WINDOW ROCK, Ariz. - State and tribal officials last Wednesday conveyed condolences to the family of the fourth Navajo Code Talker to pass away within five weeks.
Matthew Martin, of Crownpoint, N.M., who suffered a lengthy illness, died June 22 at his home, according to his daughter Patricia Begay. He was 84.
"As we approach the 233rd anniversary of Independence Day, Navajos' thoughts turn to the service performed by our warriors and veterans, and our honored Navajo Code Talkers are foremost in our thoughts and prayers," President Joe Shirley Jr. said. "On behalf of the Navajo Nation, I offer our deepest condolences to the family of the late Matthew Martin, another of our distinguished Code Talkers, and we thank him and them for the service he rendered to the Navajo Nation and United States during World War II."
Navajo Council Speaker Lawrence T. Morgan commented, "We are truly fortunate to have had such noble men - gentleman - who played significant roles in American history, as well as our own Navajo history. The Navajo Nation is honored to have such influence in American history; this year's Independence Day will be even more special as we remember our fallen soldiers and all who have contributed to preserving our independence."
Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick stated, "We are reminded once more of the distinguished and proud service of the Navajo Code Talkers. Their instrumental role in helping the U.S. secure a great victory for freedom and democracy will never be forgotten. Mr. Martin's duty to country as a distinguished representative of the Diné people should be honored. Our hearts and prayers go out to him and his family. In honor of Mr. Martin and all those who fought at his side, I will continue my work to help Veterans across Navajo Nation and in tribal areas nationwide."
Martin was born on May 3, 1925 at Star Lake, N.M. He enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps at Santa Fe, N.M. on Oct. 12, 1943, was qualified as a marksman and a code talker, and attained the rank of corporal.
He saw combat at Iwo Jima and the Volcano Islands from Feb. 19 to March 16, 1945 and during the occupation of Japan from Sept. 23, 1945, to April 20, 1946.
He was honorably discharged from the First Separation Company MGB, USMC on May 13, 1946, received the good conduct medal and the Navajo Code Talker Congressional Silver Medal in 2001, and his service and outstanding contributions were recognized by Arizona Governor Jane Hull on May 9, 2002, and by the 45th Arizona State Legislature on May 13, 2002.
After his military service, Martin worked for the BNSF Railway, retiring in 1988. Since his retirement, he worked at home in Crownpoint, N.M., raising livestock and farming.
Martin is survived by wife Linda E. Martin, his children, Patricia Begay of Crownpoint, Pearl Nez of Standing Rock, N.M., Lucinda Rosenbauer of Deming, N.M., Perlinda Begay of Crownpoint, son Jasper Martin of Mesa, Ariz., Bernadette Martin of Crownpoint, Matthew Martin, Jr., of Arlington, Va., Merlinda Martin of Becenti, N.M., Brenda Martin of Crownpoint, Sgt. Lamar Martin, who is serving with the National Guard and is stationed in Georgia, Patrick Martin of Crownpoint, Sharlinda Martin of Standing Rock, and his siblings Paul Martin, Billy Martin, Leo Martin, and Alice Platero, all of Crownpoint, and Bernice Etcitty of Standing Rock.
Martin was preceded in death by his parents, Christine Tso and Edgar Martin, his siblings Mary Biggs, Tom Martin Sr., and Willie Martin, and his sons Delbert Martin, Mar Martin and Eugene Martin.
Martin's funeral service is scheduled for 10 a.m. Saturday, June 27, at the Gospel Lighthouse Assembly of God Church, 100 Crownpoint Dr. in Crownpoint, N.M.