Letter to the editor …

Posted March 18, 2014 at 6:06 pm

Murl Conner – a hero who deserves the Medal of Honor

It is sad that the U.S. Army refuses to review an application to award the late Murl Conner his much-deserved Medal of Honor for his service during WWII.

Murl’s widow, Pauline, had waged a 17-year campaign to have the Army take another look at her highly decorated late husbands’ service record. She went before the Army Board for Correction of Military Records in 2000 and lost. U.S. District Judge Thomas B. Russell concluded last week that Pauline had until 2006 to present new evidence to the board and missed that deadline. The judge may have been following the law, but that doesn’t make it right.

In a letter to his son, Lt. Col. Lloyd B. Ramsey, (later Maj. Gen.), wrote: “I just sent one of my officers home. He was my S-2, 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. (Distinguished Service Cross), 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. 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.”

The fact is his commanders did not take time to properly document his bravery and Lt. Conner, the second most decorated soldier of WW2, came home, got married, settled in on life as a farmer and put the war and his heroism behind him. He seldom talked about it, and if you suggested he pursue the Medal of Honor, he would say, “It is in the past. Let it remain there.” He thought people would say he was bragging and he didn’t want that.

The Army Board for Correction of Military Records can deny his widow’s request as much as it wants, but the board is wrong. It will always be wrong. Lt. Conner risked his life for his country. He did what his fellow troops and commanders say he did. No one is lying about his heroic efforts. It is as they say it is. Lt. Conner deserves the Medal of Honor. He earned it and he deserves to be rightly honored and respected. It is overdue by almost 70 years.

Shame on anyone who says otherwise.


Randy Speck