Please click HERE to learn more about the 1LT Tom Martin Memorial Foundation, established in 2010 to expand Tom’s family’s efforts to keep his memory alive by changing the lives of other young leaders in the community.

1LT Tom Martin Memorial Foundation




Tom Martin


First Lieutenant Thomas Martin died during combat operations October 14, 2007, while serving his country in Iraq.

Tom was born October 10, 1980, in Huron, South Dakota. He left South Dakota as a very young boy, went to school for a short time in San Marcos, Texas, and then graduated from high school in Cabot, Arkansas in 1998. That same year he enlisted in the United States Army completing Basic Training and AIT as a Field Artilleryman at Fort Sill, Oklahoma. In 2000, after an assignment to Camp Stanley in Korea, Tom was accepted for admission to the United States Military Academy. After attending the United States Military Preparatory School, Tom entered West Point in the fall of 2001. As a West Point Cadet, Tom started on the Rugby team, was a member of the Military Tactics Team, and earned his Parachutist Badge by graduating from Airborne School at Fort Benning, Georgia.  Tom majored in Military Science and graduated with his class in May 2005. He was commissioned as an Armor Officer and completed the Armor Officer Basic Course at Fort Knox, Kentucky.

Tom volunteered for Ranger School and graduated earning his Ranger tab in May 2006. He reported to the 1st Squadron, 40th Cavalry Regiment at Fort Richardson, Alaska in June 2006. Upon arrival, Tom was assigned as the Sniper Platoon Leader in Crusader Troop and deployed with the unit in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom in October 2006.

1LT Martin was awarded the Bronze Star Medal with Oak Leaf Cluster and the Purple Heart Medal posthumously. His previous awards include the Bronze Star Medal, the Army Commendation Medal, the Army Achievement Medal, the Army Good Conduct Medal, the National Defense Service Medal, the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, the Korean Defense Service Medal, the Army Overseas Ribbon w/numeral 2, the Army Service Ribbon, the Combat Action Badge, the Parachutist Badge, and the Ranger Tab.

As a youth, Tom was active in his church, community, 4-H, high school band, theater, the Boy Scouts of America, and attained the rank of Eagle Scout.

First Lieutenant Martin was interred in West Point National Cemetery, West Point, New York.


Tom was preceded in death by grandmother, Ruth E. Cain of Sioux Falls, SD and grandfather, Edmund T. Martin of Huron, SD. He is survived by his parents, Edmund and Candis Martin of San Antonio, TX; sisters, Sarah (husband Jeff) Hood and Becky Martin, all of Fayetteville, AR; and Laura Martin of San Antonio, TX; his fianc?e, 1LT Erika Noyes, and grandmother, E. Jean Martin, of Huron, SD. 

He will forever be remembered as a man with undaunted determination who was fiercely dedicated to his men, his mission, and his country.

Tom Martin will never be forgotten.

14 October 2007 changed all of us. Forever. But we’ve kept spreading the word of Tom’s life and dreams and character. There are stories and photos of him circling the world – in the hands of those who knew him and even some who did not. But Tom’s family and friends believe that it’s never going to be too late to learn from Tom’s story.


A few ways to learn more about Tom and his legacy:

