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David O'B. Martin, former U.S. House member from New York, dies at 68

Washington Post http://tinyurl.com/a9bf5qh

Published: November 21

 

David OíB. Martin, who served six terms in the U.S. House of Representatives and was a force in persuading the Army to enlarge Fort Drum in his economically distressed northern New York district, died of cancer Nov. 20 at his home in Hedgesville, W.Va. He was 68.

A son-in-law, Bill Duskas, confirmed the death.

Mr. Martin, a Republican, was a Marine Corps veteran of the Vietnam War and served in the New York state assembly before winning election to the U.S. House in 1980. On Capitol Hill, he served on the House Armed Services Committee and the Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence and became a leading advocate of military spending.

In the mid-1980s, Mr. Martin was credited for helping persuade the Army to station the reactivated 10th Mountain Division at Fort Drum near Watertown, N.Y. This brought tens of thousands of servicemen and their families to the region and launched a $1.3 billion construction project at the base.

Mr. Martin was a key player in the successful effort to save the Marine Corps V-22 Osprey tilt-rotor aircraft and the Navy F-14 fighter from the budget ax of then-Defense Secretary Richard Cheney.

Mr. Martin had strong constituent support in a solidly Republican district but did not run for reelection in 1992.

"Living a couple of hundred days a year out of a suitcase is not something you want to do," Mr. Martin told the New York Times. "You have to work with the zeal of a crusader, which I think Iíve done. The only promise I made my constituents is to work 60 seconds every minute, which I think Iíve done."

After a year teaching at the Naval War College in Newport, R.I., Mr. Martin became vice president for state and local affairs for the National Soft Drink Association and was president of the trade groupís subsidiary InterBev Ltd.

In 2000, he started a Washington-based lobbying shop now called Martin, Fisher, Thompson and Associates. He was president at the time of his death.

David O'Brien Martin was born in St. Lawrence County, N.Y., on April 26, 1944. His father was a county sheriff.

Martin was a 1966 graduate of the University of Notre Dame in Indiana and received a law degree in 1973 from Albany Law School in New York. He served in the Marine Corps as a flight officer from 1966 to 1970.

His first marriage, to DeeAnn Hedlund, ended in divorce. In 1993, he married Dana McGee.

Besides his wife, of Hedgesville, survivors include three daughters from his first marriage, Victoria Duskas of Morristown, N.Y., Kelly Bridges of Chadds Ford, Pa., and Julia Bassett of Easton, Conn.; and two grandchildren.

Burial at Arlington National Cemetery, January 4, 2013

Hays Parks wrote:

"...the ceremony/service went well. B Co 1-67 was well represented. (by Hays, Hon Lee, Larry Gerlach, Bernie Halloran, Bill Hatch, Larry Karch, Mike Wholley and Ken Burns.  Andy Vaart intended to be there but was called away on a family emergency.)

As always, our Marines were resplendent. The ceremony included a low pass by two V22 Ospreys as Mike Wholley was unable to finagle a F4.

May Dave rest in peace."

Chu Lai, RVN, June 1969

Dave Martin, Chu Lai Officers' Club, RVN, June 1969

Bob writes:

"We were in NROTC at Notre Dame and went through the same RIO training at Pensacola and Glynco.  I was in VMFA-314 in Chu Lai and Dave was in VMFA-323.  We became better acquainted at Chu Lai, where he later was the "O" club officer and after TBS classmate Dick Morin was lost in a bad F-4 incident.

While he was in Congress, I got two tours of the Capitol from him - really great, especially getting to the very top of the dome lookout.  But the best story was when he came through Honolulu, returning from the Far East on a junket with a gaggle of other Armed Services Committee congressmen.  At the time I was working at the Hawaii Lieutenant Governor's office, maybe October 1984.  He broke away from the suite where they were all watching football - being served drinks by Navy officers in their whites - and asked me to take a walk down by Ft. DeRussy.  At that time, it had been neglected and was then controversial because some developers wanted the feds to give it up.  He asked me, "What do you think we should do?"  and I replied "Just keep it the way it is".  Dave said, "You got it, Bob."  And DeRussy is the same right now.  If there was a cause and effect, I'll never know.  But that is exactly what happened!"

Dave also claimed some credit as part of the Armed Service Committee for getting the "Three Soldiers" statue commissioned, built and placed near the Vietnam Memorial Wall."

Andy wrote:

"...(we) will remember his role as a member of Congress in support of Larry Gerlach following the congressional findings concerning the attack on Larry's 2/8 in Beirut. We will miss him."

John H. wrote:

"I'll never forget an incident that took place while we were at OCS (NROTC summer training, Quantico). The entire company was formed up early one morning on the hardstand between the barracks and the river waiting for something to happen. Sgt Paweeta (Sp?) apparently had a terrible hangover and yelled down from the second deck window to the formation for someone to get him some Listerine. There was silence for a little while, then Dave responded in a very loud stage whisper - "Try bore cleaner." I don't remember that we got in any specific trouble for that but I'm pretty sure we stood there for a while."

January 15, 2013