F3c Luster Lee Martin USS Arizona

F3c Luster Lee Martin

Amidst the rolling plains and endless skies of Clayton, Oklahoma, a place tucked away from the bustling cities, a young boy named Luster Lee Martin was born on March 10, 1916. The son of George William Martin, a diligent farmer, and Rella Miller Martin, a devoted homemaker, Luster Lee, affectionately known as “Bug,” entered this world with an unyielding spirit and an unquenchable thirst for adventure.

The echoes of war reverberated through the nation during his early years, as his father filled out a military registration card in September 1918. However, the winds of fate proved cruel, for by the time the January 1920 Census arrived, Mr. Martin was no longer among the living. His widow, Rella, faced the challenges of raising her three young sons, all aged five and under, with unwavering strength and determination. They found solace in the warm embrace of her father, Robert A. Miller, a farmer residing about 30 miles north in the town of Quinton, Oklahoma.

Rella, a resilient woman, soon found love anew and embarked on a new chapter of her life with her marriage to Ervin Whittington. The family relocated to Quinton and made it their home until at least 1927. However, destiny had more in store for them, leading them to the bustling city of Amarillo, Texas in 1930. It was there that Ervin found work at a zinc smelter, weaving their lives into the vibrant tapestry of the city.

Yet, the call of their roots grew stronger, and the Martins returned to Quinton by the late 1930s, seeking the familiar embrace of their small-town community. In the annals of the local newspaper, glimpses of Luster Lee’s presence emerged, as his name was mentioned in articles highlighting the achievements of the Quinton High School class of 1933. The seed of ambition had been planted within his soul, fueled by the love and support of his family and the nurturing environment of his hometown.

As the 1940s dawned, the world stood on the precipice of unprecedented turmoil. Luster Lee, a young man of promise, was captured in the 1940 Census. It revealed that he had completed a year of college, but circumstances had led him away from the hallowed halls of academia. With a steadfast determination, he worked tirelessly as a farmhand for 50 weeks in 1939, earning a modest sum of $90. Together with his step-father, mother, and four siblings, he resided on the family farm, a testament to the resilience and unity that defined their bond.

But destiny had set its sights on Luster Lee, beckoning him toward a calling that would etch his name in the annals of valor. In November 1940, a fire burned within his heart, compelling him to leave the familiarity of Quinton, population 1,245, behind. The call of duty summoned him to the noble ranks of the United States Navy, and with unwavering resolve, he enlisted in Dallas, Texas. Luster Lee Martin embarked on a new journey, embracing the unknown with the spirit of a true patriot.

It was on the mighty U.S.S. Arizona, amid the azure waters of Pearl Harbor, that Luster Lee Martin, now a fireman third class, found himself standing tall on that fateful day of December 7, 1941. The sun had barely risen when the deafening roar of enemy aircraft shattered the tranquility of the Hawaiian morning. From the depths of the ocean, an insidious force unleashed its fury, launching an unprovoked attack on the harbor that would forever change the course of history.

In the midst of chaos and destruction, Luster Lee Martin exemplified the courage and unwavering dedication that coursed through the veins of every sailor aboard the U.S.S. Arizona. With selflessness etched upon his heart, he faced the relentless onslaught with a steadfast determination, a testament to the resilience instilled within him by his upbringing and the unwavering love for his country.

As the enemy’s bombs rained down upon the deck of the battleship, Luster Lee remained resolute, fearlessly carrying out his duties amidst the flames and smoke. His actions spoke volumes about his character, an embodiment of the indomitable spirit that defines the men and women who don the uniform of the United States Armed Forces.

But on that fateful day, destiny dealt a heartbreaking blow. Amidst the chaos and destruction, Luster Lee Martin made the ultimate sacrifice, paying the price of freedom with his own life. His name would forever be etched among the heroes who gave their all for their nation’s cause.

In the wake of the devastating attack on Pearl Harbor, the nation mourned the loss of brave souls like Luster Lee Martin, whose valorous acts would forever be remembered. The University of Arizona, with reverence and gratitude, established the U.S.S. Arizona Mall Memorial, honoring the fallen heroes who made the ultimate sacrifice. Within its hallowed grounds, Luster’s name would be forever engraved, an eternal testament to his unwavering devotion and the legacy he left behind.

Luster’s story resonated far beyond the shores of Quinton, Oklahoma. It echoed through the hearts of his family, friends, and a grateful nation. His mother, Rella, and his siblings stood as a testament to his spirit, carrying the torch of remembrance and ensuring that his memory would endure for generations to come.

The sacrifices of Luster Lee Martin and his fellow servicemen and women awakened a sleeping giant. The attack on Pearl Harbor galvanized a nation, igniting a fire within the American people to rise up and defend the liberties that define the United States of America. In the wake of that fateful day, the resolve of a nation was tested, but it emerged stronger, more united than ever before.

Luster Lee Martin’s story serves as a poignant reminder of the price of freedom and the valor displayed by those who answered the call of duty. It reminds us that heroes are not born, but forged in the crucible of adversity, their spirits standing tall in the face of unimaginable challenges.

As the stars and stripes ripple in the wind, let us never forget the sacrifice of Luster Lee Martin and the thousands who laid down their lives for the cause of liberty. May their memory inspire us to cherish the freedoms we hold dear, and may we strive to honor their legacy by embodying the same spirit of patriotism and selflessness that defined their lives.

Luster Lee Martin, a son, a brother, and a hero, will forever be remembered as one who made the ultimate sacrifice, reminding us that the flames of valor and the spirit of patriotism burn eternally within the hearts of those who dare to dream of a better world.

NOTE: If you are a family member related to this crew member of the U.S.S. Arizona, or have additional information, pictures or documents to share about his life or service to our county please contact us through our FAMILY MEMBER SUBMISSION FORM. 
Sources: The Quinton (Oklahoma) Times; Census; Navy muster roll; military registration cards. This profile was rewritten by “Operation 85”  from the original sourced profile written by Bobbi Jo Buel on behalf of the U.S.S. Arizona Mall Memorial at the University of Arizona.calling