Keep Your Helmet On!

Be A Part of a Tribute to Fallen Heroes - Help Build the Fallen Soldiers' Bike
Help support the families of our deployed Heroes - Visit Soldiers' Angels' Operation Outreach
Help Our Heroes Help Others - Click Here to visit SOS: KIDS
Nominate your Hero for IWT's "Hero of the Month" - click here for details!
Search Iraq War Today only

Saturday, July 09, 2005

A Hero's Story

Below is the story of one of the heroes in today's History post. I found the story compelling, and thought it was worth passing along.

This former POW has some interesting things to say about the impact of anti-war activists, and the impact of media coverage (highlighting below is mine).

And the next time you here our troops trashed over Gitmo, remember this story. Somehow, I don't think Gitmo rises to the level of this one. This is what torture is.

Story courtesy of the POW Bio page of SCOPES Systems
SOURCE: WE CAME HOME copyright 1977
UPDATE - 09/95 by the P.O.W. NETWORK, Skidmore, MO

Commander - United States Navy
Shot Down: July 9, 1967

Commander Edward H. Martin was born in Savannah, Georgia on 30 September 1931 where he attended the public school system and Armstrong College as well as the University of Georgia Off-Campus Division there. In 1950 he was appointed to and entered the U.S. Naval Academy from which he graduated in 1954. Immediately following graduation from Annapolis, he entered flight training in Pensacola, Florida and later, Kingsville, Texas. From the fall of 1955 until 1959 he served in various carrier based squadrons operating out of San Diego, California.

From 1959 until 1962 Cdr. Martin was an instructor in the light jet Attack Replacement Squadron, first at Miramar, then Lemoore Naval Air Station in the San Joaquin Valley of California. Subsequent to this he served a tour on the staff of Commander Carrier Division Seven. In July 1964 he reported to Newport, Rhode Island to attend the U. S. Naval War College. He also holds a Master's Degree in International Affairs.

In July 1965, he reported to Attack Squadron Thirty-Four (34), homeported in Jacksonville, Florida where he served as Operations Officer and Executive Officer. While leading a flight of A4 Skyhawks from the carrier Intrepid on 9 July 1967, Cdr. Martin encountered numerous surface-to-air missiles near his target just southeast of Hanoi. His aircraft was hit and burst into flames. Ed Martin ejected safely and was captured immediately upon landing. During his captivity, both his shoulders were broken during rope torture. He was confined in both leg and wrist irons, and spent alot of time in solitary confinement. He was also subjected to beatings.

For the next five years and eight months he was held captive in the immediate Hanoi area from which he was repatriated on 4 March 1973.

Cdr. Martin attributes the success of the vast majority of prisoners of war in resisting the efforts of their captors during the long ordeal to faith in God, faith in their country and its government, faith in family and faith in their fellow prisoners; also to a well organized and strong leadership while in prison. "Never were these faiths shaken," he said.

He believes that the anti-war activists were injurious to the United States and the cause of freedom, and that they prolonged the war and the prisoners time in captivity. Following his return to the United States he was quoted as saying, "It's wonderful now to see a resurgence of Americanism and patriotism in our beloved country and I only hope that we, the returning prisoners of war, can enhance this awakening."

Edward Holmes Martin and his lovely wife, Sherry, lived in Coronado, California with their three children, Michelle, 13, Beau, 12, and Peter, 9 after Homecoming. "I am so very proud of the strength, courage and faith of my wife during this ordeal. The burden of being a mother, a father and running a household was on her shoulders and she did so well," he said.

December 1996
Edward Martin retired from the United States Navy as a Vice Admiral in 1989. While in the Navy, he had served as Deputy Commander in Chief, U.S. Naval Forces Europe; U.S. Commander Eastern Atlantic; Deputy Chief of Naval Operations (Airwarfare); and Commander of the U.S. Sixth Fleet. He is now retired. He is president of an International Business Advisory Firm, and sits on a number of corporate and charity boards. He and his wife Sherry
now reside in California.

