Citation
José P. Martinez : among the valient [ version 3 ]

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Title:
José P. Martinez : among the valient [ version 3 ]
Series Title:
This week in history
Creator:
Castro, Richard T.
Place of Publication:
Denver, CO
Publisher:
Richard T. Castron
Publication Date:
Language:
English

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Auraria Library
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Auraria Library
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Copyright [name of copyright holder or Creator or Publisher as appropriate]. Permission granted to University of Colorado Denver to digitize and display this item for non-profit research and educational purposes. Any reuse of this item in excess of fair use or other copyright exemptions requires permission of the copyright holder.

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Full Text
Jose P. Martinez: Among The Valiant
by
Richard Castro
As the 6.1. Forum celebrates its 40th Anniversary this
YEAR, AND THE STATE G.I. FORUM CONVENES ITS STATE CONVENTION
on June 10th, let us not forget those who form the basis for which the Forum was ogranized. It was those veterans who
FOUGHT, DIED OR WHO WERE DISABLED GIVING THEIR LIFE TO A CAUSE, THAT WE SHOULD DEDICATE THIS CONFERENCE TODAY.
It was May 26, 1943 and much had taken place in both the Pacific and the European Theaters of war. The Marines had
CAPTURED GUADACANAL AND NOW WERE DRIVING THROUGH THE SOLOMONS
and New Guinea. The battle of North Africa had ended with
THE CAPTURE OF THE ONCE MIGHTY AFRICA CORPS.
In the Aleutians, the United States initiated a move to
DRIVE OFF THE JAPANESE THAT WERE IN ATTU AND KlSKA, AND THE ENSUING EVENTS UNCOVER ANOTHER "FIRST" FOR MEXICAN AMERICAN SOLDIERS OF W.W.II. FOR IT WAS HERE THAT PRIVATE JOSE P.
Martinez made history, graphically told by Raul Morin in his book "Among The Valiant."
It was on this date that Martinez and his platoon were
ORDERED TO ENGAGE JAPANESE TROOPS WHO WERE ENTRENCHED ON A HILL THAT WAS VITAL TO THE AMERICAN EFFORT.


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Martinez and the other members of the platoon made slow
PROGRESS UP THE HILL, MOVING CAUTIOUSLY FROM ROCK TO ROCK WHILE INTENSE MACHINE GUN, RIFLE, AND MORTAR FIRE STYMIED THEIR DRIVE,
They were pinned down and no one dared to move out into the
HAIL OF FIRE THE JAPANESE POURED DOWN. THE MEN SOUGHT
PROTECTION FROM THE EXPLODING MORTAR SHELLS THAT WERE FALLING ALL AROUND. SEEKING TO BREAK OUT OF THE DESPERATE SITUATION, THE C.O. THEN ASKED FOR A RIFLE PLATOON TO MOVE UP AT ALL COSTS.
Before the word reached the Sergeant down the line, a
LONE FIGURE ROSE FROM THE GROUND AND STARTED UP. IT WAS PVT.
Jose P. Martinez.
Having been chosen to handle the Browning Automatic Rifle
FOR THE PLATOON, MARTINEZ DECIDED TO TAKE MATTERS INTO HIS OWN HANDS. HE FELT IT WAS HIS DUTY TO DO SOMETHING ABOUT THEIR
SITUATION. IN THE FACE OF HOSTILE FIRE, HE ROSE TO HIS FEET
AND TOOK OFF ALONE. NOW AND THEN HE WOULD WAVE AN ARM TO THE OTHERS TO FOLLOW HIM. "COME ON, LET'S GO1.", HE WOULD YELL.
The pinned-down G.I.'s couldn't believe their eyes. Here was Marty, the quiet Mexican kid from Colorado, who wasn't
EVEN IN CHARGE OF THE RIFLE SQUAD, SETTING THE EXAMPLE TO
follow. Martinez climbed steadily up with the battalion
FOLLOWING HIM. INCREDIBLE, THE WHOLE BATTALION WAS MOVING
FORWARD, LED BY A PRIVATE! ON REACHIANG THE BENCH-LIKE PLATEAU, HE ENGAGED THE JAPANESE IN TWO FOXHOLES. THEIR RIFLE FIRE WAS
NO MATCH FOR MARTINEZ' BLAZING BAR. HE CLEANED OUT


