My name is Lee “Pat” Watts, by no means do I claim to be a great writer, but I have had four books published. While doing some research for my fifth book, which is a tribute to all Kentucky Combat Veterans that served honorably in the armed forces of the United States of America, I discovered something that was very disturbing concerning a World War II Veteran.
According to the information I received Lt. Garlin Murl Conner of Albany, Kentucky left the U.S. Army as the second most decorated soldier of World War II, earning four Silver Stars, four Bronze Stars, seven Purple Hearts and the Distinguished Service Cross for his actions during twenty-eight straight months of combat. Lt. Conner’s citation the Distinguished Service Cross states that on January 24, 1945 near Houssen, France he slipped away from a military hospital, where he was being treated for a hip wound, to rejoin his outfit. Lt. Conner unreeled a telephone wire plugged into a shallow ditch near the battle line, and directed multiple rounds of fire for three hours as German troops continued their offensive, sometimes within five yards of his position. According to the information I received Lt. Conner went far beyond that which was required of him to receive the Medal of Honor, yet the honor has evaded the second most decorated soldier in World War II because of a “technicality.”
U.S. Distric Judge Thomas B. Russell of Kentucky ended Lt. Conner’s widow’s seventeen year quest to see that her husband received the medal.
The judge wrote an eleven page opinion saying a technicality would prevent Pauline Conner of Albany, KY from continuing her campaign on behalf of her husband who died in 1998.
Russell concluded Pauline waited too long to present new evidence to the U.S. Army board of Correction of Military records, To this angry writer that is nothing more than the aftermath of a bull’s breakfast, lunch or any meal he may have eaten.
To all patriotic Kentuckians join this writer, and let us say to Judge Russell and the new U.S. Army board of Military records damn that technicality, throw it in the trash, and present to the family of Lt. Garlin Murl Conner the Medal of Honor he rightly deserves.
Although Judge Russell had ended Pauline Conner’s quest on behalf of her husband. I strongly urge all patriotic Kentuckians to take up the banner that Pauline carried for seventeen years, and let us continue the fight, and never, never, let us surrender the banner and let us pray that the truth and common sense that has gone the way of the Buffalo, will return to those in high places, and they will use the truth and common sense and reverse the decision they made concerning Pauline Conner’s quest on behalf of one Kentucky’s true hero’s, her husband, Garlin Murl Conner. And present to his family the Medal of Honor he rightly deserves.
Lee “Pat” Watts.