Second Lieutenant D. Friend Martin

2LT Martin

World War II

US Army Air Forces
Midwest Procurement Squadron, Army Material Command
Service Number: O-812461
Born: May 3, 1921, Pleasanton, Nebraska
Inducted: June 21, 1942
Died: November 9, 1943 in crash at Tulsa, Oklahoma
Buried: Pleasant Valley Cemetery, north of Yuma

Son of Mr. and Mrs. Harry S. Martin formerly of Yuma. Husband of Dorothy Martin of Waverly.

Pleasant Valley Cemetery

Yuma Pioneer October 7, 1943

D.F. Martin Awarded Wings as an Army Pilot

Spence Field, Georgia — D. Friend Martin received the treasured silver wings of the army air forces pilot and the commission of second lieutenant in the army of the United States, air corps, during inspiring graduation exercises at this advanced single engine pilot school on October 1.

The son of Mr. and Mrs. Harry S. Martin of northeast of Yuma, Lieutenant Martin is a graduate of Waverly high school where he was assistant editor of the school paper. Before his acceptance as a flying cadet he was a farmer.

Lieutenant Martin arrived home Monday night and is spending a leave of absence with his parents.

Yuma Pioneer November 11, 1943

LT. D.F. Martin Killed Tuesday in Plane Crash
Son of Former Waverly Residents Meets Death in Test Flight at Tulsa.

Second Lieutenant D. Friend Martin, 23, son of Mr. and Mrs. Harry S. Martin, former residents of northeast of Yuma who now reside in California, was killed Tuesday in the crash of an Army plane at Tulsa, Oklahoma a message from the war department to his wife announced.

Meager details reported that Lieutenant Martin was testing a Douglas dive bomber when it crashed in a park. He died in a hospital two hours after the plane fell. A park employee extinguished flames started after the plane crashed. James G. Heidren, an Army inspector with Martin was injured.

The body will be shipped to Yuma for burial, but arrangements for the funeral have not yet been completed.

Lieutenant Martin received the wings of an Army flyer October 1, at the advanced training field for single seat pursuit and bomber pilots at Spence Field, Georgia, after taking his basic training as an aviation cadet at Cochran Army Airfield at Macon in the same state. He came to Yuma October 4, and spent a furlough with his wife, Dorothy, his year old son and other relatives in the Waverly community. He was a graduate of Waverly high school and farmed before enlisting in the Army Air Forces.

Yuma Pioneer November 18, 1943

Funeral of Young Army Flyer is Held at Wages Saturday

Funeral services for Lieutenant D. Friend Martin, 22 year-old Yuma army pilot who was killed in a crash at Tulsa, Oklahoma, Tuesday of last week, were held at the Wages Methodist church Saturday afternoon, Rev. Clare J. Hayes of Holyoke officiating. Interment was at the United Brethren Cemetery, where members of Pat Mowry Post No. 96, American Legion, had charge of the military rites. The esteem in which the young man was held in the community was shown by the large crowd in attendance at the service and by the banks of flowers. Those attending from a distance were Mr. and Mrs. Harry Martin, Joan, Phyllis and Knute, Second Lieutenant and Mrs. Mack Stephenson, all of Sacramento, California, Mrs. Margaret Burton of Denver and Mr. and Mrs. Ray Josh of Hastings, Nebraska.

Jack G. Henderson, AAF inspector at Douglas, who was riding with Lieutenant Martin at the time of the crash and who was not seriously injured, paid the following tribute to the young pilot the day after the accident from his cot in the Spartan Aeronautical school infirmary while waiting for permission to return to work;

"I couldn't have asked for a better job of flying. It was magnificent. I was expecting to crash even before the plane got off the ground. I knew it was the end. Thanks to Lieutenant Martin, I'm no worse off today than I was yesterday. But he isn't here to receive the thanks."

Henderson was accompanying the pilot on the last test flight before the ship would be accepted by the AAF from Douglas. The ship barreled down the runway, rose to about forty feet when white smoke began streaming from the single engine.

"He put it back down on the runway," related Henderson, "and the motor went solid again. I think he considered crashing thru the airport fence, but probably decided to take off because there were too many fatal trees straight ahead. The engine performed perfectly and we rose to about seventy-five feet when it began sputtering again. Then it went out altogether.

"Lieutenant Martin went into a very flat bank, with the nose down just enough to maintain flying speed, and tried to turn around to get back to the airport. But she didn't have enough speed. In a few seconds we were heading down toward the trees. He kept the plane under control — as well as a plane could have been under the circumstances — and kept it in a glide that slowed us down. So slow were we going, in fact, that after clipping the top off one tree, the plane skidded to a stop against another less than twenty-five feet after it hit the ground. It was perfect. I guess Lady Luck was riding in the seat with me. I feel like the guy who said he was living on borrowed time."

