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10-11-18

In Memory of local Veteran & Apollo 13 Engineer Arthur Martin
- A Legacy not soon forgotten


By Tami Stevenson

Local World War II Veteran and Logistics Engineer Arthur Martin sadly passed away on September 27, 2018 at the age of 91. His legacy lives on not only in the hearts and minds of his wife of 24 years, Nancy Martin, children, and the people that knew him, but is remembered and listed two times at the American Space Museum in Titusville, Florida. His life accomplishments are what movies are made of. His stepson Mike Browning of Madison, Florida can attest to that as they would often sit and talk for hours about his missions and things he did in his lifetime. Mike was already an adult when Arthur came into their lives and was in the military as well. They developed a good rapport.


“He had a good relationship with Mike,” Nancy said. She thought he treated her two sons, Mike and Mark really well.
Arthur not only joined the Navy at the age of 16 during WWII, but his name appears in the U.S. Space Walk Of Fame Monument for his contributions as a logistics engineer that worked on the Lunar Module (LM - pronounced ‘Lem’) for Apollo 13 to help bring the astronauts home safely and appears a second time in the U.S. Space Worker Hall of Honor for nearly a decade of work and contributions on the Apollo Program at the American Space Museum.


In 1944, when Arthur was just 16, his older brothers had all joined the war. He wanted to join the Navy to fight and help support his mother, but the age limit was 17. He knew his mother would not approve. The Navy recruiter’s office wanted his mother to sign a work paper for him since he didn’t have a birth certificate (they were not mandatory back then). His mother had bad eyes and he told Nancy, that he hid his mother’s glasses and said he couldn’t find them. Imagine her surprise when she found she had been tricked into signing her 16 year old son into the Navy.


Another story Arthur shared with Mike was when he was in the Philippines on a Liberty ship called the SS Peter Lassen in northern Luzon. His older brother, Harold, was a First Lieutenant in the Army. When Arthur’s ship pulled into the Philippines, his brother, who was also in Luzon, found out and waisted no time asking for permission to come aboard and visit his brother. While onboard, he asked the captain if he could take his little brother ashore for a few days. The captain obliged. They gave him liberty and he went ashore with his brother for three or four days,


Mike said, “They got back to the jeep, Art climbed in the back and his brother climbed upfront and handed him a rifle and they took off. The terrain was mountainous and as they were going around the mountain,


his brother said, ‘Oh by the way, shoot up that mountain every now and then.’

Art asked, ‘Why do you want me to do that?’


Harold said, ‘To keep the snipers down.’”


Arthur was a seaman, first class, in the U. S. Navy, and was a member of the Naval Armed Guard. He was a gunner’s mate. A gunner’s mate, during WWII, would spend his time maintaining and operating guns on the ship. These duties included taking care of the small arms in the armories, such as pistols, rifles, shotguns, and explosives. They also maintained the electrical and mechanical systems associated with the deck mounted guns.


Arthur has three stars from the Asiatic-Pacific and two from the Philippine Liberation. He was honorably discharged in 1946.


Above Photo shows Arthur Martin’s ribbon authorizartion, his stars and bars – three stars from the Asiatic-Pacific and two from the Philippine Liberation. The card on the right is a ceremonial ‘hazing’ type ritual they hold when they cross the Equator for the first time.


He was born in Lynbrook, Long Island and had two children, Tommy and Donna, with his first wife, Rose.


According to Nancy, former Fox News host Bill O’Reilly grew up just a few blocks from the Martins.


“But Art was older than Bill so they probably weren’t friends,” said Nancy.


After the Navy, Arthur went to work for Republic Airlines for eight years and became a logistics engineer. It was then he went to work for Northrop Grumman in Bethpage on Long Island. His job was to keep up with all the Grumman aircraft parts for the U.S. Navy for the aircraft carriers as Grumman was contracted to the U.S. Government. Most of the aircraft during WWII (and afterwards) was Grumman aircraft. So, for instance, Mike said, if they needed an engine, or a spare engine, they had to notify him because he had to re-supply the fleet. He did all that before computers.


Grumman also built the Lunar Module for NASA and Arthur was on that team. During that time he still worked for Grumman, but it was at NASA in Florida. When Apollo 13 ran into trouble, Nancy said that Arthur was called in that night to help figure out how to get them back without burning up. They wanted the astronauts to re-enter in the LM, and the Grumman team said, “No, you’ll burn up.” (Just like the movie). It was not designed for re-entry. The LM is what saved the astronauts until they could fix the problem and re-enter.


Arthur has a plaque from the U.S. SpaceWalk of Fame Foundation and a special presentation from Apollo 13, signed by all three astronauts, James Lovell, Jr., John Swigert, Jr. and Fred Haise, Jr., along with a fragment of material flown on the Apollo 13 spacecraft.


“He had a lot of stories. He was a good man and was good to my mom,” said Mike. He always said the day they put a computer on his desk was the day he was going to retire, and that is exactly what happened, according to Mike. After working for Grumman for more than 30 years, he retired.


The family wanted to mention how great the Madison County Memorial Hospital and staff were to him and the family in his last days and at the end. He died from Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s Disease. Born Christmas Day, 1926 - died September 27, 2018 at the age of 91.


Arthur Martin will be buried in Tallahassee at the Veteran’s Cemetery with a military service. The family is working with them on the arrangements. A date for the service had not been set at the time this story went to press.


Apollo 13 special presentation to Arthur Martin, signed by astronauts.

A special presentation from the Apollo 13 crew thanking them for a job well done. Signed by all three astronauts, James Lovell, Jr., John Swigert, Jr. and Fred Haise, Jr., along with a fragment of material flown on the Apollo 13 spacecraft.


U. S. Space Walk of Fame presentation, Arthur Martin inscribed on Apollo Monument

A presentation from the U.S. Space Walk of Fame Foundation.
Arthur Martin’s name is inscribed on the monument for his contributions as a logistics engineer that worked on the Lunar Module (LM - pronounced ‘Lem’) for Apollo 13, to help bring the astronauts home safely. His name appears a second time in the U.S. Space Worker Hall of Honor for nearly a decade of work and contributions on the Apollo Program at the American Space Museum in Titusville, Florida.
-Photos by Tami Stevenson