1st Lieutenant Albert C. Martin (590/HQ)
Albert C. "Bert" Martin was born in Brussels, Belgium on December 23, 1920, but lived most of his life in Minneapolis, Minnesota. He was the only child of Mac and Helen (Cobb) Martin.
Mac had a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Minnesota and was the owner of an advertising agency. He was also a co-founder of the Minnesota Better Business Bureau. Albert's mother, Helen was the daughter of Albert Cobb, a prominent Minneapolis attorney.
Helen was married to a Belgian man while working in a USO-type organization during WWI. Albert was born from that union, but the couple soon divorced and Helen returned to Minneapolis, where she met, fell in love with and married Mac. Albert prepared for Yale University by attending the Blake Country Day School in Minneapolis, graduating in 1939. He was a member of Pierson College, Dalta Kappa Epsilon fraternity, the Torch Honor Society, and Scroll and Key. During his collegiate career, "Bert" played on a number of sports teams at Yale including ice hockey, football and baseball from which he earned 10 sports letters.
He was the student body president and a member of the Field Artillery R.O.T.C. at Yale. After graduating cum laude, he entered the Fort Sill Officer's Training School as a 2nd Lieutenant in the field artillery and hoping to begin a career in commercial aviation when the war ended.
Albert Martin's military career began when he officially entered into service on April 8, 1943.
He was commissioned with the 590th Field Artillery Battalion of the 106th Infantry Division as a 1st Lieutenant.
On December 21, 1944, during operations near the village of Sart-lez-St. Vith, Belgium and under enemy fire, 1st Lt. Martin was helping to direct Artillery traffic toward the Hinderhausen Road. He was worried about the last vehicles of the Headquarters Battery because they were unaccounted for, so he stated that he would go back and see what was happening with the missing vehicles.
As a passenger in a jeep driven by a Sergeant named Kuka, he dashed up the road. Passing the last vehicle of the Headquarters Battery, his jeep had nearly reached open space immediately east of Poteau when three German infantrymen on the road opened fire. As Sergeant Kuka rammed the jeep into a sharp turn, swinging the vehicle on a dime, an enemy bullet struck Lieutenant Martin. After being hurled out of the jeep by centrifugal force, he ordered Kuka to "keep going!" The sergeant stepped on it as Martin began unleashing fire from his automatic at the enemy infantrymen. Several days later, they found the Lieutenant's body. Near it lay three dead Germans.
Some 18 months after Albert's death, his personal effects arrived at the home of his parents. The items included a ring, a cigarette lighter, a wallet and a bracelet.
Over 60 years after "Bert" was killed, members of his family decided that the bracelet should go to Vincent Vandeberg, who had adopted Martin's grave at Henri-Chapelle. Fittingly, they wish it to be with Vincent in Belgium, where Albert was born... and where he gave his life.
Vincent Vandeberg at Albert Martin's grave.
He and so many other people who adopt these fallen soldier's graves make sure that their ultimate sacrifice will never be forgotten. They will be remembered...
Pictures and information by Vincent Vandeberg.