3
THE TWO NESTS AND HURLED HAND GRENADES AT THE OTHER ENEMY SOLDIERS ABOVE HIM. THE JAPANESE INCREASED THEIR MACHINE GUN AND RIFLE FIRE.
He was forced to move across open ground. Now he faced
HEAVY CROSSFIRE FROM ABOVE AND FRONTAL FIRE FROM THE FOXHOLES.
He came upon two enemy trenches. Jumping in, he quickly opened up with his Browning automatic and killed five more of the
enemy. Without hesitation, the fearless 6.1. from Cololorado
THEN MOVED UP TO THE SECOND TRENCH AND ACCOUNTED FOR TWO MORE
Japanese. He reached the pass still under heavy fire from
THE SURROUNDING RIDGES. STANDING ON THE RIDGE, OVERLOOKING THE PASS LEADING INTO THE CHICHAGOF HARBOR, MARINTEZ EMPTIED HIS RIFLE INTO THE POSITIONS JUST BELOW AND BEYOND THE PASS.
The last part of his citation reads, ", . . .He was
MORTALLY WOUNDED WITH HIS RIFLE STILL AT HIS SHOULDER, ABSORBING ALL ENEMY FIRE AND PERMITTING ALL UNITS TO MOVE UP BEHIND HIM
AND SUCCESSFULLY TAKE THE PASS."
Thus, the 23 year old Martinez died a glorious death and
the Alaskan hills were covered with American blood. Many others
FOUGHT, BLED AND DIED IN THE ALEUTIAN CAMPAIGN, BUT IT WAS A PRIVATE, A FORMER FARM LABORER, JOSE MARTINEZ' HEROIC ACTION THAT ENABLED THE AMERICAN FORCES TO CLEAR THE PASS OF JAPANESE
by May 30th. He earned praise, admiration and recommendation for the Congressional medal of Honor from his


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FELLOW SOLDIERS, COMMANDING OFFICERS AND BATTALION COMMANDER.
The glory of Joe Martinez will never be forgotten because
HISTORIANS AND EDUCATORS HAVE SEEN FIT TO HAVE HIS STORY TOLD AND RETOLD IN AMERICAN COLLEGE CLASSROOMS, AND WRITTEN IN THE JUNIOR AND SENIOR HIGH SCHOOL HISTORY BOOKS ALL OVER AMERICA.
Annual scholarships bear his name and a local Chapter of the Disabled American Veterans has been named in his honor in Colorado. American Legion Posts in Denver and Los Angeles are
NAMED AFTER THIS MEXI CAN-AMERI CAN HERO. THIS SUMMER A STATUE
of Jose Martinez designed by Manuel Martinez will be erected on State land across from the State Capitol in Denver.
All were proud of Joe, but Mexican Americans were just
A LITTLE MORE PROUD OF HIM. HlS WIDELY HERALDED ACHIEVEMENT OCCURRED AT A TIME WHEN ATTITUDES TOWARD MEXICANS IN THE UNITED
States were at a low ebb because of unfortunate happenings in Los Angeles.
Hispanics in 1988 face many of the same problems that
CONFRONTED THE VETERANS WHO FORMED THE G.I. FORUM FOUR DECADES AGO.
The "English Only" initiative brings back the negative
MEMORIES OF A TIME GONE BY WHEN, HlSPANICS GOT THEIR MOUTH WASHED OUT WITH SOAP FOR SPEAKING SPANISH. THE IMMIGRATION
Reform and Control Act (IRCA) passed in 1986, has caused undue


