1LT Garlin M. Conner

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Garlin M. Conner was born on June 2, 1919, and raised in rural Clinton County, Kentucky. With the nearest high school almost 15 miles away, Conner’s formal education ended in eighth grade. He spent his teenage years working on his family’s farm and served in the Civilian Conservation Corps when he enlisted in the Army, March 1, 1941, at Fort Lewis, Washington.

Following basic training, Conner was assigned to the 3rd Battalion, 7th Infantry, 3rd Infantry Division. After several months of training, Conner and the 3rd Infantry Division deployed, Oct. 23, 1942. During Conner’s service, he fought for 28 months on the front lines in 10 campaigns, participated in four amphibious assault landings, was wounded seven times and earned a battlefield commission.

On the morning of Jan. 24, 1945, 1st Lt. Garlin M. Conner was serving as an intelligence staff officer with the 3rd Battalion, 7th Infantry, 3rd Infantry Division, near the town of Houssen, France, when German formations converged on 3rd Battalion’s position.

With his battalion at risk of being overrun, Conner volunteered to run straight into the heart of the enemy assault in order to get to a position from which he could direct friendly artillery on the advancing enemy forces.

With complete disregard for his own safety, Conner maneuvered 400 yards through enemy artillery fire that destroyed trees in his path and rained shrapnel all around him, while unrolling telephone wire needed to communicate with the battalion command post. Upon reaching the battalion’s front line, he continued to move forward under the withering enemy assault to a position 30 yards in front of the defending U.S. forces. He plunged into a shallow ditch that provided little protection from the advancing enemy’s heavy machine gun and small-arms fire.

With rounds impacting all around him, Conner calmly directed multiple fire missions on to the force of 600 German infantry troops, six Mark VI tanks and tank destroyers, adjusting round after round of artillery from his prone position until the enemy was forced to halt their advance.

For three hours, he remained in this prone position, enduring the repeated onslaught of German infantry which, at one point, advanced to within five yards of his position. When the Germans mounted an all-out attack to overrun the American lines and his location, Conner ordered his artillery to concentrate on his own position, resolved to die if necessary to halt the enemy.

Ignoring the friendly artillery shells blanketing his position and exploding within mere feet, Conner continued to direct artillery fire on the enemy assault swarming around him until the German attack was finally shattered and broken. By his incredible heroism and disregard for his own life, Conner stopped the enemy advance. The artillery he expertly directed while under constant enemy fire killed approximately 50 German soldiers and wounded at least 100 more, thus preventing heavy casualties in his battalion.

After spending over two years in nearly continuous combat, Conner was honorably discharged from the Army, June 22, 1945. Conner returned home to Clinton County after his discharge to a parade in his honor, where he met Pauline Lyda Wells. After a one-week courtship, they were married.

Conner ran a 36 acre farm in Clinton County, Kentucky, where he and Pauline raised their son, Paul. For several years, he served as president of the local Kentucky Farm Bureau, and he and Pauline volunteered their time to help disabled veterans receive their pension benefits. Conner died in 1998 at the age of 79 after battling kidney failure and diabetes.

We honor you, Garlin Conner.

(#Repost @Army.mil)

CRM Lillian L. “Fraz” Fravell

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Lillian L. “Fraz” Fravell was born in the small town of Orient, IL to a coal miner and housewife. She was the sixth sibling of nine brothers and eight sisters. She enjoyed having fun with her seventeen siblings and liked growing up in a small town. Fraz especially loved school. By the time she was 11, she knew that she wanted to go to college. To get a college education, she planned to join the Navy when she was old enough. After high school she moved to Peoria, IL and began working at the Caterpillar Tractor Co. It was during her time at this company that she was given the name “Fraz.”

At the age of 20, Fraz decided to follow her dream and joined the Navy. Amazingly, eight of her brothers also joined the military. This made nine full-blooded siblings from her family, with her being the only girl, to serve. She began her basic training in Great Lakes, IL. She was trained and placed in communications to work as a cryptographer deciphering codes. Her first duty station was Washington, DC. Her next duty stations included Pearl Harbor in Hawaii, Boston, MA, and Brunswick, ME. While at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii was not a state yet so her assignment was considered overseas shore duty. After she left Brunswick, she was sent to Norfolk, VA for instructor school. She instructed for radioman school and also for recruit training for women. During her military career, Fraz worked during some momentous occasions. She was Chief in Charge in Washington, DC at the Communication Station during the Cuban Missile Crisis and also when President John F. Kennedy was assassinated. She was stationed at Pearl Harbor during the Korean War. According to her, these were all turbulent times. After 20 years of service, she retired from the military as Chief Radioman and went back home to Orient.

