( January 12, 1919 - July 27, 1994 )
Sergeant, 7th Infantry

Citation: For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at risk of life and beyond the call of duty.

     "James Phillip Connor" was born January 12, 1919 in Gander Hill, Wilmington, Delaware the son of "James B. Connor". He graduated from St. Mary's Commerical School and began working for the Allied Kid Leather Company at 12th and Popular Streets in Wilmington. In January, 1941 he was drafted into the U.S. Army and attended his basic training at Fort Bragg, North Carolina. He was described as being 5' 7" tall and weighing 135 lbs.

     After World War II began he landed in North Africa with the 9th Division in November, 1942. He later was involved in the American debacle at Kasserine Pass and went on to fight in Sicily and at Anzio.

     "Connor's" medal dates from an invasion in southern France on the beach of Cavalaire on August 15, 1944. Immediately after landing "Sergeant Connor's" lieutenant was killed by an exploding shell that also wounded "Connor".

     "Sergeant Connor", along with his platoon sergeant, then led his platoon across several thousand yards of mine ladened beach with mortar shells and 20mm flak guns screaming at them. Then the platoon sergeant was killed and command fell on "Connor". Receiving a second wound on his shoulder and back, "Connor" pressed on with determination personally shooting two German snipers along the way. On "Connor" went leading his men toward a group of buildings honeycombed with snipers and machine guns as he received yet another wound. Hit in the leg, this time "Connor" was dropped in his tracks, but from his prone position he continued to give orders and direct his men.

     Infused now with "Sergeant Connor's" dogged determination, his men, now reduced to less than a third of its original strength of 36 men, outflanked and rushed the enemy with such fury that it killed seven, captured forty, and seized three machine guns. This action cleared the way for the rest of the landings. At 10:44 "General O'Daniel" and his staff went ashore as the worst seemed to be over.

     "James P. Connor" was awared his medal in March, 1945 and on May 7 of the same year, he was called to the White House to be honored by President Harry Truman. After being discharged "Connor" returned to Wilmington and worked for the Veterans Administration until his retirement in 1974. He was married to the former Elizabeth Chlepciak, also of Wilmington's east side. "James P. Connor" passed away on July 27, 1994 and is interred in the Delaware Veteran's Cemetery near Summit Bridge, Delaware.

( Photos Courtesy of Paul Cathell, Jr. )

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Last modified: 7/15/2007