He said New Guinea was the most backward place he’d ever seen. He compared it to places in the Stone Age, saying there were cannibalistic tribes all over and the soldiers often joked that they should all stay away from the villages when they were alone at night, lest they end up in someone’s dinner pot.
Randall was discharged from the military on September 13, 1945, with a rank of T/5, or Technician Fifth Grade. He drove a weapons carrier as one of his military duties.
“The first night home, I told my mom I wasn’t going to sleep in the bed. I said I was just going to dig a hole in the ground because that’s where I was used to sleeping,” Randall said.
The Martin family was able to experience a joy that few families knew during World War II. Randall’s older brother, John, was drafted in 1942 and stationed in Alaska. He was given furlough and came home to visit on September 14, 1945.
Randall said his mother was beyond thrilled to have both of her sons back home, especially within two days of each other. She got out the fine china reserved for special guests and the Martins enjoyed a family meal together.
Martin was home for six months before he went back to work. He worked at the Felco plan in Connersville for four and a half years before moving on to work for the State Highway Department for the next two years. When he left there, Randall worked as a machine operator at Hill-Rom in Batesville for 28 years until he retired in 1980.
Randall married Marie Fisse in 1958 and the two enjoyed 54 years of happy marriage before her death in 2012. The two never had children of their own, but Randall said Marie babysat when they got married and they often spent time with the children of family members.
Though he said he could do without some of the memories he has from the war, when asked if he would still serve if he could go back to 1941 and was given a choice, Randall said he would.
“If Uncle Sam called on me and I was young again, I’d still do my part for this country,” Randall said.
Contact: Amanda Browning 812-663-3111 x7004