Saratoga soldier to get proper burial after 68 years

November 30, 2018 06:06 PM

ALBANY - This wasn't the kind of homecoming John Martin's family had in mind when he went off to war 68 years ago -- and they certainly didn't expect it would take this long.

A native of the Town of Saratoga, Martin was a 23-year-old medic in the Army's 7th division when the Chinese attacked at Chosin Reservoir.


"He was wounded trying to help other wounded soldiers and he died there," said Tamaris Dolton, niece of John Martin.

Martin was among several hundred soldiers who were buried near the reservoir, but not identified. For 68 years, his family remained hopeful that one day they'd find out.

"Grandma never stopped talking about him. She died in 1973, and until then, she just waited."

About three weeks ago, the family got a phone call from the Army saying they'd identified Martin through DNA and other evidence.

"And I said, 'You're joking.' Because honest to goodness, wouldn't you think that was some sort of a scam?"

It was no scam.

The family was told that their uncle would be returned from Hawaii where his remains had been for many years, but only recently identified.

The family has a rich military history, continuing to today. John Martin's great-grand nephew, Airman First Class Schuyler Dolton, was chosen to fly to Hawaii to accompany his fallen relative back home.

"I'd say it definitely made my life so far," said Dolton. "This has been like the greatest thing that I've done."

 Martin will be honored with a full military burial on Sunday, which is 68 years to the day after he was reported missing in action

"This is good because it let's everybody see that we don't just leave our soldiers over there. They do bring them home," his niece said.


Mark Mulholland

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