Stephen G. Martin may have been a law-and-order police officer, but he had a lighter side, too. Like the time he put a dead squirrel in Police Sgt. John Hirsch”s squad car. “I”m sure Steve drove every street in the city to find the right squirrel”. Hirsch said during a memorial service for Martin, 39, who died July 2 of wounds he received when a truck bomb exploded near his checkpoint in Mosul. A member of the Army Reserves, Martin served in a Military Police Detachment based in Sheboygan, Wis. At the ceremony in Rhinelander, Wis., Martin”s 21-year-old son, Seth, played guitar and sang Eric Clapton”s song “Tears in Heaven”. Martin”s father, the Rev. Jim Martin, said he sometimes considered his son strange as a child. “Hour after hour, he read the encyclopedia”, the elder Martin said to quiet laughter. “Was he perfect? No. Was he honest? Yes. Was he straightforward? You better believe it. That was the person he was”. Besides his son and father, Martin”s survivors include his wife, two daughters and three stepdaughters.
Staff Sgt. Stephen G. Martin of Rhinelander, Wisconsin was born to the Rev. Jim and Carolyn Martin. He graduated from East Pennsboro Area High School in Indiana in 1983. Following graduation he entered the United States Army and served with the 101st Airborne, including a tour of duty in South Korea. Following his honorable discharge he was employed as an officer with the Trenton Police Department in New Jersey. In 1995 Steve moved to Rhinelander where he joined the Rhinelander Police Department and was promoted to sergeant in January. He spent most summers on the department’s bicycle patrol and also worked in the city’s schools. He conducted bicycle rodeos instructing children how to ride their bikes safely, and also participated in a program that gave bicycle helmets to local youths. He joined the Army Reserve 330th military police unit in Sheboygan in January 2003. His unit was activated in December and arrived in Iraq a few months later. At the time of his injuries, Steve was helping to train Iraqi police recruits. He married his wife, Kathy, on May 22, 2003, in Rhinelander. Steve played guitar and was an avid lover of music, nature and the works of Ernest Hemingway. He spent most summers on the city’s bicycle patrol and also worked in city schools. He and another officer conducted bicycle rodeos, instructing children how to ride bikes safely. He was a supportive husband and friend to Kathy, a loving father. He is survived by his wife, Kathy two daughters, Jessica and Brianna a son, Seth; stepdaughters Jackie, Jessica and Kaitlyn; his parents, the Rev. Jim and Carolyn Martin; and a sister, Susan. He was preceded in death by a brother, Mark, who died of leukemia. Stephen was 39.
A Wisconsin Army National Guard soldier from Rhinelander was killed and seven other Guard soldiers were injured Thursday in Afghanistan when they were attacked by enemy forces using rocket-propelled grenade fire.
Sgt. Ryan Adams, 26, died in Logar province of wounds suffered in the attack, the Department of Defense said Saturday.
The National Guard declined to release the names and the severity of the injuries of the wounded soldiers. The soldiers were receiving medical care as needed, and their families had been notified of the injuries, according to a Guard statement.
Adams joined the Guard in 2001 after he graduated from Rhinelander High School because he wanted to serve his country, his uncle, Patrick Adams of West Bend, said Saturday.
“He was very proud to serve his country. He was incredibly proud to be a soldier, and he loved doing what he did,” said Patrick Adams, who was with Ryan Adams’ parents in Rhinelander on Saturday.
His parents, Peter and Jalane, did not want to speak to reporters, Patrick Adams said. But they released a statement to WJFW-TV (Channel 12) in Rhinelander that states: “We are very proud of our son. He was where he wanted to be, doing what he wanted to do. He did it with pride and honor. He was a great soldier, and he is our hero.”
Ryan Adams was deployed with the Guard’s 951st Engineer Company (Sapper). About 100 soldiers from the Rhinelander and Tomahawk-based unit were sent to Afghanistan, where they conduct route-clearance operations for the Army’s 101st Airborne Division, the Guard said.
It was the second tour of duty for Adams and his unit. It was deployed to Iraq from May 2003 to April 2004 when it was Company C, 724th Engineer Battalion, the Guard said.
At Rhinelander High School, Ryan Adams was a quarterback on the football team and also played baseball, Patrick Adams said.
Ryan Adams also volunteered with Angels on My Shoulder, a nonprofit cancer support group in St. Germain. The group runs camps for children affected by cancer, visits cancer patients at hospitals and clinics, provides weekend retreats for cancer caregivers, and has programs for cancer survivors.
“It was an important cause to him,” Patrick Adams said.
Adams’ parents have set up a memorial fund at Park City Credit Union, and contributions will be donated to Angels on My Shoulder. Donations can be sent to the Ryan Adams fund, Park City Credit Union, P.O. Box 464, Rhinelander, WI 54501.
As soon as he learned of Ryan Adams’ death, Rhinelander Mayor Richard Johns said he ordered the Fire Department to lower its U.S. flag to half-staff to honor the soldier. Johns said flags at other city locations would be lowered to half-staff over the weekend as well.
“It’s rough when you lose one of your people. It’s a terrible thing to happen in our community, and our condolences go out to the family,” Johns said Saturday.
Johns said he had no word about the other soldiers who were injured or the extent of their injuries.
Brig. Gen. Donald Dunbar, the Guard’s adjutant general, also ordered flags at all Wisconsin National Guard armories, air bases and other facilities lowered to half-staff beginning Sunday in honor of Adams and continuing until sunset on the day of his funeral.
“With all 10,000 of Sgt. Adams’ fellow soldiers and airmen of Wisconsin’s National Guard, I salute his service to his community, state and nation; and I pray for the protection and safe return of all the soldiers and airmen of the Wisconsin National Guard now serving overseas in harm’s way,” Dunbar said in a statement.
Funeral services for Ryan Adams have not been set.
Ryan Adams is the second soldier from Rhinelander killed in combat in Iraq or Afghanistan.
Staff Sgt. Steven G. Martin, 39, a Wisconsin reservist, died in early July 2004 from injuries he received when a truck bomb exploded June 24, 2004, near his checkpoint outside a U.S. military compound at Mosul, Iraq.
Martin was a sergeant with the Rhinelander Police Department.