Hamilton County

Pfc. Thomas L. Martin



Blairsburg Soldier Among U. S. Casualties in Okinawa Fight.

BLAIRSBURG—Pvt. Thomas Martin, 25, son of Mr. and Mrs. Carl Martin of Blairsburg, died of wounds on Okinawa May 22, his parents have been notified by the war department.

An infantryman, the Blairsburg soldier has been overseas nearly a year, having left for duty outside the country in July, 1944. He was a veteran of three years service.

The government telegram was received by Mr. and Mrs. Martin Friday.

Source: Daily Freeman Journal, Webster City, IA - June 25, 1945

Died May 22

Pfc. Thomas L. Martin, 25, died of wounds on Okinawa May 22, according to word received by his parents, Mr. and Mrs. Carl Martin of Blairsburg. Martin entered the service in October, 1943, receiving his training at Camps White and Adair in Oregon and Washington. The soldier held the combat infantryman’s badge and also four other medals. A sister, Ruth, is serving in the WAVES and a brother, Pfc. Marion, is in the armed services.

Source: The Daily Freeman Journal, July 6, 1945 (photo included)


Military Services will be at 2 p.m. Thursday at the Rose Grove church, six miles southwest of Williams, for Pfc. Thomas Leonard Martin, who died during World War II. A brief service will be held at the Foster funeral home at 1:00 p.m. Rev. N. E. Neese of Jewell will officiate, with burial in Rose Grove Cemetery.

Thomas Leonard Martin, son of Carl and Anna Martin, was born Jan. 12, 1920, on a farm near Stanhope, Iowa. In 1934, the family moved to a farm near Blairsburg, where he finished his schooling. Before entering the service, he was engaged in farming near Blairsburg.

Entered Service—
He was inducted into service Oct. 23, 1942, at Scott’s Field, Ill., and received his basic training at Camp Adair, Oregon, and additional training at Ft. Lewis, Wash. He was sent to California and from there overseas with Co. I, 381st infantry, 96th division. He saw active duty on Leyte, Mindanao and Okinawa.

Pfc. Martin was wounded by enemy mortar fire during an assault against a Japanese position near Yonabaru. He was evacuated to the 69th field hospital, where he died May 22, 1945, despite finest medical care. He was buried with full military honors in the 96th Division, temporary cemetery, Okinawa island, later being moved to a military cemetery on Guam.

Pfc. Martin was awarded the purple heart, good conduct medal, Asiatic-Pacific ribbon and American theater ribbon. He was also awarded the bronze star medal for heroic service in connection with military operations against the enemy on Okinawa April 28, 1945. He was in a rifle company in position on Sawtooth Ridge when a platoon of enemy, without warning, attacked the position. Fire was immediately brought down on the enemy, but because of a bank 20 feet to their front, several enemy were safe from fire. With complete disregard for his personal safety, Pfc. Martin took his machine gun and climbed on top of a ten foot rock over-looking the whole area. Despite enemy fire aimed at him, he immediately killed, wounded or routed all enemy from the bank, to his front. He then shifted fire to targets of opportunity until the enemy threat was reduced.
Pfc. Martin’s devotion to duty, courage and disregard for personal safety, reflected great credit upon himself and the military service.

Besides his parents, Mr. and Mrs. Carl Martin of Jewell, formerly of Blairsburg, he is survived by three sisters and three brothers; Mrs. Gerald Brim of Blairsburg, Ruth Martin of Chicago, Joyce Ann Martin of Blairsburg, Marion of Webster City, M.Sgt. Harold Martin of Baltimore, Md, and Seaman Duane Martin of Norfolk, Va. Also surviving are three nephews and two nieces.

He was preceded in death by one brother, Ernest.

He was baptized in the Lutheran faith at Stanhope and was confirmed in the Rose Grove church.

Source: The Daily Freeman Journal, April 5, 1949