More of Edward Martins' story can be found on pages 271, 272, 273, and 281 of Benjamin Schemmer's "THE RAID" by Avon. It states:

One of the Hanoi Hilton's last new guests as the Son Tay roundup continued was Navy Commander Edward R. Martin. Shot down on July 9, 1967, while leading a strike against Ninh Binh, he spent the first year of his incarceration in solitary. After months of that he was near death. He lived on one thought: "Six months from now, I'm going 'home." Every six months, he'd convince himself anew. it was his way of holding onto sanity while they worked him over in the Zoo, finally throwing him into a cell 78 inches long and 60 inches wide with four other men, sleeping on concrete, two of his cellmates in irons, unable to urinate, never getting a shower,
not knowing how long they'd be there.

About 2:30 A.M. on November 21, Ed Martin, from his cell in the Zoo, saw the flares over, explosions around, and surface-to-air missiles flying above Son Tay. Instinctively, he knew what was up.

As SAMs arched into the sky almost due west of his prison cell, Martin watched them explode harmlessly only 19 miles away; they were detonating everywhere from 2,000 to 18,000 feet above the terrain. He had seen lots of SAMs-at much closer range. One had finally nailed his F-4 on July 9, 1967. On the morning of November 2 1, however, Martin realized that not one SAM
had hit its target; he knew all too well what the explosion looked like when an SA-2 slammed into a plane in mid-air. He broke into tears. He knew that Son Tay was empty; but that didn't really matter, he told himself. America cared. He had his best night's sleep in three years.

Thirty-six days later, Martin found himself in a native paradise; he was moved into the Hanoi Hilton the day after Christmas, 1970. In a large room with him were 19 other POWs. Some were old Navy friends, some men he had heard being tortured in the Zoo but had never been able to talk to.

One of them was Air Force Lieutenant Colonel James H. Kastler, a hero well before he was shot down on August 8, 1966. He broke both legs on bailout and came to be held in virtual awe by his fellow prisoners. Taken to the Zoo, with Martin in a cell only 25 feet away, Kastler was put "on the ropes" one night and worked over unmercifully by a sadistic expert known only as "the Cuban." He was handcuffed, blindfolded, and beaten 700 times with a fan belt-100 strokes a day for seven days. Blindfolded, he couldn't anticipate the blows. There was no way of knowing when to tense up, when to relax; all he could do was wait. Each time he fell mercifully unconscious, the Cuban waited until Kastler came to and then started over.

Finally, Kastler said, "I surrender, I submit." Guards brought pencil and paper so he could sign his "confession."

But when they told him to write, Kastler replied calmly, "I've changed my mind." His torture started all over again.

Ed Martin listened to it all. He would say of the Cuban, seven years later, "I'd pay $5,000 right now to find out who that bastard is."

Jim Kastler's fate in North Vietnamese hands wasn't made any easier by a Time magazine story about him that hit the newsstands just before his capture. It told of an F-105 pilot who'd become a legend among disgruntled airmen fighting an air war under "rules of engagement" imposed by Washington that made it almost impossible to hit a meaningful target, and which had turned the skies over North Vietnam into a duck-shooting gallery. But, Time noted, Major James Kastler somehow always got his target. No one knew how he did it. A week later he was shot down on a strike south of Hanoi. It wasn't long before Hanoi got its copy of Time and the North Vietnamese knew they'd nailed a big one. They kept him in solitary for years, determined to break him. Thanks to Son Tay, Jim Kastler finally got a roommate in the Hanoi Hilton.

