Conn, Charles E. (6th Grp, 1st Brig.)

Charles-E-Conn-1Charles E. Conn

Biography:  Charles Edward Conn was born on January 28, 1920, in Sutton, Nebraska.  He is the son of Samuel Conn and Edna Smith and attended the Dorner School in Montana.  He left school and found work in farming, as a mechanic, and in mining.

Service Time:  Charles entered the service on April 16, 1942, at Missoula, MT, and was assigned to the HQ Company, 6th Tank Destroyer Group.  On May 8, 1943, he married the former Mary Ann Maki, who was the daughter of Charles Maki and Mary Amanda Mattson.  Mary Ann was born in Neihart, MT.

He trained with the 6th TD Group at the Desert Training Center at Camp Ibis, which is near Needles, California.  His new wife accompanied him there.  They traveled to Camp Maxey, Texas, before moving to Camp Kilmer, New Jersey, and final staging before boarding the Aquitania bound for Scotland. They landed in Scotland in early February of 1944 and moved to the South of England to assist in preparations for the D-Day landings.  The unit landed at Normandy and took part in “Task Force A” and actions on the Brittany Peninsula after the breakout at Avranches.  He signed his name on a pair of wooden shoes, dated August, 1944, while the unit was still in France.  August of 1944 was also the birth month of his first child.

At some later date, he transferred from the 6th into the 1st Tank Destroyer Brigade, which the 6th had served under during the Brittany campaign.  He remained with them, receiving credit for campaigns in Normandy, Northern France, Rhineland and Central Europe. He received the Good Conduct Medal, a Bronze Star, the European-African Middle Eastern Service Medal and the American Theater Service Medal.  He shipped home, landing on October 18, 1945, and left the service 10 days later at the rank of Technician 4th Grade.

When Charles returned to the U.S., he and Mary Ann made their residence in Fort Benton, MT, and he found work as a mechanic.  He later started farming which he did until retiring in 1989.  The couple had three children, Betty, born in 1944, Billie in 1947, and Lynda in 1948.

In his spare time, Charles played drums in a three-piece band mainly doing polkas and Scottish music.  He enjoys woodworking and has built many projects, including a grandfather’s clock and baby cradle.  He also designs clocks and does clock repair.  His other passion is for restoring automobiles, three of his projects were a 1949 Ford, a 1967 Volkswagen and a 1953 Chevy Bel Air.

Charles is also a member of the Elks, Eagles, IOOF (Independent Order of Odd Fellows) and the Moose Lodge. 

I want to thank Charles for his service to this country and wish him long life and good health.  I also want to thank Charles’ daughter, Betty, for providing this information and photo of her parents.

Charles passed away on Feb 17, 2014, and was buried at the Riverside Cemetery, Fort Benton, Montana.