Gilbert L. Martin (1950/08/19)

"Another Watsonville Man Wounded, Army Casualty List Shows," noted the local press.

Gilbert L. Martin was born in 1924 to Mr. and Mrs. James Martin of Wilson, Oklahoma. Gilbert was raised and educated in that community prior to enlisting in the US Marine Corps during World War II. Following his discharge, he returned to Oklahoma and remained there until the Korean War.

When the Korean War began, Martin enlisted in the US Army and was sent to Fort Ord, California, for training and unit assignment. Being stationed at Ft. Ord provided Gilbert with frequent opportunities to visit his uncle Arthur's family, who lived in the Pajaro Valley community of Freedom. It is likely at this time that he met Gladys, a single mother with two daughters. The couple married and established their home in Freedom.

After completing his Fort Ord training, Private First Class Martin was assigned to the 35th Infantry Regiment of the 25th Infantry Division and was sent to join that unit in Japan.
“On 13 July 1950, the 35th Infantry Regiment landed at the southern port city of Pusan, Korea. Commanded by Colonel Henry G. Fisher the Regiment initially set up defensive positions with one battalion near Kyong-ju and the other at Pohang Dong. In August the 25th Division was given the assignment to defend the southwestern sector of the 140-mile Pusan perimeter. The Cacti Regiment was ordered to hold the Chung-ni-Masan route into the Pusan Perimeter. On the 18 August a strong communist attack at 0430 hours hit the 1st Battalion, 35th Infantry. A North Korean battalion struck Company A pushing it back, but reinforced by Company C the battalion line was restored.”

On August 19, 1950, Private First Class Gilbert L. Martin was killed in action on the Pusan Perimeter of Korea. When a reporter for the Watsonville Register-Pajaronian attempted to interview Gladys for a story about Gilbert, he was refused admittance by her employer, Western Frozen Foods Company in Watsonville and told, "we're short-handed now. I can't take her off the line."

The location of the remains of Gilbert L. Martin has yet to be identified. His awards include the Purple Heart.

(ABMC, NARAK, SCSn September 6, 1950; WRP September 7, 1950 1:5; 25th Infantry Division Assoc., 35th Infantry Regiment in Korea, 2005,, [16 September 2008])

Creator: Nelson, Robert L.
Source: Remembering our own: the Santa Cruz County military roll of honor 1861-2010. Santa Cruz, CA: The Museum of Art & History, c2010.
Date: Undated
Type: OBIT
Coverage: 1950s
Rights: Reproduced by permission of Robert L. Nelson and The Museum of Art & History.
Identifier: RO-MARTIN


Nelson, Robert L. “Gilbert L. Martin (1950/08/19).” Remembering our own: the Santa Cruz County military roll of honor 1861-2010. Santa Cruz, CA: The Museum of Art & History, c2010. SCPL Local History. Accessed 23 May 2019.