Park attendants extinguished the flames as they were beginning to lick the unconscious form of Lieutenant Martin. The pilot died in a hospital two hours after the crash.

Second Lieutenant D. Friend Martin, son of Mr. and Mrs. Harry Martin, was born May 3, 1921, at Pleasanton, Nebraska. He was killed in a plane crash November 9, 1943, at Tulsa, Oklahoma, at the age of 22 years, six months and six days.

In his early boyhood he came to Yuma with his parents. He was affiliated with the S.D.A. church. He attended Waverly high school, graduating with the class of 1940, after which he was engaged in farming until he entered the armed forces.

He was united in marriage to Dorothy Luceille Josh December 27, 1941. To this union one son was born — Ronald D., age one year. Upon entering the armed forces June 21, 1942, he was sent to Fort Eustis, Virginia, where he was placed in the coast artillery until November, 1942, when he was transferred into the army air forces. He received his pre-flight training in the art of flying at Maxwell Field, Alabama, Carlstrom Field, Florida and Cochran Field, Georgia, receiving the coveted silver wings at Spence Field, Georgia, October 1, 1943.

After receiving his wings Lieutenant Martin was given a ten-day furlough and came home to visit his wife, son and other relatives and many friends. Four weeks later he met death as he was serving as a test pilot. He was very proud to be serving under the stars and stripes. His winning smile and friendly ways won him many friends and he will be greatly missed by those who loved and knew him.

Besides his wife and son he leaves to mourn his passing his parents, Mr. and Mrs. Harry Martin; three sisters, Mrs. Charlene Stephenson, Joan and Phyllis; one brother, Knute, all of Sacramento, California; a grandmother, Mrs. Harah Martin of Pleasanton, Nebraska, and many other relatives and a host of friends.

Army AAF accident report is attached.

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Army Accident Report


2nd Lt. D. Friend Martin 0-812461 AAF died in the crash of a RA-24B (1/2 mi. northwest of Tulsa Mun. Airport, Tulsa, Oklahoma 9 November 1943. A passenger John George Hendren a civilian inspector for the Air Force received superficial facial lacerations in the crash. The plane was completely demolished.

Lt. Martin was assigned to the Mid-West Procurement squadron of the Material Command in Wichita, Kansas. He was attached for flying to the Douglas Aircraft Modification Center in Tulsa, Oklahoma. At the time of the accident Martin had 263.10 hours as a first pilot, but only 6.15 hours in a RA-24. He had been rated a pilot since 10 January 1943.

The weather at the time of the accident was CAVU [Ceiling And Visibility Unlimited]. The flight was a Army Acceptance Flight and was cleared from the Tulsa Mun. Airport as a local flight. The nature of the accident was a take off power failure.

It was the opinion of the Accident Classification Committee that 50% of the accident can be attributed to pilot error in that the pilot attempted to take-off with an engine which was not functioning properly. There was sufficient runway remaining after the first takeoff and landing to reduce the power and roll to a safe stop. 50% of the accident is attributed to material failure because of the malfunctioning of the engine.


After the inspector got aboard, the engine was ran for about five minutes on the ramp of the Douglas Aircraft Company. After taxing out of the west gate to the southeast end of Runway No. 30, they had to wait another 10 minutes while three other planes took off. Receiving clearance and going towards the northwest with the throttle wide open they were off the ground in seventy or eighty yards. The engine began cutting out, accompanied by clouds of black smoke when they were off the ground fifteen or twenty feet. The plane vibrated badly as the pilot changed the fuel mixture. As the fuel flow became full rich again, the engine belched back smoke just like a rich mixture. The first three or four hundred feet of the take-off appeared to be normal in every respect except for the heavy cloud of black smoke which came out while the engine was being run up at the beginning of the take-off. The plane settled back on the runway and the tail came down and they were going fifty or forty miles per hr down the runway. Shortly the engine resumed normal operation and plane regained flying speed and took off again and was at forty feet when the engine started coughing again. Lt. Martin dropped the nose and raised the landing gear. At this point it was impossible to land again because all the available runway had been used. As they crossed the fence, the engine cleared again and they went up to seventy-five feet and started a right flap turn with the nose down slightly to keep up speed. They could not return to the landing field and were attempting to reach a golf course.

At 13:45 Lt. Martin called the control tower and said "4708 making crash landing". When they were at tree top level the pilot decided they would not make the golf course so as a puff of white smoke came from the plane he cut off the engine, brought the plane to just above stalling speed and did a left side slip to get into a clearing. The engine brushed a tree and the plane made a flat spin and the tail went up and they crashed in Mohawk Municipal Park. The exact time of the crash was 13:47.

Wright engine R-1820-60, AAF Serial No. 42-82036 installed in RA-24B airplane AAF Serial No. 42-54708 failed on take off resulting in the crash and complete wreckage of airplane. Preliminary inspection of subject engine revealed aluminum and babbitt filings in crank case. The plane was returned to the Douglas factory.

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