Anthony (Tony) Martinez, USAF (Ret)
USAF Colonel Anthony (Tony) Martinez, Retired, passed away of natural causes March 15, 2021 at home in Sparks, Nevada, at the age of 99. Tony was blessed to have visited or spoken with each of his children just prior to passing and was in the care of loved ones in his serene final days. Although trained as a warrior, Tony Martinez died a man of peace.
Tony was born November 11, 1921 in Pagosa Springs, Colorado, to parents Frank and Andreita Martinez. When just a boy the family moved to Reno, Nevada, where Tony attended Orvis Ring Elementary, Northside Junior High, Reno High, and the University of Nevada.
On 8 December 1941 Tony enlisted in the United States Army Air Corps. He was notified to report for duty September 1942, and retired from the United States Air Force 1 March 1974, after 32 ½ years continuous service to his country. His final active-duty command was Deputy Director of Operations, 15th Air Force at March AFB, CA.
During his military career Tony literally lived world history. Tony flew or commanded aircraft during WWII, the Berlin Airlift, the Korean War, the Cuban Missile Crisis, recon over Russia and China, and the Vietnam War. He piloted or commanded a wide variety of aircraft, most notably the U-2, as well as the B47 nuclear bomber as a Combat Crew Commander. Tony was a member of the elite "1000 hour flying club" fraternities in both the U-2 and B-47 airframes. Tony served 1970-71 as Wing Commander of the Strategic Air Command's 55th Strategic Recon Wing. Among many decorations, Tony was awarded the Legion of Merit with two Oak Leaf Clusters, Air Medal with one OLC, and Bronze Star with one OLC.
Following retirement from the military, Tony partnered in an insurance agency for ten years in Reno. Upon retiring from the insurance field, he relocated to Clio, California and served on the Board of Directors of the Plumas-Sierra Rural Electric Co-op. In 2013 he returned to the Reno Area.
Tony was an active participant in the Retired Officers Assoc., Veterans of Foreign Wars, American Legion, Anciente Order of Quiet Birdmen, Ca./Nv. Civil Air Patrol, Knights of Columbus, and the Sigma Nu Fraternity. He was a devout and lifelong Catholic. Tony Martinez loved God, his family and his country.
He is survived by his wife of 39 years, Jeannine Martinez; his children Michelle Holm, Anthony Martinez, II, Melinda Rosser, Steve Martinez, and Rene Weech; his stepchildren Laura Briggs, Kelly Colby, and Ben Briggs; sister Stella See; 15 grandchildren and 32 great grandchildren. He was preceded in death by his parents, his first wife and mother of his children, Vernelle Martinez, and sister Helen Luehmann.
Colonel Martinez' funeral Mass will be held at St. Thomas Aquinas Cathedral on April 26 at 10:00 am. Covid restrictions apply. The Church is observing social distancing. Masks are required. Seating is limited.
Tony's burial service will occur later same day at 1:00 pm at Mountain View Cemetery. An Honor Guard is to be provided by the USAF and the Knights of Columbus.
In lieu of flowers please send a donation to the Wounded Warriors
Project or the Disabled American Veterans
, two charities close to his heart.