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HARDSHIP OF MEXICAN IMMIGRANTS AND EMPLOYMENT PROBLEMS FOR
U.S. Hispanic citizens at the job site.
While we can point with pride that from 1974 with the EXTENSION OF THE VOTER RIGHTS ACT WE NOW HAVE OVER 3000 HISPANIC Elected Officials, we continue to have a school drop out rate
THAT IS A SCANDAL IN EDUCATION.
While some Hispanics are earning more now than ever before,
WE HAVE A GROWING NUMBER WHO ARE FORMING AN IMMENSE "UNDERCLASS" WHO ARE LOCKED INTO POVERTY. OUR YOUTH WHOM WE HAVE FOUGHT SO LONG FOR, NOW ARE HAVING TO CONFRONT EVEN GREATER PERSONAL PROBLEMS OF TEEN SUICIDE, TEEN PREGNANCY, GANGISM AND DISILLUSIONMENT ABOUT THE FUTURE.
While Hispanics served honorably during the Vietnam
CONFLICT WITH 8,000 OF THE 58,000 KILLED BEARING SPANISH SURNAMES, THERE ARE THOUSANDS WHO HAVE STILL NOT RECEIVED THEIR
benefits. Many suffering from the effects of Agent Orange or
DELAYED STRESS SYNDROME ARE NOT YET BEING TREATED.
Yes, these are best of times for some of us. However,
LET US NOT FORGET THAT THESE ARE THE WORST OF TIMES FOR OTHERS.
If we are ever going to gain our rightful position in U.S. Society, it is going to have to be together. As this State G.I. Forum convenes on June 10th let's pledge to keep up our
FIGHT FOR CIVIL AND HUMAN RIGHTS AND TO SEEK QUALITY EDUCATION FOR OUR CHILDREN. FOR JUST AS 40 YEARS AGO WHEN THE FORUM


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STARTED, WE NEED TO REAFFIRM THAT, "EDUCATION IS OUR FREEDOM,
and Freedom should be Everybody's Business."


Full Text

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• JOSE P. MARTINEZ: AMONG THE VALIANT BY RICHARD CASTRO As THE G. I • FoRuM cELEBRATEs ITs 40TH ANNIVERSARY THIs YEAR I AND THE STATE G I I I FORUM CONVENES ITS STATE CONVENT I ON ON JUNE 10TH, LET US NOT FORGET THOSE WHO FORM THE BAS IS FOR WHICH THE FORUM WAS OGRANIZED. IT WAS THOSE VETERANS WHO FOUGHT, DIED OR WHO WERE DISABLED GIVING THEIR LIFE TO A CAUSE, THAT WE SHOULD DEDICATE THIS CONFERENCE TODAY. IT WAS MAY 26, 1943 AND MUCH HAD TAKEN PLACE IN BOTH THE PACIFIC AND THE EUROPEAN THEATERS OF WAR. THE MARINES HAD CAPTURED GUADACANAL AND NOW WERE DRIVING THROUGH THE SOLOMONS AND NEW GUINEA. THE BATTLE OF NORTH AFRICA HAD ENDED WITH THE CAPTURE OF THE ONCE MIGHTY AFRICA CORPS. IN THE ALEUTIANS, THE UNITED STATES INITIATED A MOVE TO DRIVE OFF THE JAPANESE THAT WERE IN ATTU AND KISKA, AND THE ENSUING EVENTS UNCOVER ANOTHER "FIRST" FOR MEXICAN AMERICAN SOLDIERS OF W.W.II. FOR IT WAS HERE THAT PRIVATE JosE P. MARTINEZ MADE HISTORY, GRAPHICALLY TOLD BY RAUL MORIN IN HIS BOOK "AMONG THE VALIANT." IT WAS ON THIS DATE THAT MARTINEZ AND HIS PLATOON WERE ORDERED TO ENGAGE JAPANESE TROOPS WHO WERE ENTRENCHED ON A HILL THAT WAS VITAL TO THE AMERICAN EFFORT.