  • In 2010, Tom’s family established The 1LT Tom Martin Memorial Foundation to expand their efforts to keep his memory alive and change the lives of other young leaders like Tom. Please visit the website, HERE.
  • Tom kept a blog of his experiences while at West Point and the years and memories since then, including Ranger School and a deployment to Iraq. Tom’s original blog is still live at
  • In the winter of 2009, Tom’s family discovered a way to capture his journals in a physical, tangible way – through His entire online journal was pulled together in a beautiful book titled Green to Grey to Gold: this be me and is available in the bookstore at
  • In September 2009, The Lost Heroes Art Quilt was dedicated at the 4th Annual Time of Remembrance in Washington. It now tours the country. Each state in the US is depicted within the squares of the quilt and is represented by a soldier — and Tom represents South Dakota. Read more about the quilt HERE and HERE.
  • Early in 2010, a reporter from Maxim embedded with Erika’s unit deployed in Afghanistan. His goal was to give a voice to Army Air Medics and Erika was able to share the story of October 14, 2007. Their story. Read more of the story HERE. And read the full Maxim article HERE.
  •  In September 2010, Mom was able to help spread awareness of Gold Star Mother’s Day via Survivor Outreach Services. Read the full article HERE
  • Google “1LT Tom Martin” – you will find site after site of memorials, messages and stories – some from people who have merely stumbled across Tom’s site while searching for things like Army Rugby, Ranger School and West Point.
  • I’ve written memories of Tom several times within this blog. Entries about Tom are HERE.
  • My personal album of favorite photos of Tom is HERE.





  • Contributions may be forwarded to the 1LT Tom Martin Memorial Foundation, P.O. Box 9235, Fayetteville, AR 72703-0021. 
  • Contributions may also be forwarded to the Returning Heroes Home, 1162 East Sonterra Boulevard, #210, San Antonio, TX 78258.



 When you remember me, it means that you have carried something of who I am with you, that I have left some mark of who I am on who you are. It means that you can summon me back to your mind even though countless years and miles may stand between us. It means that if we meet again, you will know me. It means that even after I die, you can still see my face and hear my voice and speak to me in your heart. For as long as you remember me, I am never entirely lost. — Frederick Buechner  


Tom Sarah Xmas 83 Tom Sarah WP Grad



If you have a memorial or a story to share, please leave a comment here. Every memory and every story shared makes Tom’s smile last longer. 

9 thoughts on “My brother, Tom

  1. If I listen carefully, I can still hear that voice behind the smile. Something I never want to forget.

  2. His smile was wonderful…truthful, meaningful, sincere, beautiful… Altho I never tire of looking at pictures of him, I don’t need them to remember that face & that smile. Love you, Tom. Miss you.

  3. Sarah,

    God Bless your brother and your family. He did not die in vain.

  4. I love that I get to read your updates.
    I think he had the biggest heart of anyone I’ve known. So thoughtful and kind with a precious gift for goofiness and aggravation. Just a big adventurous boy! Fall always brings back sweet memories. He just felt like someone I’d known forever and would always know. Like part of my family. I’m so glad you and I have stayed in touch.

  5. My three favorite Tom memories have to be:
    * the time he got left at that mall on the church youth trip–still makes me crack up just thinking about it!
    * when he was going to be the stunt double during “Beauty School Dropout” during Grease and repelled down from the catwalk–I thought Mrs. B was going to have a heart attack!
    * when he and I were the only people who showed up to “chalk” the school homecoming week of our senior year. we had so much fun running around writing “seniors ’98” on everything all while trying not to get caught!

  6. Way to go Sarah…your tribute is great.

  7. This tribute to Tom reminds me that freedom is not free. Tom’s sacrafice has enabled us, despite the miles, to become closer as a family and more grateful as a nation. I know that I am very grateful to have my son with me and very proud of our family. I didn’t have any military ties growing up. Now I have a new appreciation for what the military does to support our nation and not a day goes by when I don’t look at Tom’s photo in our kitchen to remind me of that. Love, Aunt Diana, Uncle Dan and Alex

  8. I wish I could have met Tom, but I will always be grateful to him and other brave men like him for every breath of freedom I enjoy. Thank you and I salute you

  9. I was a soldier that served with 1LT Martin In 1/40th Cav C-Trp and I can tell you that he is one man that has made a major impact on my life. There isnt a day that goes by that I dont think about him. Very good leader and brother at arms. I have his picture right up on my cork board at home when we were given at the Memorial in Iraq. And every day I thank god for letting me serve with this man and I feel that god sent him for me to see what life is about and that there are people in life that do make a diffrence. To you Sir, Thanks for being there for me and know we again one fine day will meet and talk about your great accomplishments. GOD BLESS

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