No Man Left Behind

| October 3, 2008

15 years ago today I lost a dear friend. Tim Martin and I showed up at the Reception Station in Fort Polk Louisana – I won’t mention the year, the fact that they were still doing Basic and Infantry AIT at Ft Polk should be enough to narrow it down for you. He was a huge, quiet and friendly guy and I felt lucky that we were attached alphabetically through those 16 weeks. I can’t count the times that I’d stumbled and looked up to see his outstretched hand to help me up.

After those 16 weeks, it four weeks together at the Basic Airborne Course in Georgia then he went to the 2d Ranger Battalion at Lewis and I went to Fort Stewart (yes, the 1st Battalion was actually on Fort Stewart in those days). We went off in our separate directions for four years and then ended up in the same SFQC class at Fort Bragg  – alphabetically attached once again. After that six months, we rarely saw each other, but each time we met, the conversation picked up right where it had left off the last time.

I’ve never met anyone who ever met him that had a bad word for him. He loved the Army, and later I learned he loved his family more.

I found out his final fate on October 18th, 1993 while I was leaving my last duty station as a retired soldier when I read the casualty list from what is now down as the “Blackhawk Down” fiasco and found his name.

I spent the next seven years trying to find out what happened to him. I became a member of the fine forum, run by my good friend Mark (back when Mark and I were the only participating members). As the forum grew, I put together bits and pieces of the story and some wonderful soul sent his wife Linda my way. She sent me pictures of him which I’ve put on my accompanying website as a memorial to Master Sergeant Tim “Griz” Martin.

The movie Blackhawk Down did a great job capturing his personality and immortalizing his love for his daughters.

Another friend at, 509thTrooper, helped me get Tim a brick at the Ranger Memorial in Fort Benning. Then he went and took a picture of it for me.

I stop and visit with Tim at Arlington at least twice every year on Veterans’ Day and Memorial Day and every Christmas when I make my rounds there. And every day I give thanks for men like Tim Martin who are willing to put everything on the line for the rest of us. But today, especially, I save for Tim. And for Linda and their girls who sacrificed everything for us as well.

And thanks to COB6 for reminding me to share it with you.

Category: Politics

Comments (56)

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  1. Diana says:

    No words will ever describe how reading these words keeps my father’s spirit alive and reminds me why I am so proud of him and do everything I can to be the best I can be, a daughter he would be proud of. I have some great memories too, like driving down the road at 7 or 8 years old and him explaining the words responsibility and privilege, tagging along with him to help promote his small power washing business on the weekends when he was home, him putting me in a sleeping bag bag and tying the knot, or convincing my sisters and me to try hot sauce just to see our reactions, and one of my most favorite, climbing trees – he always there in case we fell but not helping us in anyway except giving encouraging words and advice. I love hearing stories about him.

  2. Jabatam says:

    This is the first time I’ve seen this one…made my eyes water. Beautifully written Jonn

  3. A Proud Infidel says:

    I just read this for the first time, ditto with the comments. There are two titles that I know he deserves, Real Man, Real Soldier. Enjoy Heaven, Fallen Warrior, you’ve done your time in hell.

  4. ForeverGrateful says:

    I had read Black Hawk Down, watched the documentaries on it, and read whatever I could about it online. I just saw this post; and my heart hurts for Mr. Martin’s family and friends. Thank you for his service and sacrifice to this nation. We are forever indebted to him and heroes like him.

  5. Anonymous says:

    Very kind man.I remember him when a was a child in Fort Devens. My father ( Bob Blair ) and Tim were team mates with ODA 232 in the early eighties. I remember him being a kind man, with a big smile.I respect these men and what they do with the highest admiration ! Thank you for your sacrifice.
    You will alaways be remembered as a true warrior.