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.. . 2 MART I NEZ AND THE OTHER MEMBERS OF THE PLATOON MADE SLOW I PROGRESS UP THE HILL, MOVING CAUTIOUSLY FROM ROCK TO ROCK WHILE INTENSE MACHINE GUN, RIFLE, AND MORTAR FIRE STYMIED THEIR DRIVE, THEY WERE PINNED DOWN AND NO ONE DARED TO MOVE OUT INTO THE HAIL OF FIRE THE JAPANESE POURED DOWN, THE MEN SOUGHT PROTECTION FROM THE EXPLODING MORTAR SHELLS THAT WERE FALLING ALL AROUND, SEEKING TO BREAK OUT OF THE DESPERATE SITUATION, THE C,Q, THEN ASKED FOR A RIFLE PLATOON TO MOVE UP AT ALL COSTS. BEFORE THE WORD REACHED THE SERGEANT DOWN THE LINE, A LONE FIGURE ROSE FROM THE GROUND AND STARTED UP, IT WAS PVT, JosE P. MARTINEZ. HAVING BEEN CHOSEN TO HANDLE THE BROWNING AUTOMATIC RIFLE FOR THE PLATOON, MARTINEZ DECIDED TO TAKE MATTERS INTO HIS OWN HANDS. HE FELT IT WAS HIS DUTY TO DO SOMETHING ABOUT THEIR SITUATION. IN THE FACE OF HOSTILE FIRE, HE ROSE TO HIS FEET AND TOOK OFF ALONE, NOW AND THEN HE WOULD WAVE AN ARM TO THE OTHERS TO FOLLOW HIM, "COME ON, LET'S GO!", HE WOULD YELL. THE PltmED-DOWN G . • l.'s COULDN'T BELIEVE THEIR EYES. HERE WAS MARTY, THE QUIET MEXICAN KID FROM COLORADO, WHO WASN'T EVEN IN CHARGE OF THE RIFLE SQUAD, SETTING THE EXAMPLE TO FOLLOW. MARTINEZ CLIMBED STEADILY UP WITH THE BATTALION FOLLOWING HIM. INCREDIBLE, THE WHOLE BATTALION WAS MOVING FORWARD, LED BY A PRIVATE! ON REACHIANG THE BENCH-LIKE PLATEAU, HE ENGAGED THE JAPANESE IN TWO FOXHOLES. THEIR RIFLE FIRE WAS NO MATCH FOR MARTINEZ' BLAZING BAR. HE CLEANED OUT

PAGE 3

3 THE TWO NESTS AND HURLED HAND GRENADES AT THE OTHER ENEMY SOLDIERS ABOVE HIM. THE JAPANESE INCREASED THEIR MACHINE GUN AND RIFLE FIRE. HE WAS FORCED TO MOVE ACROSS OPEN GROUND. Now HE FACED HEAVY CROSSFIRE FROM ABOVE AND FRONTAL FIRE FROM THE FOXHOLES. HE CAME UPON TWO ENEMY TRENCHES. JUMPING IN, HE QUICKLY OPENED UP WITH HIS BROWNING AUTOMATIC AND KILLED FIVE MORE OF THE ENEMY. WITHOUT HESITATION, THE FEARLESS G.l. FROM COLOLORADO THEN MOVED UP TO THE SECOND TRENCH AND ACCOUNTED FOR TWO MORE JAPANESE, HE REACHED THE PASS STILL UNDER HEAVY FIRE FROM THE SURROUNDING RIDGES. STANDING ON THE RIDGL OVERLOOKING THE PASS LEADING INTO THE CHICHAGOF HARBOR, MARINTEZ EMPTIED HIS RIFLE INTO THE POSITIONS JUST BELOW AND BEYOND THE PASS. THE LAST PART OF HIS CITATION READS, II I HE WAS MORTALLY WOUNDED WITH HIS RIFLE STILL AT HIS SHOULDER, ABSORBING ALL ENEMY FIRE AND PERMITTING ALL UNITS TO MOVE UP BEHIND HIM AND SUCCESSFULLY TAKE THE PASS." THUS, THE 23 YEAR OLD MART I NEZ DIED A GLORIOUS DEATH AND THE ALASKAN HILLS WERE COVERED WITH AMERICAN BLOOD. MANY OTHERS FOUGHT, BLED AND DIED IN THE ALEUTIAN CAMPAIGN, BUT IT WAS A PRIVATE, A FORMER FARM LABORER, JOSE MARTINEZ' HEROIC ACTION THAT ENABLED THE AMERICAN FORCES TO CLEAR THE PASS OF JAPANESE BY MAY 30TH. HE EARNED PRAISE, ADMIRATION AND RECOMMENDATION FOR THE CONGRESSIONAL MEDAL OF HONOR FROM HIS

