Staff Sergeant John Martin (May 12, 1922 – January 26, 2005) was a non-commissioned officer with Easy Company, 2nd Battalion, 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment, in the 101st Airborne Division of the United States Army during World War II. Martin was one of the original 140 Toccoa men of Easy Company. He was portrayed in the HBO miniseries Band of Brothers by Dexter Fletcher.
Martin was born in Columbus, Ohio on May 12, 1922. He was a railroad worker for most of his early life.
Martin enlisted in the Army at Columbus, and volunteered for the Paratroopers, eventually being assigned to Easy Company. He married a woman named Pat, and William Guarnere, fellow Easy Company soldier and a good friend of Martin, was his best man. Guarnere, in his biography Brothers in Battle, Best of Friends, described Martin as 'a loner' 'who didn't get along with others' and 'a goldbrick (but not when it came to combat)'. He was called The Scrounger because 'he could get out of doing anything' and could do anything to get what he wanted.
Martin made his first combat jump into Normandy as part of Operation Overlord. He survived the campaign, but was shaken. The first night back from Normandy, Martin noticed that half of the first platoon was gone and he thought he might not survive the war, so when he got his leave to Scotland with Guarnere, he got his tattoos.
Martin also fought in Operation Market Garden. While Easy Company was taking a frontal assault in Nuenen, Martin spotted a German tank hiding in a hedgerow, waiting to attack the British tanks. Martin ran over to warn the tank, but its commander deferred the advice and the tank was destroyed moments later. Martin also fought in the Battle of the Bulge in Bastogne. While occupying the town of Haguenau, a drunken, troublesome Roy Cobb caused Martin to pull his sidearm in trying to stop him.
Martin continued to serve in the Army during Easy's occupation of Germany and Austria. He was unhappy that he was never promoted beyond Staff Sergeant and decided to inform the medics that he had a trick knee, which incapacitated him for combat. He was discharged early for medical reasons.
After the war, Martin attended Ohio State University and returned to his railroad job upon graduation. He then moved to Phoenix, Arizona, where he started his home construction business, building apartments. His business was successful and he became a millionaire. Martin died on January 26, 2005.
Band of Brothers
Martin is featured sporadically in the Band of Brothers TV miniseries. In the episode "The Last Patrol", Martin is shown leading the patrol over the Moder River; however, it was Sergeant Kenneth Mercier who led the patrol. It is unclear if Martin participated in the patrol.