and organization: Private,
U.S. Army, Company K, 32d Infantry, 7th Infantry Division.
and date: On
Attu, Aleutians, 26 May 1943.
27 October 1943.
For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity above and beyond the call
of duty in action with the enemy. Over a period of several days,
repeated efforts to drive the enemy from a key defensive position
high in the snow-covered precipitous mountains between East Arm
Holtz Bay and Chichagof Harbor had failed. On 26 May 1943, troop
dispositions were readjusted and a trial coordinated attack on this
position by a reinforced battalion was launched. Initially successful,
the attack hesitated.In the face of severe hostile machinegun,
rifle, and mortar fire, Pvt. Martinez, an automatic rifleman, rose
to his feet and resumed his advance. Occasionally he stopped to
urge his comrades on. His example inspired others to follow. After
a most difficult climb, Pvt. Martinez eliminated resistance from
part of the enemy position by BAR fire and hand grenades, thus assisting
the advance of other attacking elements. This success only partially
completed the action. The main Holtz-Chichagof Pass rose about 150
feet higher, flanked by steep rocky ridges and reached by a snow-filled
defile. Passage was barred by enemy fire from either flank and from
tiers of snow trenches in front. Despite these obstacles, and knowing
of their existence, Pvt. Martinez again led the troops on and up,
personally silencing several trenches with BAR fire and ultimately
reaching the pass itself. Here, just below the knifelike rim of
the pass, Pvt. Martinez encountered a final enemy-occupied trench
and as he was engaged in firing into it he was mortally wounded.
The pass, however, was taken, and its capture was an important preliminary
to the end of organized hostile resistance on the island.