| 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)|
|Affiliations:|| 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 California, where he represented construction workers.
Martin grew up in Toledo, Ohio. Prior to the Great War, he worked as a steelworker in Toledo. Beginning the war as a corporal in a regiment assaulting the strategic town of Big Lick, he continued to serve on the Roanoke Front. While on the front lines, he was promoted to the rank of Sergeant and saved President Theodore Roosevelt's life during a sudden artillery barrage. After some two years on the Roanoke Front, he was wounded in 1916 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 company commander due to casualties, and led his company 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 Socialism during the post-war labor strife of 1918. During the midterm election of 1926 he met his future wife, Rita, while riding on a streetcar. They had one child, Carl.
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 growing disgusted with unfair treatment at his job. 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 visiting a newly opened United States Army recruiting office, he returned to the Army in February 1942 and 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 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 Lt. Boris Lavochkin. Martin grew increasingly horrified by the brutallity Lavochkin inflicted upon the Confederate civilian population. Lavochkin's behavior culminated with a massacre at the South Carolina town of Hardeeville. Martin participated in this incident.
Going forward, Martin did his best to rein Lavochkin in, no easy feat given Lavochkin was Martin's superior. Nonetheless, Martin was able to keep Lavochkin from charging into Charleston, South Carolina. After holding Lavochkin back, the platoon witnessed the destruction of Charleston by a superbomb. Martin was vindicated, 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 sparing with Harry T. Casson.