Military Order of the Purple Heart

Texas Capital Chapter 1919 Austin, Texas

 

MARTIN L. ALLDAY

1926 - 2008


96th INFANTRY DIVISION

"Deadeyes"

SHOULDER PATCH

382nd INFANTRY

REGIMENTAL CREST


MARTIN L. ALLDAY

Patriot, Chapter 1919

(Army, WWII, Pacific) Article January 2005

 

Martin L. Allday was born in El Dorado, Arkansas in 1926.  When he was three years old his family moved to Waco, Texas, and after five years there moved again to Austin. His father died there in 1935 and his mother then started work as a state employee, in a job arranged by Governor Allred (who had once been given work by Martin’s father).  Martin attended public schools in Austin from age nine through his junior year of High School.  His mother then sent him to Schreiner Institute in Kerrville where he graduated from High School in 1943 and then completed his first year of college in the Spring of 1944.  Shortly afterward he received his draft call and on Aug 31, 1944 he reported for induction into the Army at Fort Sam Houston in San Antonio, Texas.

 

He immediately went into Basic Training at Camp Hood, Texas.  The standard 17 week course had been cut down to 15 weeks in order to speed fillers, especially infantrymen, to replace the losses in France after the D-Day Invasion.  So, Martin originally had orders for Europe, but before he had completed Basic at the end of December those orders were cancelled and he was sent to the Pacific instead.  After staging at Fort Lewis, Washington he, sailed from the U.S. on February 12, 1945 and arrived in Hawaii on February 19th.  He went through a quick two-weeks jungle training course on Oahu and, without so much as a pass or any time off, was shipped out again before the end of February, this time for Saipan.  After a further two-weeks of training on Saipan, Martin was put on a ship with orders for Okinawa.  A convoy started to assemble at Eniwetok and Martin remembers his ship being at anchor there when the news came about President Roosevelt’s death.  His ship then staged to Ulithi, remained at anchorage there for a number of days as more vessels assembled, and then they all steamed in convoy to Okinawa, zigzagging all the way.

 

Meanwhile, on Easter Sunday, April 1, 1945, a landing force of 60,000 U.S. troops had gone ashore on Okinawa at the beginning of the campaign that would continue through June 22nd.  Eventually, the U.S. committed 180,000 combat troops and 368,000 support troops against approximately 130,000 Japanese troops on the island.

 

On May 1st, PFC Martin L. Allday arrived off Okinawa, climbed over the side and down the net into a landing craft and was put ashore.  On the beach, he says, “The first thing we were told was to throw our gas masks away, and so we did.  All of us had been issued our gas masks upon  induction at Fort Sam Houston, and we had carried them all through training and everywhere else.  Also, because I wore glasses, my mask had been specially fitted with glasses, but it went onto the pile with all the rest.  Everybody unloaded as much as they could in order to get as light as possible.  From that point on, I carried no personal equipment except a poncho and a small sack with a change of socks, a toothbrush, and a spare pair of glasses.”   The men were loaded onto trucks and moved out to join their designated units.  As an Infantry replacement, Martin was assigned to Company C, 382nd Infantry, 96th Infantry Division (the “Deadeyes” Division).  He was put in a rifle squad(normally 12 men) that had only 2 men remaining present for duty at that time, but the infusion of replacements brought them up over-strength to a total of 15.  Martin was made First Scout and he and PFC Scott Blackmore made up the 2-man scout team in their rifle squad.

 

By early May the main body of the remaining enemy troops (about 100,000 men of Lieutenant General Mitsuru Ushijima’s 32ndArmy) had been pushed into the southern part of Okinawa and offensive operations were pressing the Japanese all across the width of the island along the so-called Naha, Shuri, Yonabaru defense line.  The Japanese had forcibly moved many civilians with them when they withdrew to the south and at night they attempted to infiltrate by concealing troops within large groups of civilians and forcing them through gaps in the American lines.  The tactic was unsuccessful.  Martin says, “Our orders were to take them under fire and we did.  Large numbers of civilians were killed, and the Japanese never successfully infiltrated our positions.”  By daylight, the U.S. troops continued a slow and costly advance each day.

