Martie Martin is St. C. vet of the month

ST. CLAIRSVILLE — Martie Martin has been selected as the St. Clairsville American Legion’s veteran of the month. Her service occurred during a shift in thought regarding the role of women in the military.

“I started out in the Women’s Army Corps in 1974, and in ’75 they designated us female soldiers,” Martin said.

She spent her service in Ft. Bragg in North Carolina from 1974-77 with the Military Police. She left the service with the rank of Specialist E-4, the equivalent of a corporal.

“Vietnam was just winding down, so they didn’t want to send anybody anywhere, so we pretty much got to stay where we were,” she said.

“We were some of the first women MPs on Ft. Bragg, because they just started letting women get into male-oriented positions. Not like they do now, where they can pretty much go anywhere,” she said.

Martin said she was attracted to military service from an early age.

“I really enjoyed the military. I always liked the structure,” she said. “It was something I always wanted to do.”

Martin added that her family has a history of service, with a father and one brother having served in the Army and another in the Navy, along with a brother-in-law in the Marine Corps.

“You could say it’s a family thing, and my uncles were in it during World War II,” Martin said.

She described her experience.

“When women first get into a job that’s primarily male-oriented, you’re going to get people that didn’t like it. So they’re very tough on you, which was good for me. I certainly didn’t want someone to hold my hand. I was an athlete all through high school. I was not a weak woman at 21, so for them to be tougher on me, that was OK for me. Some of the girls didn’t like it, but I did,” she said.

“We were trained just like any police officer, civilian police officer. You’re trained in arrest, you’re trained in self-defense. You’re trained in using weapons. Toward the end of my enlistment I actually was a traffic accident investigator and they didn’t like women doing that, because we weren’t allowed to patrol by ourselves, nor were we allowed to patrol with another woman. We had to patrol with a male partner.”

Martin noted that she has seen these beliefs and duties change during the years since her service.

“I think they’ve changed their attitudes a lot about women in the military. We are very useful We don’t have to be clerks. We don’t have to be nurses or medics, and a lot of times we find that having women helps out in a lot of situations, such as if you have to arrest a woman,” she said. “In a lot of situations women have a tendency to want to talk things out and calm down a lot of situations.”

She also commented on the interaction of military women with different cultures.

“I was raised in California,” she said. “I think where I was raised really helped a lot in terms of how I handle situations. I grew up in the late ’60s/early ’70s, it’s more of a peaceful thing.”

She also reflected on interactions with other cultures overseas and their views on the role of women.

After the service, Martin returned to California. She performed with the rock band Karisma for seven years, worked in civilian law enforcement and served as a deputy sheriff in Reno, Nev., for five years. She worked as a customer relations manager for a Toyota dealership for 15 years and for a Lexus dealership as a technology specialist until her retirement in 2015. She returned to her birthplace in Wheeling but then found her way to St. Clairsville. Martin added that she was attracted to the St. Clairsville American Legion post due to the community involvement associated with that post.

Martin encourages more woman veterans to join the American Legion.


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