1st Lt. Garlin Murl Conner spent all of his 2+ years of duty in combat, fighting in four amphibious assaults and eight campaigns, including Anzio. He was wounded three times, and saw many of his buddies die in battle. At the end of WWII he returned to his home in Kentucky, soon married, and took up farming. He lived with his wife in a home with no electricity or running water, and worked the farm with mules and horses. Like most veterans at the time, he spoke little of what he had seen overseas; but Conner is probably the second- most decorated veteran of WWII!
On the morning of Jan. 24, 1945, Conner was serving as an intelligence staff officer with the 3rd Battalion, 7th Infantry, 3rd Infantry Division, near the town of Houssen, France, when German formations converged on their position. The battalion risked being overrun. Connor volunteered to run toward the enemy assault in order to establish a forward position from which he would direct artillery fire on the advancing Germans. He worked his way 400 yards through a barrage of enemy fire that destroyed trees around him and showered him with shrapnel, all the while unrolling wire so that he would be able to communicate with his command post. Finding a shallow ditch that offered little protection, he spent the next 3 hours directing fire on 600 enemy troops and six tanks. At one point the German infantry was only 5 yards from his position. When the Germans began an all-out attack to overrun the American lines, his commander instructed Connor to retreat. Instead, Connor ordered fire directly on his own position. That action shattered the German advance, and Conner saved his battalion.
The decorated war hero led a quiet life following the war. He suffered from his war wounds, but remained a farmer for the rest of his life. He was president of the Clinton County Farm Bureau, and was active in several veterans’ organizations.
Connor received the American Campaign Medal, Silver Star with three Bronze Oak Leaf Clusters, Army Good Conduct Medal, Combat Infantryman Badge, Bronze Star Medal, Purple Heart with two Bronze Oak Leaf Clusters, American Defense Service Medal, European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal with arrowhead device, 3/16″ silver star, and three 3/16″ bronze stars. In 2018, after efforts by several people who knew and admired him, Connor was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor for his bravery at Houssen.