Harold S. Martin


     Harold S. Martin, Colonel (ret.), 3030 Ibsen St., San Diego 6, Calif. (b. Chicago, 14 February, 1892), FAI pilot #427 of March 15, 1916, Aero Club "Expert Pilot" #52, graduated from the USMA and served as 2/Lieut. of Infantry. Flying appeared better than walking and he passed the examination for fitness for flying and soloed at San Diego Dec. 20, 1915, in a Martin TT.
     He was detailed in the Aviation Section, Signal Corps, and rated a 1/Lieut. JMA as of June 6, 1916. He promptly served on the border with the First Aero Squadron, our first tactical air organization. He was one of those 61 officers and 256 enlisted men comprising the air force of that day (June 30, 1916).
     Here might be a good spot to list those 61 pioneer officers of the Aviation Section, Signal Corps, or with it, in order of duty, as of June 30, 1916. (Of course, other officers have been a part of the air force but they have lost their lives or have left the flying contingent)
     F. P. Lahm, B. D. Foulois, J. C. Walker, Jr., C. G. Chapman, H. A. Dargue, J. C. Morrow, V. E. Clark, R. H. Willis, B. Q. Jones, D. B. Netherwood, T. S. Bowen, W. L. Patterson, Leslie MacDill, S. W. FitzGerald, W. G. Kilner, Harry Gantz, A. R. Christie, E. L. Canady, B. M. Atkinson, H. W. Harms, H. S. Martin, J. F. Curry, C. C. Culver, Roy S. Brown, J. W. Heard, Ralph Royce, Carl Spatz, S. H. Wheeler, J. B. Brooks, G. H. Brett, H. C. Davidson, C. W. Russel (NF), G. E. A. Reinburg, M. F. Harmon, J. C. McDonnell, J. W. Butts, L. G. Heffernan, J. C. P. Bartholf, Maxwell Kirby, W. A. Robertson, Davenport Johnson, R. B. Barnitz, J. D. von Holtzendorff, M. F. Scanlon, P. L. Ferron, G. E. Lovell, E. N. Macon (NF), Geo. O. Squier (NF), J. L. Dunsworth, J. F. Byrom, B. G. Weir, B. W. Mills, E. L. Naiden, W. A. Glassford (NF), Wm. Mitchell.
From the Early Bird CHIRP, JULY 31, 1949, Number 41
Courtesy of Steve Remington at COLLECTAIR

By Waldo D. Waterman

Harold S. Martin died in San Diego at the age of sixty-nine on November 26, 1961. Full military services were held for Martin, a retired Air Force Colonel, at ten-thirty at the United States Military Academy at West Point, N. Y., with interment there.
     Martin was a native of Chicago, and had lived the last twenty-one years of his life in San Diego. He was a 1913 graduate of the Military Academy, after entering the Army in 1909, and then switched to Aviation in 1915. He began his flying career at Rockwell Field, North Island, San Diego, and served as a military Aviator until 1929. Much of his military career was spent at McCook Field and then Wright Field at Dayton, Ohio, where he was Chief Engineer of the Engineering Division, Chief of the Procurement Section and, Chief of the Field Service Division.
     When he returned to civilian life he became president of the Pennsylvania Air Lines until its merger with United Air Lines. He later became associated with Pan American Grace Air Lines where he was stationed at Lima, Peru, as Engineer in charge of maintenance, for their entire South American operation.
     Returning to this country, he became executive assistant to the Vice President, manufacturing of Consolodated-Vultee, which later became Convair, working for that company in San Diego for nine years. In 1953, he became associated with Ryan Aeronautical Corp., as an administrative engineer. He was a man of very few words, but was known by those that worked with him as being one that could usually straighten out the many "snafus" that were typical of the industry in that era. He was a stable individual in all senses of the word and people began, after associating with him, to lean heavily on his good judgement and stability.
     He was a very loyal member of Early Birds, and to this writer's knowledge, never missed a single Early Bird meeting in the San Diego Area until his final illness. Likewise his associates at Panagra in Peru recall that he never missed the arrival or departure of one of the airline's planes at Lima while he was stationed there.
     We all missed Harold Martin at the San Diego Early Bird reunion last August where close by he was confined to his bed by his terminal illness. He is survived by his widow, Mrs. Gladys Graves Martin; two daughters, Mrs. Robert Changnon and Mrs. Leo Culey, both of San Diego and a sister Mrs. George MacDonald of Long Island, N. Y., and five grandchildren.
From The Early Birds of Aviation CHIRP, October, 1962, Number 69

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