Lubbock World War II Veteran, 90, Shares His Stories

Local News
(KLBK) Claude B. Martin Jr., 90, was born and raised in the Hub City during the Great Depression. In 1943, Martin joined the Navy Seabees after finishing his first semester of Texas Tech University.

Martin said he decided to join after running into a friend on their way to enlist in the military.

“I thought it would be pretty nice to go in with somebody I knew,” Martin said. “So I just made a U-turn right there on Broadway and Avenue Q and followed him down to the Owens building, and about 15 minutes later I was in the Navy Seabees.”

A few days later, Martin was heading to war.

“We weren’t scared,” Martin said. “Everybody knew that we had to win that war or it was going to be really tough. We didn’t think about dying. There wasn’t anything that was going to bother us.”

In March of 1944, Martin was on a ship en route to Guam. Once he arrived in Guam, he became apart of the 56th Seabee Battalion, a construction battalion in charge of paving highways and airstrips in Guam. Martin’s job focused mainly on constructing power plants and radio stations.

During the three years that he was abroad, Martin said he recalls witnessing the violence and brutality of the war.

“When we were there during the liberation of Guam, we saw all the battles that were going on and it wasn’t fun,” Martin said. “We didn’t know what was going to happen, but we all lived through it. Our bunch all lived through it.”

Martin returned to Lubbock in December of 1945, where he married and had two daughters, Jan and Jody.

He is retired from the family construction business, and spends his days painting, travelling, and sharing his stories.

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