Army board to consider if veteran should get Medal of Honor

Army board to consider if veteran should get Medal of Honor

Brevard veteran of D-Day, Battle of the Bulge dies at 90

The Army Board for Correction of Military Records will decide whether a deceased World War II veteran should receive the Medal of Honor based on new evidence.

Sworn statements from three eyewitnesses have credited Army 1st Lt. Garlin Murl Conner with helping save the lives of fellow soldiers during the war. The Army Board recently received the evidence.

His widow, Lydia P. Conner of Albany, now 85, has been campaigning for 18 years to have the Army reconsider the record of her late husband.

On January 24, 1945, while recovering from a battlefield wound near Houssen, France, Conner left his field hospital to rejoin his unit and then held off the advance of six German tanks and 600 German infantrymen.

“He called for artillery fire upon himself, determined to destroy and smash the Germans even if it cost him his life,” wrote 1st Sgt. Harold J. Miller in his eyewitness statement.

Statements signed on February 9, 1945, from 1st Lt. Harold Wigetman and Pfc. Robert A. Dutilalso were included. The Army Board has never considered those statements.

The Lexington Herald-Leader reports (http://bit.ly/1IjcdYz) Conner, who died in 1998 at age 79, earned four Silver stars, four Bronze Stars, seven Purple Hearts and the Distinguished Service Cross for his actions during 28 consecutive months of combat during the war.

He was never awarded the Medal of Honor, which is given by Congress and is the nation’s highest military distinction.

“Given the fact that we’ve been able to present all the evidence that we had sought to present, I’m confident that the right decision will be made now,” said Dennis Shepard, an attorney with the Kentucky Department of Veterans Affairs. “When you put all that together, I think we have a pretty compelling case.”

Shephard, Lexington attorney Donald Todd and Heather French Henry, commissioner of the Department of Veterans Affairs, have represented Mrs. Conner in her efforts to have her husband recognized.

The Army Board first rejected Conner’s application in 1997 and turned away an appeal in June 2000.

 

 

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