PAGE 4

4 FELLOW SOLDIERS, COMMANDING OFFICERS AND BATTALION COMMANDER. THE GLORY OF JOE MART I NEZ WILL NEVER BE FORGOTTEN BECAUSE HISTORIANS AND EDUCATORS HAVE SEEN FIT TO HAVE HIS STORY TOLD AND RETOLD IN AMERICAN COLLEGE CLASSROOMS, AND WRITTEN IN THE JUNIOR AND SEN I OR HIGH SCHOOL HI STORY BOOKS ALL OVER AMERICA, ANNUAL SCHOLARSHIPS BEAR HIS NAME AND A LOCAL CHAPTER OF THE DISABLED AMERICAN VETERANS HAS BEEN NAMED IN HIS HONOR IN COLORADO, AMERICAN LEG I ON POSTS IN DENVER AND LOS ANGELES ARE NAMED AFTER THIS MEXICAN-AMERICAN HERO, THIS SUMMER A STATUE OF JOSE MARTINEZ DESIGNED BY MANUEL MARTINEZ WILL BE ERECTED ON STATE LAND ACROSS FROM THE STATE CAPITOL IN DENVER. ALL WERE PROUD OF JOE, BUT MEXICAN AMERICANS WERE JUST A Ll TTL E MORE PROUD OF HIM, HIS WI DEL Y HERALDED ACHIEVEMENT OCCURRED AT A TIME WHEN ATTITUDES TOWARD MEXICANS IN THE UNITED STATES WERE AT A LOW EBB BECAUSE OF UNFORTUNATE HAPPENINGS IN LOS ANGELES. HISPANICS IN 1988 FACE MANY OF THE SAME PROBLEMS THAT CONFRONTED THE VETERANS WHO FORMED THE G, I, FORUM FOUR DECADES AGO. THE "ENGLISH ONLY" INITIATIVE BRINGS BACK THE NEGATIVE MEMORIES OF A TIME GONE BY WHEN, HISPANICS GOT THEIR MOUTH WASHED OUT WITH SOAP FOR SPEAKING SPANISH. THE IMMIGRATION REFORM AND CONTROL ACT (IRCA) PASSED IN 1986, HAS CAUSED UNDUE

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-• 5 HARDSHIP OF MEXICAN IMMIGRANTS AND EMPLOYMENT PROBLEMS FOR U.S. HISPANIC CITIZENS AT THE JOB SITE. WHILE WE CAN POINT WITH PRIDE THAT FROM 1974 WITH THE EXTENSION OF THE VOTER RIGHTS AcT WE NOW HAVE OVER 3000 HISPANIC ELECTED OFFICIALS, WE CONTINUE TO HAVE A SCHOOL DROP OUT RATE THAT IS A SCANDAL IN EDUCATION. WHILE SOME HISPANICS ARE EARNING MORE NOW THAN EVER BEFORE, WE HAVE A GROWING NUMBER WHO ARE FORMING AN IMMENSE uUNDERCLASSu WHO ARE LOCKED INTO POVERTY, OUR YOUTH WHOM WE HAVE FOUGHT SO LONG FOR, NOW ARE HAYING TO CONFRONT EVEN GREATER PERSONAL PROBLEMS OF TEEN SUICIDE, TEEN PREGNANCY, GANG ISM AND DISILLUSIONMENT ABOUT THE FUTURE. WHILE HISPANICS SERVED HONORABLY DURING THE VIETNAM CONFLICT WITH 8,000 OF THE 58,000 KILLED BEARING SPANISH SURNAMES, THERE ARE THOUSANDS WHO HAVE STILL NOT RECE I YED THEIR BENEFITS, MANY SUFFERING FROM THE EFFECTS OF AGENT ORANGE OR DELAYED STRESS SYNDROME ARE NOT YET BEING TREATED. YES I THESE ARE BEST OF TIMES FOR SOME OF us I HOWEVER I LET US NOT FORGET THAT THESE ARE THE WORST OF TIMES FOR OTHERS. IF WE ARE EYER GOING TO GAIN OUR RIGHTFUL POSITION IN U.S. SOCIETY, IT IS GOING TO HAVE TO BE TOGETHER. As THIS STATE G I I I FORUM CONVENES ON JUNE 10TH LET Is PLEDGE TO KEEP UP OUR FIGHT FOR CIVIL AND HUMAN RIGHTS AND TO SEEK QUALITY EDUCATION FOR OUR CHILDREN. FOR JUST AS 40 YEARS AGO WHEN THE FORUM

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' . ' 6 WE NEED TO REAFFIRM "EDUCATION IS OUR AND FREEDOM SHOULD BE EVERYBODY'S BUSINESS."