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    “Bandits” honor fallen Soldier

    “Bandits” honor fallen Soldier

    Photo By Sgt. Samantha Stoffregen | Lt. Col. Nathan Springer, commander of 1st Squadron, 32nd Cavalry Regiment, and...... read more read more

    “At every crossroads in the American story, courageous individuals of all backgrounds and beliefs have answered our Nation's call to serve,” said Lt. Col. Nathan Springer, commander of 1st Squadron, 32nd Cavalry Regiment, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault). “Today, the sacrifices of our fallen heroes echo in safer towns and cities, countries and continents -- that resonate throughout a world they forever made freer. Their legacies are solemnly enshrined in the history of our eternally grateful Nation and our Army, as well as in the hearts of all who loved them.”

    In an intimate ceremony, the “Bandit” squadron honored one of their fallen and presented his family with the Ohio Medal of Distinction award on Bastogne Field May 13, 2016.

    The Martin family accepted the award on behalf of Staff Sgt. Jonathon Martin, a native of Bellevue, Ohio, who served with the squadron from 2005 until November 2007.

    “It’s a real honor to have the Martin Family here today, one of the squadron’s 17 Gold Star Families, it has been great getting to know Beckie Martin over the last few months,” said Lt. Col. Nathan Springer, commander of 1-32 CAV. “We have the privilege of recognizing Staff Sgt. Martin and his family who carry forward his memory, a Soldier and leader who laid down his life for the United States and the liberties for which we all stand.”

    The Ohio Medal of Distinction was established in 2009 to honor native Ohio service members who lost their lives since September 2001. The award features a gold star taken from the gold star service flag, which has been displayed in the homes of families of fallen Soldiers since World War I.

    “I didn’t even know the award existed,” said Beckie Martin. “Lt. Col. Springer contacted me and told me about it; it was a nice shock and surprise.”

    Springer said over the last several months, Martin has shared countless stories of her husband and the kind of man he was to the Soldiers he served with. He was a devote Catholic, a very active hunter and fisherman, and was a huge Ohio State and Cleveland Browns fan.

    “She described a man that was an amazing and caring father, a man that was deeply devoted to his country and the Soldiers that he led,” Springer said. “In November of last year we posted a tribute to Staff Sgt. Martin on our Squadron’s Facebook page commemorating his life and the eight years since his sacrifice. The response we received was overwhelming. Hundreds of men and women, both in and out of service commented on what Staff Sgt. Martin had meant to them.”

    Springer said it was very moving for him to read through the hundreds of comments.
    “It was clear to everyone that he was the leader you were happy to have on your team, that leader that has that innate ability to make everyone feel like everything is going to be ok no matter the situation,” he said.

    As the orders were read and the award presented to the Martin family, the current Soldiers of the Bandit squadron stood tall, remembering a leader that had once filled the shoes they now fill.

    “There isn’t anyone even here [in the squadron] anymore that served with John and they’re still doing this for us,” Martin said. “We’re just so grateful that they could put this on for us. It means the world to my kids to know that he’s not forgotten and they’re not forgotten.”

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    NEWS INFO

    Date Taken: 05.13.2016
    Date Posted: 05.24.2016 15:25
    Story ID: 198939
    Location: FORT CAMPBELL, KY, US 
    Hometown: BELLEVUE, OH, US
    Hometown: CLARKSVILLE, TN, US
    Hometown: HOPKINSVILLE, KY, US
    Hometown: OAK GROVE, KY, US

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