| Southern Victory |
POD: September 10, 1862
|Appearance(s):|| American Front|
In at the Death
|Type of Appearance:||Direct POV|
|Date of Birth:||1892|
|Occupation:||Soldier, Steelworker, Housebuilder, Labor organizer|
|Parents:||Stephen Douglas Martin|
|Relatives:||Susan Blake (sister)|
|Political Party:|| Socialist Party|
|Military Branch:||United States Army|
Chester Martin (b. 1892) was an American labor organizer and soldier. He served in both the Great War and the Second Great War. In the period between the wars and after the second war, Martin became a prominent labor leader in Los Angeles, California, where he represented construction workers.
Martin grew up in Toledo, Ohio, where he worked as a steelworker prior to the Great War. Beginning the war as a corporal in a regiment assaulting the strategic town of Big Lick, he continued to serve on the Roanoke Front for two years. While there, he was promoted to the rank of Sergeant and saved President Theodore Roosevelt's life during a sudden artillery barrage. In 1916 he was wounded during a fierce Confederate counterattack. Returning to action after a brief convalescence leave in Toledo, he was reassigned to the Northern Virginia Front as a squad leader. During the assault on northern Virginia, he found himself commanding his company due to casualties among the officers, and led the unit for a month before a replacement officer arrived.
He returned to Toledo once the Confederates surrendered. Politically, he was a Democrat, as his father was, but he turned to the Socialist Party during the post-war labor strife of 1918. During the midterm election of 1926 he met his future wife, Rita Habicht, while riding on a streetcar. They had one child, Carl, in 1936.
Martin lost his steelworking job in the aftermath of the 1929 stock market crash. Despite his determined and often frantic efforts to find new employment in Toledo, he was unable to do so. A deliveryman gave him the idea of moving to California, and so he and his family moved to Los Angeles, where he became a housebuilder. He became a local union leader during the Depression after his foreman Mordecai unfairly punished his whole crew when two workers fought. He continued to unionize the housebuilders of Los Angeles even after the start of the Second Great War. However, in the interests of his country, he entered into a truce with the local house-building tycoon, Henry T. Casson, securing recognition of the L.A. union by at least one prominent capitalist.
After hearing news reports of Confederate victories in Ohio and the Mormon Uprising in Utah, Martin visited a newly opened United States Army recruiting office, and returned to the Army in February 1942. He was sent to the Virginia front with the rank of First Sergeant. While there, he was wounded at Fredericksburg by a mortar. Upon recovery, Martin served in Irving Morrell's encirclement of the Confederate Army of Kentucky in the Battle of Pittsburgh.
Martin then served in General Morrell's army as it spearheaded the invasion of the Confederacy. During the course of events, Martin was often forced to make difficult and questionable ethical choices, including the shooting of surrendered enemy troops during combat and the execution of hostages in retaliation for the murder of US soldiers by civilian "bushwhackers". He served under Captain Hubert Rhodes for most of the remainder of the war. In 1944, his platoon was commanded by Lieutenant Boris Lavochkin. Martin grew increasingly horrified by the brutality Lavochkin inflicted upon the Confederate civilian population. Lavochkin's behavior culminated with a massacre at the South Carolina town of Hardeeville. In this incident Martin simply reacted to being shot at, only afterwards taking stock what he had done. Unlike Lavochkin, Martin suffered nightmares from the massacre for weeks afterward.
Going forward, Martin did his best to rein Lavochkin in, no easy feat given that Lavochkin was Martin's superior. Nonetheless, Martin was able to keep Lavochkin from charging into Charleston, South Carolina when all US forces were ordered to remain outside the city. Martin was vindicated when the platoon witnessed the destruction of Charleston by a superbomb, and Lavochkin maintained more personal self-control for the duration of the war.
After the war was over, Martin was permitted to leave the army as he was above the age of 50. Martin, injured once in each of the Great Wars, asked for and received a discharge. He returned to California, where he almost immediately began sparring with Harry T. Casson over labor matters.