clinton County, Kentucky, accepted the Medal of Honor from Pres. Donald Trump on behalf of her late husband, 1st Lt. Garlin Murl Conner, 26 June 2018 at a White House ceremony in Washington, D.C. Conner was awarded the medal for exceptional valor during combat on 24 January 1945 near the town of Houssen, France, while serving with 3rd Battalion, 7th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Infantry Division.
During the ceremony, the president said, “Today we pay tribute to this Kentucky farm boy who stared down evil with the strength of a warrior and the heart of a true hero.” Trump said Conner “embodied the pure patriotic love that builds and sustains a nation.”
Before the events of 24 January, Conner had already fought during the Battle of Anzio and the invasion of North Africa, where he had been wounded several times and earned a battlefield commission. He had been hospitalized with a bullet wound to his hip and could have been sent home. However, although still recovering, he left the hospital to rejoin his unit in eastern France as the battalion intelligence officer.
Shortly thereafter, his unit became engaged in battle with a significant German force of six hundred infantry troops supported by six Panzer VI Tiger heavy tanks and tank destroyers. Recognizing the critical danger to his unit of being overrun, he volunteered to leave the 3rd Battalion command post to find a position where he could direct artillery fire at the approaching enemy. He ran four hundred yards under fire, unreeling telephone wire as he went to communicate with his headquarters, to a position in a shallow ditch thirty yards in front of the defending U.S. forces. Although partially exposed, he directed U.S. artillery at the Germans from that position for three hours. At one point, the German infantry advanced to within five yards of Conner’s position, but when they attempted to overrun the Americans, Conner heroically called artillery fire on his own position and thwarted the German attack. In the end, fifty Germans were killed, 150 were wounded, and all six of the German tanks were destroyed. Conner’s actions prevented what might have been devastating casualties to his unit.
The day following the Medal of Honor presentation, Conner was inducted into the Pentagon's Hall of Heroes in a second ceremony hosted by Deputy Secretary of Defense Patrick M. Shanahan and Secretary of the Army Mark T. Esper at the Pentagon. The Hall of Heroes contains all the names of the nearly 3,500 Medal of Honor recipients.
Read more about 1st Lt. Garlin M. Conner on the Army’s Medal of Honor website at https://www.army.mil/medalofhonor/conner/.