Martin, Sammy Arthur, 1st Lt

 Photo   Service Details
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Last Rank
First Lieutenant
Last Primary AFSC/MOS
Last AFSC Group
Primary Unit
1966-1967, 390th Tactical Fighter Squadron - Wild Boars
Service Years
1965 - 1967
Officer Collar Insignia
First Lieutenant

 Personal Details 

Home State
Year of Birth
This Military Service Page was created/owned by Sgt Stephen Willcox-Deceased to remember Martin, Sammy Arthur, 1st Lt.

If you knew or served with this Airman and have additional information or photos to support this Page, please leave a message for the Page Administrator(s) HERE.
Casualty Info
Home Town
Bryan, TX
Last Address
Da Nang AB

Casualty Date
Dec 27, 1967
Hostile, Died while Missing
Air Loss, Crash - Sea
Vietnam, North (Vietnam)
Vietnam War
Location of Interment
Fort Sam Houston National Cemetery - San Antonio, Texas
Wall/Plot Coordinates
32E 078

 Military Association Memberships
Vietnam Veterans Memorial
  2012, Vietnam Veterans Memorial [Verified] - Assoc. Page

 Photo Album   (More...

 Ribbon Bar

Aviator (Basic)

 Unit Assignments/ Advancement Schools
Air Training Command3500th Pilot Training Wing (Staff)366th Tactical Fighter Wing - Gunfighters390th Tactical Fighter Squadron - Wild Boars
  1965-1966, Air Training Command
  1965-1966, 3500th Pilot Training Wing (Staff)
  1966-1967, 366th Tactical Fighter Wing - Gunfighters
  1966-1967, 390th Tactical Fighter Squadron - Wild Boars
 Combat and Non-Combat Operations
  1966-1967 Vietnam War
 My Aircraft/Missiles
F-4 Phantom  
  1966-1967, F-4 Phantom
 Additional Information
Last Known Activity
"1Lt. Sammy A. Martin was a pilot trained for the 'backseat' duties on the Phantom fighter/bomber aircraft. His job included such things as navigation, bombardier, or weapons systems operations, depending on the type of aircraft and variety of mission. Martin was assigned to the 390th Tactical Fighter Squadron at Da Nang, South Vietnam.

On December 27, 1967 Martin and his pilot were assigned an armed reconnaissance mission over North Vietnam. Armed reconnaissance, in combat terms, really meant 'look for targets and destroy them.' During the mission Martin's aircraft was struck by hostile fire in the Quang Binh Province area. Martin and his pilot were able to guide the aircraft over water to facilitate rescue when they ejected.

Both Martin and his pilot ejected safely and rescue operations proceeded normally. The pilot was recovered, but when Martin was hoisted out of the water by rescue helicopter, he slipped out of the rescue sling and dropped back into the water. Martin was lost from sight in a large wave. According to the Department of the Air Force, 'evidence of (Martin's) death due to drowning was received' on December 28, 1967. The nature of the evidence is not stated, but Martin's body was not recovered.

Sammy A Martin is listed among the missing because his remains were never found to send home to the country he served. But, for his family, the case seems clear that he died on that day...." Source:


In Memory of 1LT Sammy Arthur Martin. *** First Lieutenant Martin was a member of the 390th Tactical Fighter Squadron, Da Nang Airbase, South Vietnam. On December 27, 1967, he was the bombardier/navigator of a McDonnell Douglas Phantom II Fighter (F-4C) on an armed reconnaissance in Quang Binh Province, North Vietnam, when his aircraft was hit by enemy fire and the plane flew over water, where he could eject. His remains were not recovered. His name is inscribed on the Courts of the Missing at the Honolulu Memorial. You may be gone, no longer living on this earth; but you will live on - in the memories of your family and friends. There will always be a part of you living in those who knew you. You will live on because we remember you!

Age: 25
Date of Birth Oct 16, 1942 - Abilene, Tx.
Spouse: Susan Selby Martin and their Daughter, Deborah Martin, both from Lubbock, Tx. Parents: Father, Samuel Arthur Seth Martin of Ft.Worth, Tx and Mother, Ina Louise Steele McDowell of P, N.C.(Divorced then married Robert Lutz McDowell and they had a son, Robert Lawrence McDowell on Nov. 26, 1946 in Harris Co,Texas).

Samuel Arthur Martin
Taylor, Texas


I met Sammy in the summer of 1967 at the DOOM Club at Danang AB RVN. Sammy was a GIB on F-4s from the 366th TFW, he was everyone's friend. He was just completing one tour in Viet Nam, was promoted to Captain and to the front seat of the F-4. He had just a few months before the promotions took affect, so he extended his tour for six months to take advantage of the promotions, if my memory is correct after all these years..

On December 27, 1967 Sammy in the back seat and Major Whitey Miller in the front seat were flying a night strike over North Viet Nam.

They were hit by a SAM and flew that burning F-4 thirty miles out to the South China Sea. They both bailed out and parachuted down to the water. A Jolly Green picked Major Miller up and proceeded to pick Sammy out of the water. Just as Sammy reached the door of the chopper he fell out of the harness! The Jolly Green dove toward the water to save him, but the Sharks beat the chopper to Sammy. There was a feeding frenzy and my Brother in Arms was gone! It was a sad night at the DOOM Club as word got out that our friend Sammy, from Bryan Texas was gone!

Sammy, I miss our midnight requisitions, your Texas twang, and our nights drinking Ba Muoi Ba 33! I Salute you and I will never forget you Pardner!

George Martin


Panel 32E - Line 78


Silver Star - Awarded posthumously for actions during the Vietnam War - The President of the United States of America, authorized by Act of Congress July 9, 1918 (amended by an act of July 25, 1963), takes pride in presenting the Silver Star (Posthumously) to First Lieutenant Sammy Arthur Martin (AFSN: 0-3162589), United States Air Force, for gallantry in connection with military operations against an opposing armed force as an F-4C Pilot of the 390th Tactical Fighter Squadron, DaNang Air Base, Vietnam, in action near Ron Ferry, Republic of Vietnam, on 27 December 1967.


Distinguished Flying Cross - Awarded posthumously for actions during the Vietnam War - The President of the United States of America, authorized by Act of Congress, July 2, 1926, takes pride in presenting the Distinguished Flying Cross (Posthumously) to First Lieutenant Sammy Arthur Martin (AFSN: 0-3162589), United States Air Force, for heroism while participating in aerial flight as an F-4C Pilot in Southeast Asia on 22 December 1967.


Additional Information from

Major Command: 7th Air Force
Air Wing: 366th TFW
Squadron: 390th TFS