Kenneth Martin

Specialist Four
Army of the United States
05 May 1948 - 05 March 1969
Kalamazoo, Michigan
Panel 30W Line 047


Combat Infantry

Purple Heart, National Defense, Vietnam Service, Vietnam Campaign

The database page for Kenneth Martin

27 Nov 2006

Kenny Martin was the protector of the neighborhood. I grew up on the playground of Woodward Elementary School on the north side of Kalamazoo, Michigan. Kenny was a little older than the kids that I grew up with and he would protect us all from the bullies in those days. We had our share of fisticuffs but he would be the referee. Kenny could pop the cap of any RC Cola with his teeth.

He was proud to carry his football uniform over his shoulder coming through the school property on his way home from Hillside Junior High. His brother Paul was a pretty cool guy too. Things changed though with Paul, when Kenny got killed in Vietnam, he never got over the fact of Kenny going to Vietnam and not coming home. I always tried to keep an eye on his little brothers Mike and Joe until the time I went into the Army in 1970.

Kenny was a good person and I want everyone to know that if we had more Kenny Martins, this world would be a much better place. It is a shame that young men should lose their lives over politicians debating over how to win a war in which young men die each day they wait to make the decision to get the job done. When will we learn to stay out of other peoples� worlds, why should we be the policemen of the world?

Love ya� Bro�,

From a friend,
Michael D. Rowlett, North Side Kazoo
69 Myrtle Leaf Trail, Mount Dora, Fl 32757

A Note from The Virtual Wall

The Plei Trap Valley, like the A Shau Valley further north and the Ia Drang further south, opened into Laos at its northern end and extended southeast into the South Vietnamese Central Highlands. As with the other two, the Plei Trap provided an avenue from the Ho Chi Minh Trail in Laos into the Republic of Vietnam, and like the other two it was the scene of heavy fighting on a number of occasions during the war.

On 01 March 1969 the 4th Infantry Division's 1st Brigade arrived in the Plei Trap Valley to destroy North Vietnamese Army units and installations. The initial landings by three rifle companies and supporting artillery units were largely unopposed, by on the afternoon of 03 Mar Company "A", 3rd Bn, 8th Infantry was engaged by an NVA battalion. During a 24-hour battle centered around FSB BRACE Alpha 3/8 was destroyed as a fighting unit. Delta 3/8, which had been redirected via a night march to Alpha's assistance, found itself surrounded on Hill 947 by other elements of the 66th NVA Regiment and fighting for its life. Although Delta 3/8 successfully defended its position, it lost seven men killed and dozens more wounded. Charlie 3/8 also was engaged but in a more peripheral manner and had lighter losses. Overall, eleven Americans were killed in the actions on 05 March:

  • C Co, 1st Bn, 8th Infantry
    • 1LT George A. Callan, Pennsville, NJ
    • SP4 Antonio Garcia, Philadelphia, PA
    • PFC Joseph J. Strucel, Detroit, MI

  • D Co, 3rd Bn, 8th Infantry
    • SSG Efrain Figueroa-Melendez, Catano, PR (Dist Svc Cross)
    • SGT Carlton J. Johnson, Tallahassee, FL
    • SGT Gary F. Rolfe, Wichita, KS
    • SP4 Juan Ayala-Mercado, Bayamon, PR
    • SP4 Wayne G. Bernoska, Gary, IN
    • SP4 Steven W. Dundas, Prescott, AZ
    • SP4 Alfred Lallave, New York, NY

  • E Co, 3rd Bn, 8th Infantry
    • SP4 Kenneth Martin, Kalamazoo, MI
The Central Identification Laboratory Hawaii casualty database puts SP4 Martin in Echo 3/8, but the Vietnam Dog Handler's Association says he was a scout dog handler from the 40th Infantry Platoon (Scout Dog) based at Pleiku.

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With all respect
Jim Schueckler, former CW2, US Army
Ken Davis, Commander, United States Navy (Ret)
Memorial first published on 27 Nov 2006
Last updated 08/10/2009