Biography: Ray Martin was born on March 4, 1926, in Olaton, Kentucky. He was the son of Elijah Logan Martin and Nellie Foreman. He attended local schools through the eighth grade and then worked on the family farm and as a roofer.
Service Time: Ray entered the service on May 22,, 1944, at Fort Benjamin Harrison, Indiana. During his training, he qualified as a Marksman with the Carbine Rifle. He shipped out to the ETO (European Theater of Operations) on December 26, 1944, arriving on January 8, 1945. He was assigned to Company C of the 814th Tank Destroyer Battalion, which was already in Europe seeing action in Northern France.
They were transferred with 7th Armored Division to the Ardennes on December 17th and participated in the defense of St. Vith. They had been re-equipped with M36s in October, so they were an even more effective force supporting operations against the West Wall in February, 1945. They crossed the Rhine River at Remagen on March 23rd and helped reduce the Ruhr Pocket in April, driving east to the Elbe River, reaching the Baltic coast on May 3rd.
Ray received credit for campaigns of the Ardennes-Alsace, Rhineland and Central Europe. He was awarded the EAME Medal, the WWII Victory Medal, the Good Conduct Medal and the Army of Occupation Medal for Germany. He returned to the U.S. on June 1, 1946, and left the service on June 6, 1946, at the rank of Corporal.
Ray found work as a plumber and started his own business in 1971, calling himself the “Plumbin Man”. On November 23, 1946, he married the former Emma Rose Carrico who was born in Louisville, Kentucky, and was the daughter of Joseph Carrico and Mary Agnes Bean. The couple made their residence in Louisville and had four children, Allen born in 1947, Linda in 1949, Judy in 1954 and Mary in 1956.
In his spare time, Ray loved to travel and made it back to Europe at least a couple of times. He loved the beaches in Florida and made frequent visits to Disney with his family. He was a fan of many sports with baseball being his favorite. He liked growing things but his main hobby was working in his yard, mowing and even completely reseeding it on a number of occasions. He also loved animals, his granddaughter recalls receiving a white rabbit as a gift and how her grandfather built a hutch for it and after she married and moved away, he continued to care for it many years.
Ray passed away on February 2, 2017. At the time of his passing, he had six grandchildren and eight great grandchildren. I want to thank Ray’s granddaughter, Kelley, for providing the information and materials for this tribute. The photo at left is Ray with Kelley.