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Detail from an official photograph of Antonio Martinez [undated]

Veterans History Project Service Summary:

  • War or Conflict: World War, 1939-1945; Korean War, 1950-1953
  • Branch of Service: Air Force; Army
  • Unit of Service/Ship: 4th Cavalry Reconnaissance Squad, 265th Infantry Regiment, 66th Infantry Division
  • Location of Service: Patrick Air Force Base, Florida; European Theater
  • Highest Rank: Private First Class; Airman First Class
  • Collection Number: AFC/2001/001/10412

View full service history

"I put all of my clothes on, everything. That's what saved me, was all of that clothes I had on." (Video Interview, 11:11)

On Christmas Eve 1944, Antonio Martinez was one of 2,235 American servicemen aboard a Belgian transport ship, the Leopoldville, on its way from England to France. Five miles from its destination, the ship was struck by a torpedo from a German U boat, and it sank within three hours. Martinez survived, but over 750 GIs did not. His detailed account of this tragedy, among the worst in U.S. military history, is a welcome addition to the public record, as survivors were told at the time not to discuss the episode, and it took fifty years before an official monument to those who went down with the ship was erected.

Interview / Recording

More Resources

[ Honorable Discharge ]
[ Addendum to DA Form 1577 ]
[ Honorable Discharge ]
[ Honorable Discharge ]
[ Enlisted record and report of separation ]

Show more resources (1)

[ Report of separation ]

About this Item

Title

  • Antonio Ralph Martinez Collection

Names

  • Martinez, Antonio Ralph
  • Central Coast Veterans Memorial Museum (CCVMM)
  • Cargill, Joanne

Headings

  • -  Martinez, Antonio Ralph
  • -  World War, 1939-1945 -- Personal Narratives
  • -  United States. Army.
  • -  Korean War, 1950-1953 -- Personal Narratives
  • -  United States. Air Force.

Repository

  • Veterans History Project, American Folklife Center, Library of Congress

Gender

  • Male

Race

  • Hispanic

Status

  • veteran

Service History

  • World War, 1939-1945

    • Branch of Service: Army
    • Unit of Service: 4th Cavalry Reconnaissance Squad, 265th Infantry Regiment, 66th Infantry Division
    • Location of Service: European Theater
    • Highest Rank: Private First Class
    • Dates of Service: 1944-1946
    • Military Status: veteran
  • Korean War, 1950-1953

    • Branch of Service: Air Force
    • Location of Service: Patrick Air Force Base, Florida
    • Highest Rank: Airman First Class
    • Dates of Service: 1951-1952
    • Entrance into Service: Enlisted
    • Military Status: veteran

Materials

  • Video: Digital Betacam [1 item] -- Digitized Copy (collected 2003-11-20)
  • Manuscript: Military papers (orders, personnel/201 files, etc) [10 items] -- Mixed (handwritten and typewritten documents) (collected 1946-2001)
  • Photograph: Photocopy of Photographic Print [3 items] -- (collected 1944)
  • Video: Video-8 [1 item] -- Oral history interview (collected 2003-11-20; 2003)

Collection Number

  • AFC/2001/001/10412

Cite as

  • Antonio Ralph Martinez Collection (AFC/2001/001/10412), Veterans History Project, American Folklife Center, Library of Congress

Online Format

  • image
  • video

IIIF Presentation Manifest

Rights & Access

Using VHP Material in Publication or Exhibition

The Veterans History Project (VHP) at the Library of Congress collects, preserves and makes accessible the firsthand recollections of U.S. military veterans who served from World War I through more recent conflicts and peacekeeping missions, so that future generations may hear directly from veterans and better understand what they saw, did and felt during their service. The Veterans History Project Collection includes oral histories along with documentary materials such as original letters, diaries, photographs, and memoirs.

Veterans and interviewers contribute these materials to the Library for scholarly and educational purposes, retaining any copyright they may hold. Therefore, permission must be obtained before using the interview or other materials in exhibition or publication. Researchers or others who would like to make further use of these materials should contact the Veterans History Project for assistance.

As a publicly supported institution, the Library generally does not own rights to material in its collections. Therefore, it does not charge permission fees for use of such material and cannot give or deny permission to publish or otherwise distribute material in its collections. Responsibility for making an independent legal assessment of an item from the Library’s collections and for securing any necessary permissions rests with persons desiring to use the item.

Please contact us with questions.

Obtaining Copies of VHP Materials

In order for VHP materials to be duplicated, we must receive written permission from the interviewee for you to obtain a copy of the recording unless the proposed use is limited to personal use, research, or other uses permissible by copyright law. If the interviewee is deceased, their next-of-kin may grant written permission.

Please contact VHP for assistance if you need to contact a veteran for permission to use their materials in exhibition or publication, or if you have received permission from the veteran and need access to high-resolution copies of VHP collection materials.

Citing VHP Materials

Please use the following formats when citing Veterans History Project materials (substituting the appropriate name and collection ID number).

Materials as a whole:

  • John P. Snodgrass (AFC 2001/001/[VHP collection]), Veterans History Project Collection, American Folklife Center, Library of Congress.

Manuscript material:

  • John P. Snodgrass (AFC 2001/001/[VHP collection]), Memoirs (MS02), Veterans History Project Collection, American Folklife Center, Library of Congress.
  • John P. Snodgrass (AFC 2001/001/[VHP collection]), Transcript (MS04), Veterans History Project Collection, American Folklife Center, Library of Congress.
  • John P. Snodgrass (AFC 2001/001/[VHP collection]), Correspondence (MS01), Veterans History Project Collection, American Folklife Center, Library of Congress.

Recording:

  • John P. Snodgrass (AFC 2001/001/[VHP collection]), Audio recording (SR01), Veterans History Project Collection, American Folklife Center, Library of Congress.
  • John P. Snodgrass (AFC 2001/001/[VHP collection]), Video recording (MV01), Veterans History Project Collection, American Folklife Center, Library of Congress.

Photograph:

  • John P. Snodgrass (AFC 2001/001/[VHP collection]), Photographs (PH01), photographer unknown, Veterans History Project Collection, American Folklife Center, Library of Congress.
  • John P. Snodgrass (AFC 2001/001/[VHP collection]), Photographs (PH03-PH14), Ralph Williams photographer, Veterans History Project Collection, American Folklife Center, Library of Congress.

Computer file:

  • John P. Snodgrass (AFC 2001/001/[VHP collection]), Computer file (CF01), Veterans History Project Collection, American Folklife Center, Library of Congress.

Artifact:

  • John P. Snodgrass (AFC 2001/001/[VHP collection]), Artifact (AR01), Veterans History Project Collection, American Folklife Center, Library of Congress.

Cite This Item

Citations are generated automatically from bibliographic data as a convenience, and may not be complete or accurate.

Chicago citation style:

Martinez, Antonio Ralph, Central Coast Veterans Memorial Museum, and Joanne Cargill. Antonio Ralph Martinez Collection. 1944. Personal Narrative. https://www.loc.gov/item/afc2001001.10412/.

APA citation style:

Martinez, A. R., Central Coast Veterans Memorial Museum & Cargill, J. (1944) Antonio Ralph Martinez Collection. [Personal Narrative] Retrieved from the Library of Congress, https://www.loc.gov/item/afc2001001.10412/.

MLA citation style:

Martinez, Antonio Ralph, Central Coast Veterans Memorial Museum, and Joanne Cargill. Antonio Ralph Martinez Collection. 1944. Personal Narrative. Retrieved from the Library of Congress, <www.loc.gov/item/afc2001001.10412/>.