Fraz became employed by the state of Illinois to work with selective service. She switched jobs and began working for the Veterans Hospital in Marion, IL. She finally made the decision to fulfill her dream of a college education. She enrolled in John A. Logan Junior College. Majoring in social work, she finished her Bachelor of Science degree from Southern Illinois University at the age of 49. It was during these college years that she made great friends and thoroughly enjoyed learning.

Upon graduating, she began working as a social worker in oncology with nursing home programs. Her first job was in a veteran’s outpatient clinic in Las Vegas, NV. Her next job took her to Tampa, FL to work at James A. Haley Veterans Medical Center. At the age of 54, she finally retired completely. She moved from Florida back home to Orient. She enjoyed her retired life by golfing, playing softball, and bowling. She said she had to be athletic growing up with nine brothers. She also drove from Orient to Mobile, AL to work women’s professional golf tournaments. Working with the LPGA, she kept score and drove the golfers around.

Fraz had known about the Naval Home in Gulfport from teaching naval history in recruit training. In 1992 she decided to move back down south to live at the Home. Because she enjoyed visiting and helping her fellow Residents, Fraz became the first Resident Ombudsman. After living at the Naval Home for about eight years, she decided to move back to Orient. She fixed up her grandmother’s house and lived with her pets. She spent her time doing church and family activities. After a while, she decided to move back to the Home, which had changed to the Armed Forces Retirement Home. She asked for the assignment of Resident Ombudsman again since she enjoyed it so much the first time. Fraz still serves under AFRH-G’s Ombudsman, Master Chief Wise, as the Resident Ombudsman. She’s always visiting with Residents and using her helpful temperament to aid in any way she can. Always a pleasure, Fraz is such a great Resident to have around AFRH-G!

We honor you, Lillian Fravell.

(#Repost @AFRH.gov)

WASP Elizabeth “Betty Wall” Strohfus

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Strohfus, known as Betty (or sometimes Liz) Wall when she joined the WASPs — Women’s Air Force Service Pilots — died March 6, [2016] in Faribault, Minn., after a lifetime devoted to ensuring a legacy for the women once entrusted with the military’s newest planes. She was 96.

Strohfus spent years crisscrossing the country in her blue uniform to champion the WASPs, whose contributions to the war effort were never fully acknowledged.

“She had to fight most of her life for recognition,” said her son, Art Roberts of Northfield, Minn. “The ladies, for the most part, were unaware they were pioneers. They wanted to fly planes and help their country.”

“She had to fight most of her life for recognition,” said her son, Art Roberts of Northfield, Minn. “The ladies, for the most part, were unaware they were pioneers. They wanted to fly planes and help their country.”

When Strohfus learned in the 1970s that the law didn’t recognize WASPs as veterans, she and others lobbied Congress for a change and won. Last week, U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar and several congressional allies called on the Army to allow burials for WASPs at Arlington National Cemetery. Klobuchar met with Strohfus in January to discuss the policy with her.

“While Betty wanted to be buried with her family, she stood up for fellow WASP sisters and fought for them to have the same rights as other veterans,” Klobuchar said.

Strohfus, then 22, had dreamed of flying when she was a child. She borrowed money to join the Faribault flying club, putting up her bike as collateral, but then saw an ad for the WASPs and quickly logged the required 35 hours in the air.

She applied along with about 25,000 other women. Of that number, only 1,047 made the cut — including Strohfus, who trained to fly every aircraft and simulate enemy fights in mock air combat with U.S. bombers. Elizabeth Wald Strohfus trained to fly every aircraft. “The planes … never asked if you were a man or a woman.”

“They were beautiful, they were smart, they were dedicated women and they gave it their all,” said Cheryl Young of Minneapolis, who worked with Strohfus in the 1990s on a book about her three years in the WASPs.