 

On May 10th the 382nd Infantry attacked and took “Zebra Hill.”  Company C went into position occupying the right-side half of that horseshoe shaped hill.  Their company dug in on the reverse slope, concealed from enemy observation, but; Scouts Allday and Blackmore were assigned to man a look-out post out front.  They prepared their foxhole on the side of the hill facing the enemy.  They soon drew fire from a light machine gun positioned only 300 yards away on the hill to their front and so they stayed down under cover continuously to avoid taking fire.  But, the next day, May 11th, Company C resumed the attack and, obedient to orders, the two scouts rose up to join in.  Immediately upon exposing themselves they caught a burst from the machine gun, a .25 caliber weapon, and were both hit.  One bullet pierced high up on the front of Scott’s steel helmet, creased the top of his scalp, and came out the back of the helmet splattering fragments, some of which wounded him in the shoulder and one of which also hit Martin in the face.  Bleeding profusely from the fragmentation wound to his face, Martin at first believed he had taken a bullet in the head and was much less anxious about a wound to his right hand. Another of the small caliber bullets had shot through his hand, passing cleanly between the bones without breaking any. Although exposed and vulnerable, unaccountably after that initial burst, the wounded men were not fired upon again. The two scouts assisted each other back to the company position where they received first aid and were sent on their way back to the aid station.

 

Martin says, “I was treated and then held in a tent hospital unit that was set up on the beach back about 10-15 miles behind the front line, and I was there for three days awaiting evacuation.  There were many Kamikaze attacks, they came often and when they did we took shelter in trenches outside our tents whenever the alarm sounded.  I watched a Japanese suicide plane hit one of our cruisers just out from the beach where we were.  It struck the fantail and killed all of the sailors at their stations there.  The Kamikazes were doing tremendous damage, 36 ships were sunk, 368 others were hit and 5,000 navy men died before the campaign ended.

 

I was flown out on a 4-engined Medevac plane to Guam where I remained for another 30 days in the hospital.  I tried to write a letter home to my mother using my left hand, but just couldn’t do it.  A Red Cross Nurse offered her help and by the time I left Guam she had written 17 letters for me.  Because of that I have been generous to the Red Cross ever since.  My right hand was far from healed, but; losses had been heavy and men in my condition were being returned to their units in combat.  I could not close my hand to make a fist so the medics gave me a pencil to squeeze as they sent me on my way back to Okinawa.

 

PFC Allday rejoined Company C the day the island was declared secure, but they spent the next ten days in “mopping up,” an operation that Martin describes where, “No prisoners were taken, they did not take prisoners and neither did we.”  The 96th Infantry Division remained on Okinawa for another month and then was withdrawn to the Philippines for refitting and training in preparation for invasion of mainland Japan. Martin remembers that they were aboard ships enroute to Mindoro Island when the Atomic Bombs were dropped and the war ended.  The men of the 96th Infantry Division stayed on Mindoro for three months waiting their turn to be shipped home.  When they sailed, Martin was left behind.

 

Only men with 85 points could go home and Martin L. Allday had only accrued 29 points.  He was first put in the “Port Company” which had the job of cleaning off the island of Mindoro, shipping away the equipment and supplies that had been left behind by the departing troops.  That mission was completed after two months work, and after that Martin was transferred to Luzon and assigned to the 86th Infantry Division until his turn came to go home.  He had a sketch artist do his picture when he was on Luzon, and it accompanies this article.  Finally his time was up, and on August 12, 1946 Martin sailed from the Philippines.  On September 7, 1946 he was discharged at Fort Sam Houston, Texas, the same place where he had been inducted two years before.

 

Martin L. Allday enrolled at the University of Texas the week after his discharge from the Army.  As a Purple Heart recipient with 10-percent disability, he was paid $125 per month instead of the $75 per month that was the normal rate for veteran students and that made life a lot easier for him in school.  Martin graduated in three years and immediately entered law school.  He graduated from the University of Texas Law School in 1951 and took his first job; two weeks dredging Lake Austin for 40 cents an hour.  He was next employed by the Texas Railroad Commission as a legal examiner in oil and gas for 18 months in Austin.  In February 1953, he was hired by Superior Oil Company for their legal office in Midland, Texas.  Martin says, “After four years in Midland I was transferred to Houston.  I was the only lawyer in the whole company that was under 50 years old and I didn’t like Houston anyway, so after two years there I quit and went back to Midland.”