Another of Martin's cellmates in the Hanoi Hilton was Captain Bill Lawrence, the Constellation attack wing commander and former aide whom Tom Moorer had heard shot down on June 28, 1967, a few weeks before he became Chief of Naval Operations. Martin saw Bill Lawrence go down; he was leading a strike right behind him. Two weeks later, Martin himself got smoked. Wounded when his plane was hit and beaten to a pulp later, Martin soon became very, very
ill. He thought he, was going to die. He used the tap code to seek help. Lawrence was the man he contacted. Lawrence told him not to give up. When he didn't hear from Martin, Lawrence tapped out a message asking for Martin's help. It forced Martin to "get it together" and not give up.
Thanks to Son Tay, Martin and Lawrence finished their "Program" in North Vietnam together.

The Department of Defense has a section of their website devoted to National POW-MIA recognition day, coming in September. It's worth checking out, and you can find it here.

Site Note:

I am in the process of reorganizing the blogroll, so if things look a little funky over there for the next day or so, please just bear with me....

A Marine of the 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit assigned to Explosive Ordnance Team 8 prepares a Talon II remote-controlled robot to go down range and investigate a possible IED along the shoulder of a busy highway in southern Iraq. U.S. Army photo by Master Sgt. Lek Mateo.

More Photos


NIGHT FLIGHT — An aircraft director signals for an F/A-18 Hornet to taxi forward during night flight operations aboard the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson, July 5, 2005. The Carl Vinson Carrier Strike Group is currently deployed to the 5th Fleet area of operations. U.S. Navy photo

In Today's News - Saturday, July 9, 2005

Quote of the Day
"It's not because of something we're doing wrong that these barbaric terrorists attack us, it's because of what we're doing right...They'll always detest those freedoms, we have always got to defend those freedoms."
-- New York Governor George Pataki, July 8, 2005

News of Note

London Bombings *

Police: Bombs Light, Simple
Bus Riders: It Was Homicide Bomb
Americans Hurt in London Attacks

Operation Iraqi Freedom
Iran Plans Iraq Military Aid
U.S. says Iraq militants dealt sharp blow

Operation Enduring Freedom
Afghanistan's President: Bin Laden Not Here

Homeland Security / War on Terror
Guard Carries Out State Missions

The Gitmo Diet: Day 8
Review Boards Assessing Status of Detainees
Military Medics Saw Few Signs of Abuse

News of the Weird
Town Bans Word 'Wal-Mart'
Melon causes truck crash; 1 dead, 30 hurt
450 sheep jump to their deaths in Turkey

Other News of Note
Vietnam War link confirmed between Agent Orange and diabetes: Pentagon
Base Closing Plan's Legality Is Disputed by Sen. Warner
England to Plead Not Guilty in Second Trial
New England Pleads to Retain Military Bases

Fox News
London Bombings
Hunting for Clues
London cops seek citizens' tips
Subway Survivors' Tale of Horror
Hunt for Missing in London
Iraq: Attacks, Insurgency Tied
Voice Your Support!
Video: Bush Offers Condolences
London Goes Back to Work
Photo Essay: The Day After

Other news from Fox:
Iraq to Arab Envoys: Don't Go
U.S. Gen.: Insurgents Weak

Seattle Post-Intelligencer: War on Iraq
Iraq to world: Keep diplomats in Baghdad
Some Arabs debate where to place blame
Garang held together fractious rebel army
Rebel leader welcomed back to Khartoum
Israeli guard shoots dead Palestinian teen
Diplomat's case opens Iraq, Egypt rift
Iraq links London attacks to insurgency
Abbas says will yield to Lebanon on camps

Reuters: Top News
Desperate Londoners seek survivors after bombings
Defiant G8 agrees major aid boost for Africa
Judge rules out England's statements for trial
Rice on mission to salvage NKorea nuclear talks
US official sees Zarqawi spectre in London attacks
Show goes on for London's theaters and restaurants
Images from phones add to London attacks coverage
U.S. losing lead in science and engineering-study

Yahoo! News: War with Iraq
U.S. Condemns Slaying of Diplomat in Iraq
'No evidence' Iraq led to attacks

