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Gilivaldo Martinez

PFC in 23rd Headquarters Co

Military occupational specialty: 345 (truck driver, light)


Born 1923 in NM, Died 2006

County of residence at enlistment: Curry County, NM
Other residence(s): Clovis, NM
United States Army, European Theatre of Operations
Occupation before the war: semiskilled chauffeurs and drivers, bus, taxi, truck, and tractor
Source: Unit Shipment 10143-A, 23d HQ, from le Havre 23 June 1945;

Gilivaldo Martinez was born on July 6, 1923 in Tucumcari, NM, the second of two children. His parents were both descended from early New Mexico settlers who had been in NM since at least the early 1800s. His father was a laborer who eventually found work with the WPA.

Gilivaldo registered for the draft on June 30, 1942 and enlisted on February 9, 1943. At the time he was living in Curry, NM; he stated that he had an 8th grade education and that he was working as a driver.

He may have been stationed in California, because he married Pauline Samora from Banning, California in 1944, and their first child, Gilivaldo Jr., was born there that October. By that time, of course, Gilivaldo had gone to France with the 23rd HQ Company of the Ghost Army, serving as a truck driver.

After he was discharged from the Army with the rank of PFC, he returned to Clovis and worked as a butcher at Rollins Grocery Store, operated the Tortilla Factory at Furr's Grocery Store, and owned/operated Martinez Tortilla Factory/Martinez Foods. He was also a Certified Minister/Pastor for the Spanish Assembly of God.

He and Pauline had three more children: Cynthia, Fred, and Leroy. Sadly their oldest son, Gilivaldo, Jr., died in Vietnam in 1965. He had been an air ambulance medic, and was part of a medical evacuation team that perished in a helicopter crash on Veterans' Day while trying to pick up a wounded soldier. His tour of duty was supposed to have been over a month earlier, but it had been extended due to the ongoing crisis in Vietnam.

Gilivaldo and Pauline were active in their community and they received the Sertoma Club's "Outstanding Citizen Best Exemplifying Freedom" at the annual Freedom Banquet in 1976.

Gilivaldo died on October 15, 2006 in Clovis, and is buried at Lawn Haven Memorial Gardens Cemetery in Clovis.


1942 draft card

1943 enlistment record

1944 announcement in Riverside Daily Press (CA) about the birth of his son

1965 article in Las Cruces Sun-News (NM) re the death of his son in Vietnam

1974 ad in Clovis News-Journal (NM) shows him as owner of Martinez Foods

1976 article in Clovis News-Journal (NM) re a service award he and his wife received

1984-1995 US Public Records Index

2006 Find a Grave record (contains obituary)

Virtual Wall memorial for his son

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