Another Hero Gone (And I Ain’t Talkin’ Michael Jackson Here)

From the Gallup Independent:

WINDOW ROCK — A fourth Navajo Code Talker has died within five weeks. Matthew Martin of Crownpoint died from a lengthy illness June 22 at his home, his daughter Patricia Begay said. He was 84.

The funeral service is scheduled for 10 a.m., Saturday, at the Gospel Lighthouse Assembly of God Church in Crownpoint.

Martin was born May 3, 1925, at Star Lake. He enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps Oct. 12, 1943, in Santa Fe and was qualified as a marksman and a Code Talker. He attained the rank of corporal.

He saw combat at Iwo Jima and the Volcano Islands from Feb. 19 to March 16, 1945, and participated in occupation of Japan from Sept. 23, 1945, to April 20, 1946, according to the Navajo Nation president’s office.

Martin was honorably discharged from the First Separation Company MGB on May 13, 1946. President Joe Shirley and Council Speaker Lawrence T. Morgan each expressed condolences to the family of Martin.

“As we approach the 233rd anniversary of Independence Day, Navajos’ thoughts turn to the service performed by our warriors and veterans, and our honored Navajo Code Talkers are foremost in our thoughts and prayers,” Shirley said. “On behalf of the Navajo Nation, I offer our deepest condolences to the family of the late Matthew Martin, another of our distinguished Code Talkers, and we thank him and them for the service he rendered to the Navajo Nation and United States during World War II.”

“We are truly fortunate to have had such noble men — gentleman — who played significant roles in American history, as well as our own Navajo history,” Morgan said.

Among his awards, Martin received the good conduct medal and the Navajo Code Talker Congressional Silver Medal in 2001. He was also recognized for his service and outstanding contributions by then-Ariz. Gov. Jane Hull on May 9, 2002, and by the 45th Arizona State Legislature on May 13, 2002.

Martin worked for the BNSF Railway after his military service. After retiring in 1988, he raised livestock and farmed at his home in Crownpoint.

Martin is survived by wife Linda E. Martin, his daughters Patricia Begay of Crownpoint, Pearl Nez of Standing Rock, Lucinda Rosenbauer of Deming, Perlinda Begay of Crownpoint, Bernadette Martin of Crownpoint, Merlinda Martin of Becenti, Brenda Martin of Crownpoint, Sharlinda Martin of Standing Rock, sons Jasper Martin of Mesa, Ariz., Sgt. Lamar Martin, who is serving with the National Guard and is stationed in Georgia, Matthew Martin, Jr., of Arlington, Va., Patrick Martin of Crownpoint, and his siblings Paul Martin, Billy Martin, Leo Martin, and Alice Platero, all of Crownpoint, and Bernice Etcitty of Standing Rock.

The fourth code talker to die within five weeks. I salute these heroes. We will not see their like again.

“…when the last individual of a race of living things breathes no more, another Heaven and another Earth must pass before such a one can be again.”

–William Beebe

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1 Response so far »

  1. 1

    kcduffy said,

    Good men. Real men. There are still some around, but they’re much harder to find nowadays.


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