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Published: Friday, 11/23/2007

Bellevue soldier dies of injuries from bomb

BY MEGHAN GILBERT
BLADE STAFF WRITER

A 33-year-old soldier from Bellevue, Ohio, critically injured earlier this month by an improvised explosive device in Iraq, died yesterday in a hospital in Germany, family members said last night.

Army Staff Sgt. Jon Martin, who was in the military for 13 years, was a platoon sergeant with the 101st Airborne Division, based at Fort Campbell, Ky.

The sergeant was on his third tour of duty in Iraq, where he also was hurt last year.

His wife, Becki, and mother, Laura, were with him in Germany.

The sergeant's brother-in-law, Brad Bollinger, last night said neither he nor the Martin family wished to comment.

Sergeant Martin's lung was punctured, he lost his left leg, and his pelvis, left arm, and nose were broken in the incident Nov. 9.

His spleen was removed and his kidneys were failing.

The soldier's family was told that he was unconscious when he was pulled from the vehicle after the roadside bomb exploded, but that Sgt. Martin woke up during the transfer to the hospital in Germany, Mr. Bollinger previously had told The Blade.

"The nurse told [his mother] at some point in the transfer from Iraq to Germany, he woke up for a second and told them he wasn't going to die today," he said.

It's was the only time Sergeant Martin was awake since the incident. He was in a medically induced coma.

Last year, a roadside bomb injured the tendons in one of his arms. As a result, he was awarded a Purple Heart, Mr. Bollinger said.

He returned to active duty because it was important for him to get back to his men, Mr. Bollinger said.

"He's got young guys in his troop and he said, 'I'm going over there to bring those guys back. My job is to protect those guys. I'm going there to bring these young guys home,'•" Mr. Bollinger recalled.

"He would have felt even worse if he would have been at home and something happened and knowing he wasn't there. He'd rather be there protecting those guys."

Sergeant Martin joined the Marines after graduating from Bellevue High School in 1993 and later joined the Army, Mr. Bollinger said.

The Martins' three children - Alaina, 8; Allie, 5, and Trenton, 10 months - are with family in the Bellevue area.

Funeral arrangements were pending.

A planned fund-raising event to support Sergeant Martin's family will be held at 11 a.m. Sunday at the Sports Hut Bar and Grill in Bellevue.

All proceeds from the benefit lunch, which cost $10, and a silent auction of services donated by local businesses, sports memorabilia, and other items, will go to the soldier's family.

Staff writer Ignazio Messina contributed to this report.

Contact Meghan Gilbert at:

mgilbert@theblade.com

or 419-724-6134.



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