The Marine Corps Medal of Honor Recipients

Featuring Marine Medal of Honor Recipients From WWII-Korea-Viet Nam And Iraqi Freedom

Private First Class

United States Marine Corps

Gary Martini




 For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty while serving as a Rifleman, Company F, Second Battalion, First Marines, First Marine Division in the Republic of Vietnam. On 21 April 1967, during Operation UNION, elements of Company F, conducting offensive operations at Binh Son, encountered a firmly entrenched enemy force and immediately deployed to engage them. The Marines in Private Martini's platoon assaulted across an open  rice paddy to within twenty meters of the enemy trench line where they were suddenly struck by hand grenades, intense small arms, automatic weapons, and mortar fire. The enemy onslaught killed 14 and wounded 18 Marines, pinning the remainder of the platoon down behind a low paddy dike. In the face of imminent danger, Private Martini immediately crawled over the dike to a forward open area within 15 meters of the enemy position where, continuously exposed to the hostile fire, he hurled handgrenades, killing several of the enemy. Crawling back through the intense fire, he rejoined his platoon which had moved to the relative safety of a trench line. From this position he observed several of his wounded comrades lying helpless in the fire swept paddy. Although he knew that one man had been killed, attempting to assist the wounded, Private Martini raced through the open area and dragged a comrade back to the friendly position. In spite of a serious wound received during this first daring  rescue, he again braved the unrelenting fury of the enemy fire to aid another companion lying wounded only twenty meters in front of the enemy trench line. As he reached the fallen Marine, he received a mortal wound, but disregarding his own condition, he began to drag the Marine toward his platoon's position. Observing men from his unit attempting to leave the security of their position to aid him, concerned only for their safety, he called to them to remain under cover and through a final supreme effort, moved his injured comrade to where he could be pulled to safety, before he fell, succumbing to his wounds. Stouthearted and indomitable, Private Martini unhesitatingly yielded his own life to save two of his comrades and insure the safety of the remainder of his platoon. His outstanding courage, valiant fighting spirit and selfless devotion to duty reflected the highest credit upon himself, the Marine Corps, and the United States Naval Service. He gallantly gave his life for his country.

President of the United States

Gary Wayne Martini, who was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor for heroism during April 1967 in Vietnam, was born 21 September 1948, in Lexington, Virginia. His early education was completed in Frankford, West Virginia, where he participated in intramural sports. After moving with his parents to Charleston, West Virginia, he attended Stonewall Jackson High School through the 11th grade. His family then moved temporarily to Portland, Oregon, and Gary attended David Douglas High School until February 1966.

On 3 March 1966, he enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps at Portland, and was ordered to the Marine Corps Recruit Depot, San Diego, California. He received recruit training with the 3d Recruit Training Battalion, and upon graduation in May, was transferred to Marine Corps Base, Camp Pendleton, California, where he underwent individual combat training with the 1st Battalion, 2d Infantry Training Regiment.

He attended the Battalion Infantry Training School at Marine Corps Base, Camp Pendleton, for one month prior to being transferred to Marine Corps Base, Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, in July 1966. After his arrival at Camp Lejeune, he was assigned duty as a rifleman with Company F, 2d Battalion, 8th Marines, 2d Marine Division. While serving in this capacity, he was promoted to private first class during September 1966.

Transferred to the Far East in the Republic of Vietnam that December, PFC Martini joined Company F, 2d Battalion, 1st Marines, 1st Marine Division. During Operation Union at Binh Son, Da Nang, on 21 April 1967, he was mortally wounded when he went to the aid of his wounded comrades.

His medals and decorations include: the Medal of Honor, the Purple Heart, the National Defense Service Medal, the Vietnam Service Medal with one bronze star, and the Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal.

Return to Main Page