A publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Governor, widow unveil Medal of Honor plaque at state Capitol including First Lt. Garlin Murl Conner

Gov. Matt Bevin and Mrs. Pauline Conner today unveiled a new Medal of Honor plaque at the Kentucky State Capitol that includes the name of First Lieutenant Garlin Murl Conner.

First Lieutenant Conner, of Clinton County, was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor by President Donald Trump earlier this year for his heroic acts during World War II. Following the medal presentation by President Trump at the White House, Gov. Bevin ordered the State Capitol Rotunda plaque listing all of Kentucky’s Medal of Honor recipients to be re-engraved to include 1st Lt. Conner.

Garlin Murl Conner

“It is a privilege today to unveil the Medal of Honor plaque bearing First Lieutenant Conner’s name,” said Gov. Bevin. “This plaque symbolizes not only Conner’s bravery and heroism during World War II, but his unwavering commitment to serving his battalion and his country. I hope that as Kentuckians visit the State Capitol and see this plaque, they will reflect upon Conner’s incredible valor and honor all those who have fought and sacrificed for our freedom.”

After unveiling the new Medal of Honor plaque at today’s ceremony, Gov. Bevin also presented Mrs. Conner with a gubernatorial proclamation and a Kentucky flag, which was flown over the State Capitol.

On Jan. 24, 1945, 1st Lt. Conner helped to single-handedly repel the advance of six German tanks and 600 German infantrymen near Houssen, France. He directed artillery fire on the attacking force for three hours from a precariously exposed position. As a result of his actions, 1st Lt. Conner prevented heavy casualties in his own battalion and helped to turn back the Nazi advance.

Conner previously received four Silver Stars, one Bronze Star, three Purple Hearts, and the EAME Campaign Medal with seven Bronze Stars for his bravery in the European and Mediterranean theaters from 1943-1945.

Conner’s family worked with federal and state officials, veterans agencies and fellow service members for nearly two decades to advocate for the Medal of Honor distinction honoring Conner’s acts of valor during World War II. First Lieutenant Conner died in 1998, but the effort to recognize his heroism continued and finally succeeded this year.

The Medal of Honor is the highest award for valor in action against an enemy force which can be bestowed upon an individual serving in the United States Armed Services. For more information about the Medal of Honor, visit the website.

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