First Lieutenant Thomas Martin died during combat operations October 14, 2007, while serving his country in Iraq.
Tom was born October 10, 1980, in Huron, South Dakota. He left South Dakota as a very young boy, went to school for a short time in San Marcos, Texas, and then graduated from high school in Cabot, Arkansas in 1998. That same year he enlisted in the United States Army completing Basic Training and AIT as a Field Artilleryman at Fort Sill, Oklahoma. In 2000, after an assignment to Camp Stanley in Korea, Tom was accepted for admission to the United States Military Academy. After attending the United States Military Preparatory School, Tom entered West Point in the fall of 2001. As a West Point Cadet, Tom started on the Rugby team, was a member of the Military Tactics Team, and earned his Parachutist Badge by graduating from Airborne School at Fort Benning, Georgia. Tom majored in Military Science and graduated with his class in May 2005. He was commissioned as an Armor Officer and completed the Armor Officer Basic Course at Fort Knox, Kentucky.
Tom volunteered for Ranger School and graduated earning his Ranger tab in May 2006. He reported to the 1st Squadron, 40th Cavalry Regiment at Fort Richardson, Alaska in June 2006. Upon arrival, Tom was assigned as the Sniper Platoon Leader in Crusader Troop and deployed with the unit in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom in October 2006.
1LT Martin was awarded the Bronze Star Medal with Oak Leaf Cluster and the Purple Heart Medal posthumously. His previous awards include the Bronze Star Medal, the Army Commendation Medal, the Army Achievement Medal, the Army Good Conduct Medal, the National Defense Service Medal, the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, the Korean Defense Service Medal, the Army Overseas Ribbon w/numeral 2, the Army Service Ribbon, the Combat Action Badge, the Parachutist Badge, and the Ranger Tab.
As a youth, Tom was active in his church, community, 4-H, high school band, theater, the Boy Scouts of America, and attained the rank of Eagle Scout.
First Lieutenant Martin was interred in West Point National Cemetery, West Point, New York.
He will forever be remembered as a man with undaunted determination who was fiercely dedicated to his men, his mission, and his country.
More of the story
- Tom's Personal Blog. Tom kept a blog of his experiences while at West Point and the years and memories since then, including Ranger School and his deployment to Iraq. Tom's original blog is still live at http://www.tommym1080.com/.
- Written Memorials. The West Point Association of Graduates maintains a collection of memorials and eulogies for each of its fallen soldiers. You are welcome to visit Tom's page HERE.
- Tom's Book! In the winter of 2009, Tom's family discovered a way to capture his journals in a physical, tangible way - through Blurb.com. His entire online journal was pulled together in a beautiful book titled Green to Grey to Gold: this be me and is available in the bookstore at Blurb.com.
- The story of October 14, 2007 - as told by Erika. Early in 2010, a reporter from Maxim embedded with Tom's fiance Erika's unit deployed in Afghanistan. The reporter's goal was to give a voice to Army Air Medics and Erika was able to share the story of October 14, 2007. Their story. The article was published in the June 2010 issue of Maxim - read it HERE.
- As told by a fellow soldier. Many people - friends, family, fellow soldiers - visit Tom's grave at West Point throughout the year, and often they take photos to share with the Martin Family. In October 2011, on the 4th anniversary of Tom's death, Azar Boehm was one of those visitors. Azar served with Tom in Iraq, and wrote a poignant reflection of his experience visiting the cemetery at West Point that day. Read it HERE.
Tom Martin will never be forgotten.