Carson Raymond Martin was born to Martha Frances and Charles Martin on September 3, 1909 in Baltimore, Maryland, the older of two sons. When his father Charles died in the Great Flu Epidemic in 1919, Carson and his brother Harry moved with their mother to her hometown of Bedford, Virginia.
He enlisted for four years on November 26, 1927. He served on the destroyer U.S.S. Breckinridge (DD-148) after it was recommissioned in May of 1930. The Breckinridge served with the Scouting Force, United States Fleet along the East Coast.
On February 12, 1932, Carson requested a transfer to Submarine School, and subsequently served on the submarine U.S.S. S-24 (SS-129) at Pearl Harbor as Motor Machinist’s Mate First Class until April 2, 1937, when he transferred to the submarine U.S.S. R-14 (SS-91) at New London, Connecticut. He was on the U.S.S. Grunion at commissioning on April 11, 1942 as Chief Motor Machinist’s Mate.
Carson’s daughter Meryl Kretchmann said, “Our family lived mostly near the submarine base in Groton, Connecticut. My mother and father had dreams of purchasing their own home when the war was over. When the Grunion left Groton, Connecticut for its first war patrol, my mother, brother and I moved in with my grandmother in New York City.”
The September 29, 1942 telegram was sent to their former address in Groton because the Navy did not have record of their new address. It was in early 1943 that the American Red Cross was able to locate Mrs. Martin in New York City. She heard the news over the radio in November 1942. In a letter to Catherine Abele, she said, “I could hardly believe my ears. Ever since then I have been thinking one thing and then another. I have two children, one six the other ten. They keep asking for him all the time. I’m living with my mother for the duration. I’m so happy to hear you are well. I was afraid for your health as well as my own. I sympathize with the rest of the wives, for it is far from easy. I was working for awhile to ease my mind, but it is really hard when you have children. The Red Cross came to see me several times, but each time they knew nothing. I haven’t received my allotment. I’m wondering if you got yours. One day I feel as though they are living and the next day not. It will be just a matter of weeks before we find out and I hope it is good news. Here’s hoping for the best. As ever, Mrs. Carson Martin.”
Meryl says, “I don’t have many pictures of him because my mother told me he had the family album on the Grunion. On my sixth birthday in June of 1942 my dad wrote my mother to say he bought a purse for me in Hawaii. That went with him too. He loved his country and he loved his family. Mother always thought he would come back. She never remarried.”
Chief Motor Machinist’s Mate Martin is listed on the Tablets of the Missing at the Honolulu Memorial in Honolulu,Hawaii.
We honor you, Carson Martin.