Shawn Martin, a former Elsmere volunteer fireman and eight-year veteran of the U.S. Marine Corps, was killed Wednesday, June 27, in Iraq by a roadside bomb.
The Delmar native, who most recently was living in San Clemente, Calif., with his wife had been in Iraq just five weeks when he was killed. The 1995 Bethlehem high school graduate was one of 12 U.S. troops killed in Iraq in a 48-hour period.
Martin was a sergeant in the Marines and a Marine explosive ordinance specialist for the 13th Marine Expeditionary unit. His job was to defuse improvised explosive devices or roadside bombs.
According to family spokesman Terry Hannigan, Martin was in the process of defusing a roadside bomb when a second bomb exploded, killing him.
Hannigan said Martin had been interested in the military since childhood. He was skilled at Tae Kwon Do and grew up around the Elsmere Fire Department where his father and grandfather were both volunteers. Martin served as a volunteer with the department from 1995-2000.
He was the poster child for the Marines. He would do things the hard way, Hannigan said. "Not saying that the other branches are lesser, but it's understood that the Marine Corps is the toughest branch and that was the attraction to Shawn."
Martin was characterized as someone who was destined to serve others and a natural leader.
"Some people want to go to Wall Street and make money; other people, fortunately, like Shawn have a great calling to serve us in a vocation for the greater good," Hannigan said.
Due to the nature of Martin's job with the Marines, he was scheduled for a short tour in Iraq and was supposed to return home in August. Hannigan said he had already reenlisted and was planning to return to combat.
"This isn't a guy that was looking for himself; he actually found himself," Hannigan said. "He was a Marine and he was good at what he did."