Tales from the Battlefield: Timothy Martin '04

By Debra Holtz

Click to see more photos.

At SMC’s memorial service for Sgt. Timothy Martin, biology professor Margaret Field called him “the son every mother wishes to have.” No one agreed more than his own mother, Lucy Martin. “I was so proud of him,” she says.

The 27-year-old soldier, who had been in Iraq for two months, was killed on Feb. 8 when his vehicle hit a roadside bomb. The day she received the news, Lucy Martin was preparing a package of pens and hard candies that her son had wanted to give to Iraqi children.

When Martin decided to join the Army a year after graduating, he assured his parents that it was “the right thing to do,” recalls Lucy Martin. “He was always very patriotic. He took seriously the freedoms we have.”

The Army was also a stepping stone to Martin’s dream of becoming an FBI agent. “The FBI really fit his personality,” his mother says. “He was one of those people who was very quiet but was always listening, always noticing things.”

During his training, Martin attended intelligence and interrogation classes and studied Arabic for eight months.

“He loved to learn,” Lucy Martin says. “He was always very happy in the classroom.”

It was Martin’s thoughtfulness that most struck Field. During a trip to New Zealand during Jan Term 2004, he carried her luggage up to her hotel room without being asked and participated enthusiastically in activities.

“He was so appreciative of every opportunity he had and he made the most of it,” Field says.

The professor kept in touch with Martin by e-mail after he was shipped overseas. She responded to his last letter the day he died. “I was absolutely heartbroken,” Field says.

At Martin’s funeral near the Central Valley farming town where he grew up, Brig. Gen. Robert Brown gave the Purple Heart and Bronze Star to Martin’s parents and spoke of his sacrifice.

“Tim was an incredibly talented young man who excelled at every challenge he ever faced,” Brown told mourners. “He could have been successful at any profession, but he was drawn to a life of service to others.”