During 1943 and 1944, Strohfus was sent to a U.S. Army air gunnery school in Las Vegas to help train men for in-flight combat. Her job was to dive an AT-6 Avenger fighter-trainer onto formations of B-17 bombers to give the gunners target practice, using special cameras in place of guns.

She towed cloth sleeves behind her plane so the bombers’ gunners could practice with live ammunition. A couple of fellow WASPs died that way, among the 38 WASPs who died during the war in crashes and other accidents.

Strohfus also trained men to fly by instrument. A few of them didn’t think a woman could handle a plane.

“It was just something you had to put up with,” she told the Star Tribune in 1991. “But what I loved was that the planes I flew never asked if you were a man or a woman; they flew just as well for me as anyone else.”

Roberts said that after his retirement he traveled with his mother to public appearances. “Her message was always positive, that people need to follow their dreams,” he said.

We honor you, Elizabeth Strohfus.

(#Repost @Star Tribune)

SGT Kyle Jerome White

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Sgt. Kyle Jerome White joined the Army in 2006, from Washington State. He attended basic training, advanced individual training, and U.S. Army Airborne School consecutively, at Fort Benning, Ga., before being assigned to the 2-503rd, at Camp Ederle, Italy, from 2006 to 2008. While assigned to the 2-503rd, White deployed to Aranas, Afghanistan, in spring 2007, where he served as a platoon radio telephone operator. He was assigned to the 4th Ranger Training Battalion, at Fort Benning, from 2008 to 2010. White departed the active-duty Army in May 2011.

His civilian education includes a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, where he majored in finance. He currently resides in Charlotte, where he is an investment analyst with the Royal Bank of Canada.

His military education includes the Combat Life Saver Course, U.S. Army Airborne School, U.S. Army Air Assault School, the Infantryman Course (One-Station Unit Training), the Primary Leadership Development Course, and the Reconnaissance and Surveillance Leaders Course.

White’s awards and decorations include the Purple Heart, the Army Commendation Medal with one oak leaf cluster and “V” device, the Army Achievement Medal with 1 oak leaf cluster, the Army Good Conduct Medal, the National Defense Service Medal, the Afghanistan Campaign Medal with one campaign star, the Global War on Terrorism Medal, the Non-Commissioned Officer Professional Development Ribbon, the Army Service Ribbon, the Overseas Service Ribbon with numeral 2 device, the NATO Medal, the Combat Infantry Badge, the Parachutists Badge, the Air Assault Badge, the Presidential Unit Citation, and the Valorous Unit Award.

His Medal of Honor citation reads as following:

“Specialist Kyle J. White distinguished himself by acts of gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty while serving as a radio telephone operator with Company C, 2d Battalion (Airborne), 503rd Infantry Regiment, 173rd Airborne Brigade during combat operations against an armed enemy in Nuristan Province, Afghanistan on 9 November 2007. On that day, Specialist White and his comrades were returning to Bella Outpost from a shura with Aranas village elders. As the soldiers traversed a narrow path surrounded by mountainous, rocky terrain, they were ambushed by enemy forces from elevated positions. Pinned against a steep mountain face, Specialist White and his fellow soldiers were completely exposed to enemy fire. Specialist White returned fire and was briefly knocked unconscious when a rocket-propelled grenade impacted near him. When he regained consciousness, another round impacted near him, embedding small pieces of shrapnel in his face. Shaking off his wounds, Specialist White noticed one of his comrades lying wounded nearby. Without hesitation, Specialist White exposed himself to enemy fire in order to reach the soldier and provide medical aid. After applying a tourniquet, Specialist White moved to an injured Marine, providing aid and comfort until the Marine succumbed to his wounds. Specialist White then returned to the soldier and discovered that he had been wounded again. Applying his own belt as an additional tourniquet, Specialist White was able to stem the flow of blood and save the soldier’s life. Noticing that his and the other soldiers’ radios were inoperative, Specialist White exposed himself to enemy fire yet again in order to secure a radio from a deceased comrade. He then provided information and updates to friendly forces, allowing precision airstrikes to stifle the enemy’s attack and ultimately permitting medical evacuation aircraft to rescue him, his fellow soldiers, Marines, and Afghan army soldiers. Specialist Kyle J. White. Extraordinary heroism and selflessness above and beyond the call of duty are in keeping with the highest traditions of military service and reflect great credit upon himself, Company C, 2d Battalion (Airborne), 503rd Infantry Regiment, 173rd Airborne Brigade, and the United States Army.”

