MADAWASKA, Maine – Armand Martin, a 104-year-old World War II veteran and 80-year-member of the American Legion, was among five Army veterans honored for their service at Country Village Estates in Madawaska on Jan. 15.
In addition to Martin, other Army veterans at the ceremony included Raymond Thibodeau, who enlisted just after the Vietnam war, Joel Levesque, who served during the Vietnam war, Elbridge Levesque, who served during the Vietnam war, and Richard Deschenes, who served during the Korean war.
Martin’s son, Philip Martin, who is a Vietnam veteran, said he was incredibly proud of his father.
“He’s a five-year World War II veteran,” said Philip, “but he says it didn’t count because he was stationed in Rhode Island. And I said, ‘Dad, you’re where they wanted you to be. You obeyed and you did your part.”
Paula Gendreau, Country Village Estates Activity Director, said that Martin spent the majority of his service in a tugboat off the coast of Rhode Island, and that he patrolled for any foreign ships. At one point, she said he shot down a German boat. Gendreau said Martin did not remember his rank upon leaving the military.
Martin was a member of the CCC’s, or Civilian Conservation Corps, for two years before joining the Army in World War II. He said he mostly served with the coast guard.
Philip Martin said that these two years allowed his father to grow accustomed to a military structure, which helped him out before he joined the Army in 1941.
Louis Dugal, administrator and owner of Country Village Estates, a retirement and assisted living facility, said the facility decided to celebrate Army Day for the different wars and conflicts that occurred during the month of January. Dugal said the facility has about five Army veterans in addition to a couple of Air Force veterans.
Dugal said it was great that the event could include a World War II veteran.
“We’re very happy to have him here as a resident,” he said. “Unfortunately, there aren’t too many left from that great generation in World War II. We’re very happy that [Martin] is here with us, that we could be part of his life, and he could be a part of ours.”
When asked how he lived to 104, Martin said “very carefully,” adding that there is no secret to living a long life.
In less than two months, Martin will be 105-years-old. His birthday is on March 1.
Philip Martin said Martin’s mother lived to be 99 and a half years old.
“He’s got good genes,” said Philip.
American Legion officials Edward Ellis, Maine 17th District Commander, and Joseph Michaud, American Legion Post 147 Commander, spoke about the sacrifices made by military veterans.
“I’m so proud,” said Ellis. “I served nine years in the military, two years in Vietnam. Please, be proud of each one of these gentlemen – their job, their sacrifice, and their coming home.”
Michaud presented Martin with a coin that commemorates 100 years of service to the Legion.
“And I have a little flag for you to pin on your sweater, or wherever you want, to remind you to remember the American flag. Sir, I salute you. Thank you.”
Dugal said it was an honor to be able to recognize the sacrifices made by their veteran residents.
“We respect and love our veterans,” Dugal said. “We thank them for all the sacrifices they’ve made for us for our freedoms. And we always want to recognize and thank them for what they’ve done.”