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2nd Lieutenant Homer I. Martin
Homer Martin

By Krista Finstad Hanson

For the Times

According to the website, Honor States, Wisconsin had 7,905 Gold Star Army soldiers, Army Air Force pilots, U.S. Navy sailors and Marines who gave their lives in World War II. Of that number, 50 were Pearl Harbor Casualties and 90 were D-Day casualties. Some of these heroes were killed in action (KIA) while others had a death status as Died Non-Battle (DNB). These heroes died while in service to their country but not in combat action.

Lafayette County pilot, Homer Irving Martin was born on July 22, 1922 in Woodford in Lafayette County, Wisconsin to Warren and Sarah Emmaline (Curry) Martin. 

The family lived in Wiota Township in Lafayette County from the 1920-1940 U.S. census records. The large family included father Warren, mother Sarah (or Emmaline), and children Milfred, Shirley, Fay, Randall, Linwood, Homer, Lucile, Lois, Marjorie, Mary, and Jacqueline. Father Warren was a Retail Merchant of a general store.  

Homer Martin was a 1940 graduate from Monroe High School in Monroe in Green County.

On June 30, 1942. Homer Irving Martin registered for the WWII Draft. Martin was living in Monroe and was working at the Triangle Cheese Company in Monroe. 

On Nov. 25, 1942, Homer I. Martin enlisted for service in WWII at Milwaukee, Wisconsin. He was single, without dependents. He was employed as a shipping and receiving clerk. He enlisted as a private in the army Air Corps Reserves.

The June 28, 1944 The Enid Morning News (Oklahoma) article titled “Lahoma Girl is Married Monday to Lieutenant,” gave the details of the marriage of Lieutenant Homer Martin to Betty Jean Dresser at Enid, Oklahoma on June 26, 1944. They were going to be living in Altus on or near the Altus Army Air Field in Oklahoma where Lt. Martin was stationed.

On Nov. 13, 1944, 2nd Lieutenant Homer I. Martin died in an airplane crash in rural Natrona County about 3 miles west of runway #30 at the AAF in Casper, Wyoming. His death was due to an accident, and he suffered skull fractures. 

The Nov. 17, 1944 Wisconsin State Journal article titled “Lieut. Martin Rites,” had details of the funeral services at the Methodist church in Woodford. The notice stated, “He was the son of Mr. and Mrs. W. D. Martin, Woodford. His wife, the former Betty Jean Dresser, has arrived in Woodford from Oklahoma for the funeral on her first trip to the Lafayette county village.

Born in Woodford, Lieut. Martin attended grade school there and, after graduating from Monroe high school in 1940, was employed by a Monroe cheese company until he enlisted in the army Nov. 25, 1942. Recently he was transferred to Great Falls, Mont.

Lieut. Martin is survived by his wife; his parents; four brothers, Milford, Wiota; Randall, Woodford; Harold, Cleveland, O.; and Lenwood, Monroe, and seven sisters, Mrs. Earl Ellingson and Mrs. Hubert Rockow, Browntown; Mrs. Donald Mart and Mrs. Wesley Svendson, Woodford, and Marjorie, Mary, and Josephine, all at home” 

From the Nov. 13, 1944 Monroe Evening Times, more information was provided that “Lieutenant Martin had been transferred two months ago from Altus, Okla., where he was instructor on the AT-17, a small plane to Great Falls, Mont., for transport flight training. He had qualified as co-pilot of a transport and was in further training to be a transport pilot…

Lieutenant Martin was trained at Gibbs Field, Texas, Enid and Altus, Okla., receiving his commission and pilot’s wings last March 12. He returned to Oklahoma after a leave at home, and remained at Altus as instructor until his transfer to Great Falls…”

2nd Lieutenant Martin was buried at Woodlawn Cemetery in Argyle in Lafayette County. Martin is listed on the National WWII Memorial Registry for Lafayette County, Wisconsin. His death status was DNB — died non-battle.

Homer Martin’s wife Betty Jean gave birth to a son Thomas Irving Martin in 1945 on an unspecified date. This child also died in 1945 and is buried at Woodlawn Cemetery in Argyle.

Thank you, 2nd Lieutenant Homer Irving Martin, for your service to and ultimate sacrifice for this country. We honor you and remember you.

Stories Behind The Stars

A series that honors more than 421,000 Americans that lost their lives in World War II. 

Fallen soldiers from Lafayette County are currently being highlighted in the Monroe Times. For Green County, see the archives at

To learn more about the project, visit