President to award Kentucky war hero with Medal of Honor

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Medal of Honor
WASHINGTON, D.C. (WTVQ) – President Donald Trump will posthumously award a Kentucky native the Medal of Honor this week.

First Lieutenant Garlin Murl Conner’s widow and other family members are in Washington, D.C. for the ceremony.

The Clinton County native was a highly decorated soldier from World War II.

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U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, of Kentucky, delivered the following remarks Monday on the U.S. Senate floor:

“This week, our nation will honor the memory of a brave Kentuckian. President Trump will posthumously award First Lieutenant Garlin Murl Conner with our nation’s highest military distinction: the Medal of Honor.

“In 1941, Garlin left his farm town in Clinton County, Kentucky. This quiet 21-year-old enlisted in the Army. When he returned — after World War II service that spanned eight major campaigns and earned a battlefield commission, four Silver Stars, three Purple Hearts, and the Distinguished Service Cross — he was a hero.

“Lt. Conner wasn’t supposed to be in a snow-covered forest that January morning in 1945. He was meant to be recovering in a hospital. But with his unit in need, he snuck away and returned to the front in France. When he rejoined his comrades, they were in urgent danger, pinned down by six German tanks.

“Lt. Conner stepped forward. He took a telephone, a radio, and a wire reel, and ran toward the enemy — alone. Totally alone. Past the American line, in a ditch barely large enough to cover him, Lt. Conner began directing artillery against the approaching enemy. He held his ground through wave after wave of German advances.

“When the enemy surged, even coming within feet of him, he called in artillery strikes on his own position. Amazingly, when the dust settled, Lt. Conner was still alive. And Allied artillery had destroyed the German tanks and stopped the advance. On that frigid morning, in complete disregard for his own safety, Lt. Conner saved the lives of his comrades.

“This afternoon, I will have the privilege to welcome Ms. Pauline Conner, Garlin’s wife of more than 50 years, and other family members to the Capitol. Without Pauline’s patience and steadfast resolve, there would be no recognition tomorrow. After the war, Lt. Conner demurred any sort of personal glory. With the humility that’s typical among the Greatest Generation, he returned to his farm and planned to leave the war behind him. Later in life, he took it upon himself to meet privately with his fellow veterans and their families, offering comfort and advice.

“One day, late in Lt. Conner’s life, a former Army Green Beret named Richard Chilton came to their home to ask about about his late uncle, who’d served with him in Europe. He saw all of Garlin’s decorations and medals and urged Pauline to apply for the Medal of Honor. That was the first step. The path wasn’t easy. Filing paperwork; Finding eye-witness accounts; Gathering support from the Kentucky Department of Veterans Affairs, generals, and even Members of Congress.

“It was my privilege to join Pauline’s team when they contacted my office over a decade ago. There were setbacks. Even a federal court ruling. But Pauline and her team pushed forward. Her long journey will finally end in victory when the Commander-in-Chief entrusts her with Garlin’s Medal of Honor tomorrow.

“I am grateful to President Trump, Secretary Mattis, and Secretary Esper for recognizing this deserving Kentuckian. I’m proud to congratulate Pauline and her family today. And I would like to thank her, for giving our nation the opportunity to salute First Lieutenant Garlin Murl Conner. He embodied the highest values of our Commonwealth and our nation. But this humble man never called himself a hero. So, it’s incumbent upon us to do just that.”

 

 

 

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Tom Kenny joined ABC 36 News in June of 2001 as a General Assignment Reporter. A native of Peoria, Illinois, he graduated cum laude with a Bachelor of Arts in Mass Communications from Western Illinois University. He currently anchors ABC 36 News at 5pm, 6pm and 11pm. Tom has more than three decades of experience in broadcast journalism. He is the only broadcast journalist in Lexington television history to be honored with a national Edward R. Murrow Award. Tom was recognized for reporting on a story that gave a rare glimpse inside the secretive world of the Federal Witness Protection Program. He has won an Emmy Award for anchoring and another for investigative reporting, exposing the deceit and potential danger of online diploma mills. Tom has ten other Emmy nominations to his credit for investigative and feature reporting. He has won Associated Press Awards for reporting and anchoring. He has won two Addy Awards for excellence in promotional writing. Tom was the first broadcast journalist in Lexington TV history to be awarded the Silver Circle Award by the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences. It is one of the highest honors given by NATAS. It recognizes television professionals who have performed distinguished service within the television industry for 25-years or more. Tom was honored for more than his longevity, he was recognized for making an enduring contribution to the vitality of the television industry and for setting high standards of achievement. He was also recognized for giving back to the community as a mentor, educator and volunteer. Tom also has network broadcast experience in radio and television having worked as a sports reporter for ESPN, Sportschannel, NBC Sports and the Breeders’ Cup. He was also the studio host and halftime producer for CBS Radio Sports’ College Football Game of the Week and covered the NFL for One-On-One Radio Sports. Prior to joining WTVQ-TV, Tom was Vice-President of the Houston Astros Minor League baseball team in Lexington. He was part of the original management team that brought professional baseball back to the Bluegrass after a nearly 50-year absence. Tom has lived in Lexington since 1984. In that time, he has been heavily involved with dozens of charity and civic groups, with a special emphasis on helping Veterans. He can be reached at tkenny@wtvq.com. You can also follow Tom on Facebook www.facebook.com/TomKennyABC and Twitter @TomKennyNews. Just click on the links at the top of the page.