MARTIN, Maj. Daniel J., USAF (ret.)
Major Daniel J. Martin, USAF (retired) died at his home in South Windsor on October 25, 2013 after a two year battle with lung cancer. The irony of it being that he was never a smoker. A veteran of World War II, Korea and Vietnam, Dan was a proud native of Holyoke, MA who never forgot his roots or his experiences growing up in the city's Ward 4 section. He often recalled with pleasure his memories of playing baseball in the sandlots of the city, walking to the Boys Club for basketball and indoor soccer matches and swimming in and across the Connecticut River. Dan was born August 9, 1924 into a loving Irish family, the sixth of eight children born to Timothy and Mary (Kennedy) Martin both from County Kerry, Ireland. He was educated in the Holyoke school system, graduating from Holyoke High School class of l941. In January 1943, Dan enlisted in the U.S. Army Aviation Cadet Program and after rigorous training was commissioned a 2nd Lieutenant and awarded his navigator wings. By the end of his training World War II was winding down and he was released from active duty. Like so many returning veterans, Dan took advantage of the GI Bill to further his education earning a degree in Public Relations and Communications from Boston University in 1949. After graduation Dan worked in sales in Houston, TX until being recalled to active duty by the U.S. Air Force during the Korean Conflict. He was re-trained as a Navigator on B 29s and flew combat missions over North Korea. For his service he was awarded the Air Medal and other decorations. After that tour Dan decided to make the Military his career. During his years of service he saw duty as a navigator on KC 97s and C 130 aircraft eventually earning his command navigator wings. He also held positions as a community relations officer at several air force bases in the US as well Wiesbaden, Germany. In 1963 Dan was assigned to the University of Connecticut ROTC as assistant professor of air science, a position he held for four years. Dan's last tour before retirement was to Vietnam where he was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross. The citation accompanying his award reads: Major Daniel J. Martin distinguished himself by extraordinary achievement while participation in aerial flight as a C-130 B Navigator near Khe Sanh, Republic of Vietnam on March 17, 1968. On that date, Major Martin's crew was directed to air-drop vitally needed supplies to the besieged United States Marine Garrison at Khe Sanh. His calmness and courage under highly adverse circumstance were responsible for the perfect delivery of the cargo and the subsequent safe recovery of the aircraft and crew. Dan was also awarded another Air Medal with 5 oak leaf clusters. Upon his retirement from the Air Force, Dan accepted a position as assistant registrar at the University of Connecticut which he held until the mid l970s. His next career move was into the real estate business in the Willimantic area where he headed the Lawrence, Martin and Park Realtors. Dan is survived by his wife of 63 years, the former Mary Cadigan, daughter Barbara and husband Tom Laflesh of Hartford, Kevin and Susan Martin of Avon, Brian and Suzanne Martin of Wilmette IL, Daniel Sean Martin and Angela Caruso of Manchester, Barry and Ann Martin of Farmington and Stephen T. Martin of San Francisco CA. Also surviving are his brother Thomas Martin and Laura Birks of Chicopee, MA. Dan leaves his seven grandchildren, seven step-grandchildren and five step-great-grandchildren and many nieces and nephews.
There will be no calling hours and burial will be at the convenience of the family. There will be a celebration of Dan's life at a future date. Memorial contributions can be made to the Friends of the South Windsor Public Library, 1550 Sullivan Avenue, South Windsor, CT 06074. Samsel & Carmon Funeral Home, South Windsor is assisting in arrangements. For online condolences please visit www.carmonfuneralhome.com.