Greensburg — GREENSBURG – Ripley County native Randall Martin was almost 25 when he was drafted to serve in the United States Army in 1941.
Originally, Martin was told he had to serve just one year because the United States was not yet involved in the war. He was nearing the end of his year when the attack on Pearl Harbor occurred and the US took an active role in World War II. Randall continued to serve his country with pride across multiple continents and battles.
After being drafted, Martin was sent to Ft. Bliss, Texas. He hadn’t realized that the Army still used horses before he arrived, but both Ft. Bliss and another base in Kansas had a full horse cavalry. During Martin’s time there, the horse cavalry was dismounted and the troops switched to mechanized forms of conveyance when they were deployed to the Pacific Theatre. Randall served in the 7th Cavalry, 1st Cavalry Division.
“I was tickled to death to get off the horses. It’s a rough life riding horses so much. During maneuvers in Louisiana, we rode more than 900 miles on horseback in two months,” Randall said, adding that the poor beasts were ridden until their backs were raw.
When Martin was deployed overseas, he faced combat in several places, the worst of which he said happened in Manila, the capital of the Philippines. He also fought in New Guinea, Luzon and the Bismarck Archipelago.
“We all had a little trench shovel we carried with us. You’d be surprised how fast you can dig a hole to get underground when you’re under fire,” Randall said, grinning.
Randall received the Asiatic-Pacific Ribbon with four bronze stars, one for each of the campaigns in which he fought; the American Theatre Ribbon for the time he served in the US; the Philippine Liberation Medal with one bronze star for his combat time in the Philippines; the Good Conduct Ribbon; the Bronze Star Medal for armed combat with the enemy and the Combat Infantryman Badge.