 

In Midland, Martin helped start a 3-man law firm.  It proved to be very successful and thirty years later the firm had built up to 42 lawyers. After first arriving in Midland, Martin met, and then a year later, married Patricia Pryor.  They had three children and their home was catercorner to the Welch family.  The Welches were parents of a daughter known today as Laura Bush.

 

Also during his early years in Midland, Martin first met future President George H. W. Bush and he remembers that first meeting, seeing a young couple dragging two little kids aged 8 (George W.) and aged 1 (Jeb) around with them.  The two men became friends through their shared interests and work in community service.  When George H. W. Bush ran against Ralph Yarborough for the Senate, he asked Martin to serve as his statewide campaign chairman and he did.  George Bush lost that race, but didn’t lose much after that and when he became President he asked Martin to serve as Chairman of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.  So, at age 63, Martin and Patricia Allday moved to Washington, D.C. and took on regulatory responsibility for all oil and gas transportation across state lines.  Martin played golf with the President, traveled with him on Air Force One, visited Camp David and he and Patricia attended about 30 White House receptions and numerous other social events during their four years in the nation’s capital.

 

In 1993 Martin and Patricia moved back to Austin where Martin continues to pursue his career in law, currently being “of counsel” with Scott, Douglass and McConnico, L.L.P.  In 2001 the President and First Lady, George W. and Laura Bush, had Martin and his family as their guests in the White House for the celebration of Martin’s 75th birthday.  In 2004 Martin and Patricia toured the island of Okinawa where Martin revisited the scenes of his combat service 59 years before.  Martin and Patricia have three children and seven grandchildren, all living in Austin, San Antonio or Houston.

Martin L. Allday provided the above Purple Heart story for publication in the January 2005 issue of PATRIOT BULLETIN.  Martin passed away in December 2008 and is buried in the Texas State Cemetery, Austin, Texas. 


1945 Drawing Of Martin By Artist Done In Manila

L — PFC SCOTT BLACKMORE, SCOUT ALSO WOUNDED ON ZEBRA HILL

C — PFC MARTIN L. ALLDAY

R —SSG CHARLES BIBLE, SQUAD LDR FROM AUSTIN, TEXAS.

THESE THREE WENT THROUGH TRAINING TOGETHER IN THE U.S. AND WERE TOGETHER IN CO C.  PHOTO IN PHILIPPINES AFTER THE OKINAWA CAMPAIGN.

Map Depicting Location of Zebra Hill Where Martin Was Wounded

Helmet Pierced By Bullet Splattering Fragment Which Wounded Martin

Tour Group That Visited Okinawa With Martin

In The Spring Of 2004

Martin L. Allday Standing at the Spot He Was Wounded On Zebra Hill 59 Years Earlier.

 Photo From Spring 2004 Trip Back To Okinawa.

A Merry Christmas 2002 In The  White House With The Bushes

Newspaper Clipping Of Martin Celebrating His 75th Birthday In The Oval Office With His Wife Patricia, His Son Marty, Devera and President Bush and Laura Bush

Martin Plays Golf With President George H. W. Bush

As Chairman of The Texas State Cemetery Committee

Martin Welcomes U.S. Postal and MOPH Officials

For First Day Issue

The First Day Issue of The Purple Heart Stamp

May 30, 2003

As Chairman of The Texas State Cemetery Committee

Martin Welcomes Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst

For The Dedication Of The Purple Heart Monument

Dedication of The Purple Heart Monument

at The Texas State Cemetery

Martin Attended The MOPH Christmas Party December 2004

(With TRICK Hat)

Martin Attended The MOPH Purple Heart Day Celebration August 2006

(With Gift Suspenders From President Bush)

Martin Inspired the Students at Dessau Elementary School with His World War II Presentation

November 2006

Martin with his Grandson, Jackson at Texas A&M

November 2006


Martin L. Allday presented his memories of the Battle of Okinawa to an event at the Nimitz Museum in Fredericksburg.

 

Follow This Link to Read His Speech

CLICK HERE

 

 

Martin L. Allday had known James A. Michener for many years before Michener's death.  In a chance conversation at a wedding reception, they discovered they were both in the Pacific during the war. James Michener sent Martin a personal letter discussing his tour in the Navy and his opinions about the dropping of the two atomic bombs which ended World War II.

 

Follow This Link to Read James A. Michener's Letter

CLICK HERE

 


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