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Martin, Marshall CDR

9/11 Pentagon Attack Oral History

"The CACO system was not designed for a mass casualty."

"My whole thing during the whole thing was taking care of the family."

Date of Interview: 6 February 2002

Interviewers: CAPT Michael McDaniel, CDR Karen Loftus, & YNCS Kathleen Wright, USNR, Navy Combat Documentation Detachment 206

At the time of the attack, CDR Martin was serving as the commanding officer (CO) of the Navy Ceremonial Guard.  On the morning of the attack, he was at work at what was the Navy Facility at Anacostia, now Joint Base Anacostia-Bolling.

Martin, Marshall CDR
Title: Martin, Marshall CDR

Oral History Summary:

CDR Martin served as the Casualty Assistance Calls Officer (CACO) for the family LT Patrick Dunn.  LT Dunn was serving in the OPNAV N513 office in the Navy Command Center when the plane hit the Pentagon.  As CACO, CDR Martin was the Navy's representative who notified the Dunn family whenever the Navy had official updates about the status of LT Dunn.  He also provided assistance with the bureaucratic matters once LT Dunn's remains were identified.  More than anything else, CDR Martin provided support and worked to ease the burdens on the family of LT Dunn.  He was joined in the CACO process by a chaplain and CDR Kevin Hannes, a representative from LT Dunn's command, OPNAV N3/N5.

Beyond serving as the CACO for the family of LT Dunn, which was a 24/7 commitment for several weeks, CDR Martin also had to continue his work as the CO of the Navy Ceremonial Guard.  The Ceremonial Guard provides funeral support for Navy funerals at Arlington National Cemetery and other Navy funerals in a 50-mile radius of Washington, D.C.  Other than CDR Martin, six other chiefs and officers serving in the Ceremonial Guard also served as CACOs.  This meant that, during a period when the Navy was planning numerous funerals at Arlington, the younger members of the Ceremonial Guard were often left without leadership.  CDR Martin had to ensure that did not cause issues.  He, and everyone else in the Ceremonial Guard, was also struggling with the loss of a petty officer who had only just left the Ceremonial Guard and started working in the Navy Command Center, ET2 Brian Moss.

In his oral history, CDR Martin also provided several lessons learned regarding the CACO process, the power struggles between different commands involved in the process, and the breakdowns in communications those struggles often caused.  He also talked about the Joint Family Assistance Center (JFAC) and how much easier the JFAC made his job.

Content Warnings: Sensitive Content

Oral History Abstract and Transcript: Martin, Marshall CDR Pentagon Attack Oral History (PDF, 586kb)

Related Oral Histories:

Ceremonial Guard

Hannes, Kevin CDR

Spurgeon, Todd ETC

Published: Thu Jun 24 13:47:07 EDT 2021