Joseph Thomas Martin

First Sergeant
Army of the United States
28 March 1925 - 11 May 1967
Trinidad, Colorado
Panel 19E Line 091


CIB, 2 awards
Army Good Conduct, WW2 Victory, National Defense, Korean Service, Vietnam Service, UN Service, RoK Service, RVN Campaign medals
Army Parachutist

The database page for Joseph Thomas Martin

09 Mar 2003

My grandfather served as a paratrooper in World War Two and served again in Korea. In Vietnam he was a Combat Engineer.

25 Apr 2005

My name is Trenton Martin, I am Joseph's grandson. Though all I know about him is what I have read in his records or heard from my father I hope this page can for the most part help you understand who he was.

From his Grandson,
Trenton Martin
6 Feb 2005

Uncle Joe was a career Army man who loved his job and family, he was also the first paratrooper to come from Trinidad, Colorado! You are not forgotten, Unc!

Your Nephew,
Jim Laughlin (USMC-Vietnam '71-74)
312 Navaho Drive, Keokuk, IA 52632

Notes from The Virtual Wall


In World War II Joseph Martin was a paratrooper with the 509th Parachute Infantry Battalion, which in turn was assigned to various higher headquarters. The 509th made combat jumps during the invasion of North Africa and at Salerno, Italy, where a behind-the-lines jump led to very heavy casualties.

The 1st Airborne Task Force (1st ABTF) was a division-sized unit activated on July 11, 1944, in preparation for the invasion of Southern France. The 1st ABTF consisted of the British 2nd Independent Parachute Brigade; the U.S. 509th Parachute Infantry Battalion with the attached 463rd Parachute Field Artillery Battalion; the 517th Parachute Regimental Combat Team; the 550th Glider Infantry Battalion; and the 551st Parachute Infantry Battalion. The 1st ABTF was responsible for liberating Cannes and Nice during the 15 August 1944 invasion, and then was directed to secure strategic mountain-top positions in the Maritime Alps along the Franco-Italian border. During this campaign Private Martin was awarded the Silver Star:

Office of the Commanding General

19 November 1944



JOSEPH T. MARTIN, 37703556, Private, Company "A", 509th Parachute Infantry Battalion, United States Army, for gallantry in action near Fort La Force and Fort Mille Fourches, France, on 1 November 1944. Private Martin was with a twelve man patrol on a mission to determine the strength and disposition of enemy positions. While the patrol was enroute it was suddenly fired upon by enemy machine guns and rifles, and was unable to advance or withdraw in the face of the intense fire. The members of the patrol jumped from the road and proceeded down a steep, snow-covered slope toward another road two hundred and fifty yards below. Upon reaching this road the patrol leader discovered that several men were wounded and one man was missing. The missing soldier was seen lying in the snow about two hundred yards up the hill. The patrol leader called for two volunteers to return for the wounded man. Private Martin and another soldier, well knowing the dangers involved, promptly volunteered, immediately left their place of comparative safety, and began the slow torturous climb back up the steep, snow-covered slope. On their way up the hill they were again fired upon, and as they crawled to within a few yards of the wounded man, they saw him get hit by a burst of machine gun fire. Still determined, the two men crawled on, reached the soldier and dragged him down the slope, where, a few minutes later, he died from the many wounds he had received. Private Martin's gallant actions in attempting the save the life of a wounded comrade are in keeping with the traditions of the military service. Entered the military service from Trinidad, Colorado.

Major General U. S. Army,

The 1st ABTF was dissolved at the end of November 1944 and the 509th PIB was transferred north just in time to be involved in the Battle of the Bulge (Ardennes Forest, Dec/Jan 1944-45).

5th Cavalry

In Korea, then-Corporal Martin served with the 5th Cavalry Regiment, 1st Cavalry Division, and was wounded in action on 14 Sep 1950. It may have been consequences from this injury which prompted a change in military specialty from Infantry to Engineers; he was Infantry when wounded in Korea but held an Engineer MOS by the time he was assigned to Vietnam.

First Sergeant Joseph T. Martin, veteran of three wars, rests in Site 247, Section J, of the Fort Riley Post Cemetery, Fort Riley, Kansas.

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With all respect
Jim Schueckler, former CW2, US Army
Ken Davis, Commander, United States Navy (Ret)
Last updated 08/10/2009