Department of Defense
Iraq on Track to Assume Election Security — Story
U.S. Will Stand by Britain in Face of Terror — Story
Bush, Blair Condemn Terror Attacks
Rumsfeld Offers Condolences, Notes Resolve
Bombings Spark Concern for U.S. Mass Transit

Troops Comb Streets of Iraq for IEDs — Story
Antietam Concludes Persian Gulf Operations — Story
Marines Prepare Students for Drench Warfare — Story

Marines Unearth IEDs in Operation Shadyville
USS Gonzalez Patrols the Indian Ocean
Re-enlistments in Iraq Exceed Expectations

Sense of Duty Drives Marine — Story

Nevada Man Donates Money, Gifts — Story
Island Educators Support Families — Story
Returning Troops Get Gift of Golf
Miss America Dines With Soldiers

Rumsfeld Stresses Positives in Iraq
IED Kills U.S. Soldier, Wounds Three
Iraqi General Reflects on Progress
Iraq Reconstruction
Iraq Daily Update

Afghanistan Daily Update

Waging and Winning the War on Terror
Terrorism Timeline
Terrorism Knowledge Base

Guidelines Won't Result in Pay Cut
Death Benefits, Insurance Increase
National Guard, Reserve Update

Al Azamiyah Al Basrah Al Hillah Al Karkh Al Kazimiyah Al Kut An Nasiriyah Baghdad Baqubah Mosul Najaf Nineveh Tall Kayf

Bost/Laskar Ghurian Herat Kabul Qandahar


Today in History
1540 - English King Henry VIII's marriage to Anne of Cleves is annulled after six months.
1755 - British General E. Braddock is mortally wounded during the French and Indian War.
1776 - The Declaration of Independence is read aloud to General George Washington's troops in New York.
1846 - Captain Montgomery claims Yerba Buena (San Francisco) for the U.S.
1853 - Admiral Perry and the U.S. Navy visit Japan.
1862 - Confederate General John Hunt Morgan captures Tompkinsville, KY.
1863 - Union troops enter Port Hudson.
1868 - Francis L. Cardozo becomes the first African-American cabinet member in SC (Secretary of State)
1910 - Walter Brookins becomes the first pilot to take an airplane to an altitude of one mile.
1915 - Germany surrenders South West Africa to Union of South Africa.
1916 - The first cargo submarine to cross the Atlantic arrives in the U.S. from Germany.
1917 - The British warship "Vanguard" explodes at Scapa Flow, killing 800.
1918 - 101 are killed and 171 are injured in the worst U.S. train wreck, in Nashville, TN; the U.S. Army's Distinguished Service Cross is authorized.
1951 - President Truman asks Congress to formally end the state of war with Germany.
1953 - New York City becomes the site of the first helicopter passenger service.
1955 - E. Frederick Morrow becomes the first African-American named as an executive on the White House staff.
1976 - Uganda asks UN to condemn Israeli hostage rescue raid on Entebbe
1979 - Voyager-2 flies past Jupiter.

- Thomas Davenport, inventor of the first commercial electric motor
1819 - Elias Howe Spencer, inventor of the sewing machine
1916 - Edward Heath, British PM
1932 - Donald Rumsfeld, Secretary of Defense
1943 - John H. Casper, Colonel USAF/astronaut (STS-36, sk:STS-50)

1755 - British Gen. E. Braddock, mortally wounded in battle during the French and Indian War
1850 - Zachary Taylor, 12th U.S. President, after 16 months in office

Reported Missing in Action
Lee, Charles Richard, USN (CA); A4C shot down, remains returned June, 1983
Martin, Edward H., USN (GA); A4C shot down, released by DRV March, 1973 - retired as a Vice Admiral in 1989 - alive as of 1998

Lilly, Carroll Baxter, USAF(WV); A1H shot down, presumed KIA

Ketchie, Scott D., USMC (AL); A6A shot down; ejected, no further information known

* Image courtesy of Echo9er, also found at various other sources