[This memorial to Joseph H. Connor was submitted to the Korean War Educator by Kathy M. Connor, June 7, 2020.]
In Honor of
Joseph H. Connor
After an extra year in high school and a record as a track star, my father, Joseph H. Connor, enlisted in the United States Navy. He graduated
from Navy boot camp in California. It was quite an adventure for a young man from northern New York, a rural area along the U.S.-Canadian
border, to travel to California. I have heard stories of hitchhiking across the country to get back and forth. Imagine!
When Joe was shipped over to Korea, he found himself seconded to the Marine corpsman. This meant that he went out onto the battlefield
to assist wounded men. He carried a pistol for self defense, but was not considered an active soldier. Joe served along the western Korea
First Marine Division front in the area of Corine–Hedy. (Hedy was the last outpost before No Man’s Land). Joe was wounded on February
26, 1953 while working as a corpsman. He received a Silver Star, and his mother received a citation letter from Maj. Gen. E.A. Pollack of
Joe’s actions in battle. He also received a Purple Heart, and is included in the computerized "Roll of Honor" database on the National Purple
Heart Hall of Honor at http://www.thepurpleheart.com.
Despite, or maybe due to his service and battlefield experiences, my father was a person who accepted all people of all races and creeds.
He was optimistic about life and about America as a great country. My dad came home to marry, obtain an engineering degree using the GI bill,
and raise four children. As a young engineer at a brick plant, he hosted a Chinese businessman from Taiwan, and they kept in touch with Christmas
cards over his lifespan. Later, in another engineering position at General Electric, my father assisted getting black engineers through the
picket lines at the time of the Detroit riots.
Upon retirement, with a local buddy, he joined the Akwesasne Mohawk Marine Detachment to get together with Native American vets from that
reserve. We are grateful for his bravery in service, and for his positive attitude toward all people.
Silver Star Citation
The President of the United States of America takes pleasure in presenting the Silver Star to Hospital Corpsman Third Class Joseph
H. Connor (NSN: 4227737), United States Navy, for conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action against the enemy while serving with
a Marine Infantry Company of the First Marine Division (Reinforced), in action against enemy aggressor forces in Korea on 25 February
1953. Serving as a Platoon Corpsman, Hospital Corpsman Third Class Connor displayed outstanding courage, initiative and devotion to duty.
As the unit of which he was a member commenced a raiding action against a strongly fortified position, he was painfully wounded but refused
treatment and continued with the assault to the objective area. Expressing complete disregard for his personal safety, he fearlessly moved
about in the face of intense enemy mortar, grenade, machine gun and small arms fire in order to locate, treat and evacuate casualties.
During the action, he was wounded a second time but again refused medical aid and continued rendering assistance to his fallen comrades.
After withdrawing to friendly lines, he personally insured that each casualty had been treated before permitting himself to be evacuated.
Hospital Corpsman Third Class Connor's indomitable spirit and gallant and courageous actions served s an inspiration to all who observed
him and were in keeping with the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service. Commanding General, 1st Marine Division (Reinforced)
FMF: Serial 16576 (May 18, 1953).