Trump awarding posthumous Medal of Honor

Trump awarding posthumous Medal of Honor
© Greg Nash

President TrumpDonald John TrumpPapadopoulos on AG's new powers: 'Trump is now on the offense' Pelosi uses Trump to her advantage Mike Pence delivers West Point commencement address MORE will award the Medal of Honor posthumously to Garlin Conner, a World War II veteran who willingly put himself in the line of fire to direct an artillery strike on enemy troops, the White House announced Thursday.

Trump is set to present the medal during a ceremony at the White House. Conner's wife, Pauline Lyda Wells Conner, and his family have been invited to that event.

Conner, a first lieutenant in the Army, will receive the nation's highest military distinction for his actions on Jan. 24, 1945, during a battle in North Africa, when he "voluntarily left his position of relative safety to place himself in a better position to direct artillery fire onto the assaulting enemy infantry and armor," the White House said in its statement.

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"Despite the enemy coming within five yards of his position and friendly artillery shells exploding around him, he continued to direct the fire of friendly artillery, which ultimately repelled the assaulting enemy elements," according to the White House.

Conner, a Kentucky native who died in 1998 at the age of 79, has been recognized for his service before. He has been awarded three Silver Stars, four Bronze Stars, seven Purple Hearts and the Distinguished Flying Cross for his service, according to the Lexington Herald Ledger.

But his path to receiving the Medal of Honor has been a long one. The Army Board for Correction of Military Records rejected Conner's application for the medal in 1997, and later dismissed an appeal in 2000.

The board was presented with new evidence of Conner's actions from three eyewitnesses in 2015, the Herald Ledger reported at the time. 

"In his brave service to our country during World War II, First Lieutenant Conner saved the lives of many members of his unit, disregarding his personal safety and displaying the highest values of both the Commonwealth and the Nation," Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellThe Hill's 12:30 Report: Trump orders more troops to Mideast amid Iran tensions What if 2020 election is disputed? Immigration bills move forward amid political upheaval MORE (R-Ky.) said in a statement Thursday.

"After my office had worked for a number of years with his wife Pauline and others, I was proud to include a provision in last year's National Defense Authorization Act to waive a statutory time limitation, giving President Trump the authority to grant First Lieutenant Conner this well-deserved honor. The men and women of the Greatest Generation helped save our country during the darkest hours of the Second World War, and as the son of a World War II veteran, I am so proud to take this opportunity to recognize First Lieutenant Conner for his exceptional valor and service."