William "Bill" Jerome Martineau

Army Badge
  • Name: William "Bill" Jerome Martineau
  • Location of Birth:
  • Date of Birth: November 11, 1922
  • Date of Death: June 6, 2014 (91 years old)
  • Parents: Edward John Martineau and Mary Gertrude (Shannon) Martineau
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  • Highest Rank: TEC 5 (Technical 5)
  • Branch: Army
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  • Military Highlights:

  • Wars Involved:
    World War II

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  • Civilian Life:
    Article from Grand Rapids Herald Review dated October 2, 2011:
    "Four local WWII vets to visit memorial this week.

    On October 4, 2011, the second flight from Honor Flight Northland will take off from Duluth to Washington, D.C. bringing World War II veterans to see their war memorial in the nation's capital. The premier flight was on May 14, 2011, which brought 104 WWII veterans from 18 different counties in northern Minnesota and Wisconsin. Because of the unfortunately high cost of each flight (nearly $ 90,000), which is paid for entirely by donations, Honor Flight Northland plans on having only two flights per year.

    For the fall flight, there will be four WWII veterans from Itasca County making the long day journey to D.C.; Harley Kiger and Bill Martineau from Grand Rapids, Minnesota and Ardean and Ralph "Bud" Aakhus from Effie, Minnesota. Tuesday will be the first time that each of these men will see the World War II Memorial.

    Whereas they find themselves in the same situation, right now, each of their contributions to the war effort during the early 1940s was quite different. Each has a different personal perspective of the war most of us only know from books, movies, and documentation on the History Channel. And each has their own personal contribution, whether directly or indirectly, to this history.

    The war experience for Bill Martineau, on the other hand, didn't have as much to do with the front lines. Stationed at Fort Greeley in Kodiak, Alaska, Martineau was part of a crew that strung communication lines between the Aleutian Islands. But at the beginning of the United State's involvement in the war after the bombing of Pearl Harbor, he was transferred to the Army Band.

    "My outfit was assigned to go to Sitka, Alaska. But just when I was getting ready to board the truck, a girl had sent word down to me that I was to be transferred to the band. So I missed out on that. I was in the band the rest of the service," said Martineau.

    As a part of the band, he played a number of USO shows, as well as countless parades and other performances to assist in boosting the morale of the soldiers who were in the field. There were some days where Martineau played for "five or six parades a day." The war, for Martineau, was work for the benefit of his fellow soldiers, which he continued following the war as a member of the American Legion for the past 66 years.

    All four men feel very honored to be chosen for the Honor Flight to visit the World War II Memorial in Washington, D.C. Though it will be a long day, waking early and coming home late, they each feel a bit of excitement about joining their fellow veterans to visit the memorial that was erected to honor them as well as their friends who were unable to come home following the war.

    But according to Martineau, he's reserving most of his excitement until the day actually arrives, saying it "doesn't register much until you get there and see what it's all about."

    At 91 years of age, Bill lived a full life. He was father to Craig, Paul, Jon, Ann, Kari, Alan, and Joe. He was a man of faith, a man of causes, a man of music, a man enjoyed and respected by the people he worked with in so many organizations.

    His ministry was working in the background for the church, for the American Legion and numerous other organizations. You could find him setting up for an event, taking down from one, or taking money at the cashier's table at a fundraiser. Now you will see him among the throngs of souls welcoming newcomers to the gates of St. Peter.

    It was appropriate that Bill died on the 70th anniversary of D Day.

    Buried in Itasca Calvary Cemetery at Grand Rapids, Minnesota (Plot I-G-16-17)

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