Biography

Martin, Robert Reinhold
[Col CO 34thIR]

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34th Infantry Regiment

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COL ROBERT REINHOLD MARTIN

DISTINGUISHED SERVICE CROSS
SILVER STAR

34TH INFANTRY REGIMENT

HQ HQ CO

24TH INFANTRY DIVISION

ARMY

HOSTILE, DIED (KIA)

REMAINS NOT RECOVERED

DATE OF LOSS: JULY 8, 1950

SERVICE NUMBER: O-0015953

BORN: APRIL 15, 1902

HOME OR PLACE OF ENLISTMENT

LOUISVILLE, KENTUCKY

JEFFERSON COUNTY

LOCATION OR BATTLE ZONE: CHONAN

BURIAL LOCATION

ARLINGTON NATIONAL CEMETERY - MEMORIAL

Comments: Colonel Martin was a decorated veteran of World War II. In Korea, he was placed in command of the 34th Infantry Regiment, 24th Infantry Division on July 7, 1950. The following day, he was Killed while directing the delay of the North Korean advance near Chonan, South Korea. His remains were not recovered. Records indicate he was captured and later died. Seeking confirmation.

KOREAN WAR PROJECT KEY NO: 18725

Service Insignias

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Kentucky Flag and Seal

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Korean War

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Army

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Colonel

▼ Personnel File Core Info:

Name

Robert R Martin

Birthdate  04/15/1902

Cultural  Male, White

From  Unknown, Kentucky, Jefferson county, United States

Service  Army, Active Regular

Rank  Colonel

Paygrade  Officer

Occupation  Field Communications Chief

Conflict  Korean War

Incident Date  07/08/1950

Process Date  01/01/1999

Year of Death  1950

Country  Republic of Korea

Region  Asia

Unit  34 Infantry 24 Division

Duty Code  Unknown

Operation Type  Combat

Operation Name  Korea

Closure Date  07/08/1950

Death Type  Hostile Death

Casualty Type  Deceased

Category  Killed In Action

Recovered  Body Remains Not Recovered

Closure  No Remains Found

Summary

Details for Robert R Martin - brief overview of essential casualty incident facts from military archives

Casualty Incident Overview - Robert R Martin from Kentucky had the rank of Colonel in the U.S. Army when he was a casualty in 1950. This occurred during the Korean War, Republic of Korea. Marital status was unknown. Colonel Martin was enlisted as Field Communications Chief through Active Regular in the Army.

Yet, deep down, Bill Dean must have suspected rougher times than he let on. Soon after the alert he requested that Eighth Army send him three combat experienced men to shore up the command in the 34th Regiment. Two of these men had fought with Dean in the 44th Division in the ETO: Robert R. Martin (Purdue University, 1924), forty-eight, and Robert L. ("Pappy") Wadlington, forty-nine.

The other, Harold B. ("Red") Ayres, thirty-one, then serving in the 25th Division, had won a DSC in Italy and was reputed to be the "best battalion commander in the Far East." Pappy Wadlington replaced the exec; Ayres would replace the 1/34 commander. Robert Martin, who had commanded a regiment in Dean's 44th Division in the ETO, would be near at hand should Lovless fail.[4-21]

July 7

General Menoher gave Colonel Lovless an order signed by General Dean relieving him of command of the 34th Infantry and directing that he turn over command to Colonel Martin. Martin likewise received an order to assume command.

July 8

During the fight for Ch'ŏnan, the Americans set one T-34 tank afire with five grenades and used rocket launchers to destroy two others. Colonel Martin joined a tank-hunter team, but he was killed by the tank they were hunting. The executive officer, Lt. Col. Robert L. "Pappy" Wadlington, assumed command of the 34th.

 [about 0800] Martin, manning a bazooka like an infantryman, attacked a tank at pointblank range.

Simultaneously the tank fired off a round from its 85mm gun and cut Martin's body in half. He had commanded the 34th Regiment for fourteen hours. Sergeant Menninger commented:

"When I say that the regiment lacked proper leadership, I can point to the fact that this Colonel Martin was killed in the street fighting a T34 instead of being where he could direct the movement of the troops."[4-69]

In this street fighting, Colonel Martin met his death about 0800. Martin had obtained a 2.36-inch rocket launcher when the tanks entered Ch'ŏnan and posted himself in a hut on the east side of the main street. He acted as gunner and Sgt. Jerry C. Christenson of the regimental S-3 Section served as his loader. Sergeant Christenson told Major Dunn a month later when both were prisoners at the North Korean prison camp at P'yŏngyang that an enemy tank came up and pointed its gun at their building. Colonel Martin aimed the rocket launcher but the tank fired its cannon first, or at the same time that Martin fired the rocket launcher. Its 85-mm. shell cut Martin in two. Concussion from the explosion caused one of Christenson's eyes to pop from its socket but he succeeded in getting it back in place.

 

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Citation:


The Distinguished Service Cross is presented to Robert Reinhold Martin (O-0015953), Colonel (Infantry), U.S. Army, for extraordinary heroism in connection with military operations against an armed enemy of the United Nations while serving as Commanding Officer, 34th Infantry Regiment, 24th Infantry Division. Colonel Martin distinguished himself by extraordinary heroism in action against enemy aggressor forces at Ch'ŏnan, Korea, on 8 July 1950.


Observing enemy tanks and infantry in force penetrated his regiment's forward position, Colonel Martin, with total disregard for his own personal safety, rushed forward to organize and personally led rocket launcher and grenade attacks against the tanks and infantry at ranges of ten to twenty yards. Despite heavy small-arms and tank gun fire, Colonel Martin, by his heroic example, so inspired his men that they destroyed several tanks and forced others to withdraw, thereby preventing the enemy from immediately overrunning the position. During this action Colonel Martin lost his life while single-handedly attacking an enemy tank with a rocket launcher at a range of about fifteen yards.


General Headquarters Far East Command: General Orders No. 12 (July 11, 1950)


Home Town: Toledo, Ohio