Lieutenant George W. Martin USN is a native of Providence, Rhode Island and a 1939 graduate of Classical High School, Providence, Rhode Island. He was an excellent scholar and active in extracurricular activities. Martin entered Rhode Island State College (now the University of Rhode Island) in the fall of 1939 and enrolled in Army ROTC during his freshman and sophomore years. Martin worked in the football equipment room, served on the Beacon staff and was captain of the sailing team which finished second in the New England Regatta. In 1943, he graduated with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Business Administration.
In 1943, Lieutenant Martin attended the United States Naval Reserve Midshipman School at Notre Dame University and was commissioned as an Ensign in the US Navy Reserves. He served in the Pacific Theater during World War II. He saw combat action against the Japanese during numerous combat amphibious assaults on the islands of Eniwetok Atoll, Marshall Islands, Kwajalein & Majure Atelle, Guam, Southern Palau Islands and Iwo Jima during 1944 and 1945, as a naval gunfire officer attached to a joint assault company of a Marine regiment of the 4th Marine Division.
Lieutenant Martin was cited for outstanding heroism in action against enemy Japanese forces during the assault and capture of Iwo Jima. The gunfire teams of the battalion combat landing teams on Iwo Jima had been badly weakened by numerous casualties. Lieutenant Martin promptly reorganized these teams so that naval gunfire was able to fire upon the enemy positions which had been slowing the advance of the 4th Marine Division. Though at times under heavy enemy fire, he coordinated and planned supporting and preparatory fires in almost efficient manner. As a result of his immediate action to bring naval gunfire on the enemy, many lives were saved.
After World War II, George Martin settled in California, married, raised a family of two daughters and was a member of the management team for a stainless steel company. His company supported the local community, including providing uniforms for Little League baseball teams. Martin has and continues to support URI with financial support to the URI Foundation each year. He is a member of the URI Alumni Association, the Marine Memorial Association and the 4th Marine Division Association.
Lieutenant George W. Martin has spent his entire life serving his community and nation during peace and war. His exemplary devotion to duty, personal bravery and outstanding leadership is in the highest traditions of the military service and reflect great credit upon himself, his family and the University of Rhode Island.