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Joseph Henry Martin

T/5 in Signal Co, Special : Inst & Maint; Telephone & Wire

Military occupational specialty: 641 (field lineman)


Born 1922 in MI

Other residence(s): Saginaw, MI
United States Army, European Theatre of Operations
Notes: Overseas Service Bars, Meritorious Service Unit Badge, European African Middle Eastern Theater Service Ribbon, Good Conduct Medal, Army Meritorious Unit Citation, Presidential Unit Citation, National Defense Service Medal, World War II Victory Medal, Bronze Star European Theater of Operations (with star).
Source: Unit Shipment 10143-D, 23d HQ, from la Havre 23 June 1945; son John Martin; photo from son John Martin; 1930 census; 1940 census; 1942 draft card; Saginaw city directories; 1993 Social Security death index;

Joseph Martin was born on November 29, 1922 in Saginaw, MI, the third of four children. He attended St. Andrew's High School, a Catholic high school in Saginaw. The day after he graduated, in 1941, he started working at Michigan Bell, where he would work until retirement.

Joe registered for the draft on June 27, 1942, and was ordered to report on January 25, 1943. On a personal information form he filled out, he stated that his favorite pastime was sports and his favorite sport to play was baseball.

He would become part of the Signal Company Special in the Ghost Army, undergoing training in nine states before heading overseas. In a letter home from his early training, he commented on the whole new vocabulary he had to learn. "You see here in the Army they don't call a switchboard a switchboard it's called a BD-91 and a common battery telephone isn't called just a telephone, it's called EE-8-A--they even call a pair of pliers TL29 or a roll of tape TA13. And when you have to learn the codes of all these things it's kinda tough."

Later in 1943 he was stationed at the Desert Training Center in Banning, CA. "Only two guys passed out today. . . . Hottest it's been since we've been out here 125°."

He found a link to home in the desert. "I shot the machine gun and carbine the other day. . . . Those carbine rifles are what Dad and Gene help make at the Plant. It has Saginaw S.G. written right on the rear gun sight. . . . Boy they sure are a swell gun."

After his service in Europe, he was discharged from the Army on October 25, 1945 with the rank of T/5 and went back to Saginaw. There he met Doris Ann Boyd, marrying her on September 28, 1946. He and Doris would go on to have five children.

Joe continued his work with Michigan Bell, working  as an installer after the war. He became a local testman in the 1950s, and continued that work until his retirement in 1982.

His son John reports that he made several trips back to Europe in the 1970s and 80s to retrace his steps with the Ghost Army.

Joe died on January 14, 1993 and is buried at St. Andrew's Cemetery in Saginaw, MI.


1930 census

1940 census

1942 draft card

1946 marriage record

1948 Saginaw MI directory

1956 Saginaw MI directory

1993 Social Security death record

Email to Rick Beyer from Joe's son, John Martin, and a booklet entitled "His Service Record" that John put together which included photographs and letters home.

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