Kentucky war hero awarded Medal of Honor

Kentucky veteran becomes second-most decorated veteran in WWII history
President Trump presented Conner's widow with his Medal of Honor. (Source: NBC News)
President Trump presented Conner's widow with his Medal of Honor. (Source: NBC News)

WASHINGTON DC (WAVE) - German soldiers nearly walked on top of him. That didn't stop 1st Lieutenant Garlin M. Conner of Albany, Kentucky from calling in more artillery.

President Donald Trump quoted Conner at the White House Tuesday afternoon.

"Aim at me," he said. "Aim at me."

Conner wanted to give up his life to save the American soldiers behind him. He had run ahead under heavy fire carrying wire and a phone. He zig-zagged across the terrain of France and dove to the ground at the edge of the forest. The shells kept exploding -- narrowly missing him.

Many Germans were killed and the rest soon retreated.

Conner's actions that day are just part of the reason he won three Purple Hearts, four Silver Stars and a Distinguished Service Cross. Add to all of that the Congressional Medal of Honor.

Conner's wife of more than 50 years attended the ceremony at the White House 20 years to the day after Conner passed away.

She never stopped fighting for this recognition for the man she loved.

Kentucky Sen. Mitch McConnell battled, too. All because Conner never stopped battling. Despite being hospitalized seven times in World War II, he always returned to the battlefield.

The seventh time, he sneaked out of the hospital after the Army told him he would be flown back home because of all his injuries.

That's when he ran ahead of his fellow soldiers in France.

President Trump quoted Conner's commanding officer: "I've never seen a man with as much courage and ability as he had. I usually don't brag on my officers, but this is one officer nobody could brag enough about."

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All his heroics earned Conner a huge celebration when he returned home from the war to Albany, Kentucky. That was the first time his future wife would see him.

Pauline couldn't believe this man who had accomplished so much, was so little. He was about 5' 6" tall and around 120 pounds, but with the "pure patriotic love that builds and sustains a nation," the president said.

Conner didn't get to witness the Congressional Medal of Honor ceremony, but Pauline did. So did his son, Paul, four grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.

It was just one more honor for the man who is now the second-most decorated veteran from World War II. A Kentucky farm boy with an eighth grade education and the heart of a true hero.

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