In reflection of the event, he shared his thoughts in the moment: “It’s just a matter of time before I’m dead. I figured, if that’s going to happen, I might as well help someone while I can.”

We honor you, Kyle White.

(#Repost @Army.mil)

CPL Joe R Baldonado

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Medal of Honor recipient Joe R. Baldonado was born in Colorado, Aug. 28, 1930.

He joined the U.S. Army as a light weapons infantryman (parachutist) during the Korean War.

Baldonado distinguished himself on Nov. 25, 1950, while serving as a machine-gunner in the vicinity of Kangdong, Korea. Baldonado’s platoon was occupying Hill 171 when the enemy attacked, attempting to take their position. Baldonado held an exposed position, cutting down wave after wave of enemy troops even as they targeted attacks on his position. During the final assault by the enemy, a grenade landed near Baldanado’s gun, killing him instantly. His remains still have not been found.

Baldonado’s acts of bravery were briefly described in a book, “Disaster in Korea: The Chinese Confront MacArthur.”

Baldonado received the Medal of Honor, March 18, 2014; Purple Heart, National Defense Service Medal, Korean Service Medal, Combat Infantryman Badge, United Nations Service Medal, Republic of Korea-Korean War Service Medal.

We honor you, Joe Baldonado.

(#Repost @https://www.army.mil/medalofhonor/valor24/recipients/baldonado/?f=recipient_list)

 

PVT Pedro Cano

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Medal of Honor recipient Pedro Cano was born in La Morita, Mexico, June 19, 1920.

He joined the U.S. Army in 1944, during World War II.

Cano is being recognized for his valorous actions in the months-long battle of Hurtgen Forest. He was advancing with his company near Schevenhütte, Germany, in December 1944, when the unit met heavy enemy resistance. During a two-day period, Cano eliminated nearly 30 enemy troops.

Sometime later, while on patrol, Cano and his platoon were surprised by German soldiers that caused numerous casualties within their platoon. Cano lay motionless on the ground until the assailants closed in, then tossed a grenade into their midst, wounding or killing all of them. It was in this engagement, or shortly thereafter, that Cano sustained serious injuries. He was returned to the States and placed in a Veterans hospital in Waco, Texas. After which, he returned home to his wife and daughter in Edinburg.

Cano would pass away six years later. Posthumously, Cano received the Texas Legislature Medal of Honor. A school in Edinburg, Texas is named after Cano.

Cano received the Medal of Honor, March 18, 2014; Bronze Star Medal, Purple Heart, Army Good Conduct Medal, European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal with one Silver Service Star and Bronze Arrowhead, World War II Victory Medal, Army of Occupations Medal with Germany Clasp, Presidential Unit Citations, Belgian Fourragere, Combat Infantryman Badge and the Honorable Service Lapel Button-World War II.

We honor you, Pedro Cano.

(#Repost @https://www.army.mil/medalofhonor/valor24/recipients/cano/?f=recipient_list)

James B Hunt

Utah American Legion Honor Guard service for Korean War Veteran Hunt performed on August 7, 2018. This song was posted in the veteran’s program.

If You’re Reading This

If you’re reading this

My Momma’s sittin’ there

Looks like I only got a one way ticket over here.

Sure wish I

Could give you one more kiss

And War was just a game we played when we were kids.

I’m laying down my gun

I’m hanging up my boots

I’m up here with God and we’re both watching over you.

So lay me down in that open field out on the edge of town

And know my soul

Is where my Momma always prayed

That it would go

And if you’re reading this

I’m already home

If you’re reading this

Half way around the world

I won’t be there

To see the birth of our little girl

I hope she looks like you

I hope she fights like me

Stand up for the innocent and the weak

I’m laying down my gun

I’m hanging up my boots

Tell Dad I don’t regret that I followed in his shoes.

-Tim McGraw

We honor you, James Hunt.

(Submission by: Ninzel Rasmuson)