Gary Wayne Martini
Gary Wayne Martini was born September 21, 1948, in Lexington, Virginia, the son of William and Annie L. Martini. His parents later moved to Frankfort, Greenbrier County, where young Gary spent much of his youth. He grew up in Frankfort with his only sister Imogene. Later his parents moved to Charleston, where Gary attended Stonewall Jackson High School until his parents moved to Portland, Oregon, after his junior year. In Portland, Gary attended David Douglas High School before joining the Marine Corp on March 3, 1966. A rifleman in Company F, 2nd Battalion, 1st Marines, he was sent to Vietnam the following December.
On April 21, 1967, Gary and his company were ordered to conduct an offensive operation at Binh Son, Vietnam. On the mission, they encountered an enemy force and immediately began to engage them. Through their assault across the open rice paddy, they were able to force their way to within 20 meters of the enemy’s trench. The enemy then suddenly struck them with hand grenades, intense small arms, automatic weapons and mortar fire that forced Gary and his company back. The assault killed 14 Marines and wounded 18, forcing the rest of the platoon down behind a low paddy dike.
|Private Martini crawled back over the dike, through heavy firing until he was within 15 meters of the enemy, where he threw hand grenades, killing several. He crawled back across the open rice paddy to rejoin his platoon but saw his wounded comrades lying in the open field. Gary raced out to help them. While dragging one wounded Marine to safety, he received a wound. He went back to help another comrade and received another wound; however, Private Martini dragged his injured comrade to safety before falling from his wounds. For his actions, Pvt. Gary Wayne Martini was posthumously awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor.|
The body of Pvt. Gary Wayne Martini was returned to the United States and interred in Rosewood Cemetery in Greenbrier County.
|In October 1968, Annie and William Martini met the men whose lives their son died to save at a ceremony held in Washington, during which the government presented them with the Medal of Honor which had been awarded to their son. The Marine Corps further honored Pvt. Gary Martini by naming a new Recruit Processing Center after him in 1987. Among those attending this dedication ceremony were Gary’s former commander, Gene A. Deegan, along with his mother, father and sister.|
West Virginia Archives and History welcomes any additional information that can be provided about these veterans, including photographs, family names, letters and other relevant personal history. For more information contact Constance Baston at (304) 558-0230.
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