Flight 53 Last Flights - In Memoriam
Colonel Bruce A. Martin, passed away peacefully at his home in Cape Neddick, ME on February 2, 2018 surrounded by family after a two year valiant battle with pancreatic cancer. Born in New York City, NY on February 13, 1933, to George and Florence Martin, Bruce was raised in West Boylston, MA and Ogunquit, ME. After earning a Bachelor’s Degree from the University of Vermont in 1955, he entered the Marine Corps through the Officer Candidate program in January of 1956. He achieved and proudly wore the Naval Aviator Wings of Gold and the Navy and Marine Corps Parachute Wings. Col Martin flew 235 combat missions in Vietnam, accumulating over 5000 accident-free flight hours in the F-8 and A-4 airframes. His decorations include: The Defense Superior Service Medal, Distinguished Flying Cross (3 awards), Purple Heart, Meritorious Service Medal, numerous Air Medals, Navy Commendation Medal with Combat V, and various campaign and unit citations.
Following command tours of Marine Attack Squadron 322 (VMA-322) and Marine Aircraft Group 49 (MAG-49), Col Martin served as a Legislative Aide and later Plans and Policy Director in the Office of the Secretary of Defense. He retired in 1985 after completion of 30 years of faithful service. He completed his Master’s Degree in Government and National Security Studies at Georgetown University in 1987 while enjoying life on his sailboat at The Capitol Yacht Club, often carousing with fellow Marines in the DC area. Some of them referred to him as “Lefty” due to his political leanings relative to most of his comrades yet all remember him as a special and unique Officer with unwavering ethical integrity.
Bruce was a touchstone for many; curious, charming, funny and flirtatious with a sharp sense of humor. He loved being a Marine, fighter pilot, Ogunquit beach lifeguard, sailor on the Jessica B, marathon runner, hiker, ferocious reader, and writer where he spent his retirement years traveling the world with his love, Annie, reviewing hotels for AAA, Hilton and Loews Hotels. He also had a soft spot for cats, dogs, birds, flowers, music and a good bottle of red wine. He was an active member of many clubs and organization to include the New York Yacht Club, the Quiet Birdmen, Marine Corps League, Daedalus, Military Officers Association of America, the Tailhook Association, the Appalachian Trail Conservancy and the National Audubon Society.
He is preceded in death by his parents, son Bruce A. Martin, Jr. and his wife Annie Holt Sullivan. He is survived by two adult children William M. Martin of Wells, ME and Sarah Moseley Martin of New Orleans, LA and his step-daughter and son-in law Lisa and John Gaudet of Wells, ME.
A Memorial Service saluting Bruce’s exceptional life is planned for June 2nd at the Cape Neddick Country Club at 2PM with follow-on full military honor services at Arlington National Cemetery when available. Memorial contributions may be made in his name to the Animal Welfare Society, PO Box 43, West Kennebunk, ME 04094
The family extends their gratitude to Dr. James Cleary at Dana Farber, Hospice of York County, Comfort Keepers and the tireless many that came from near and far to attend to the countless needs the past couple of years demanded.
Robert William Fortnam(1922 – 2017)
Robert William Fortnam passed away peacefully, at age 94, in Concord, Tuesday August 1, 2017. Born on Aug. 15, 1922, Bob was the oldest of the four sons of William and Olive Fortnam, growing up in Wollaston, Mass.
After the start of World War II, Bob joined the U.S. Army Air Corp in 1942 as an Aviation Mechanic later becoming a pilot and flying the B-17 Bomber, AKA the “Flying Fortress”. He was part of the 305th Bomb Group. In October 1943 he was shot down over Holland. After a successful crash landing, he and his crew were captured by the Germans and sent to Luft Stalag III in Germany. He remained as POW for 18 months until liberated in April 1945. In 2011, he was awarded the “Air Medal” by the U.S. military for “outstanding airmanship, displayed under extremely hazardous conditions”.
In 1949, Bob earned a BS in Mechanical Engineering from UNH. He married Marion L. Johnson in 1945, settled in Nashua and raised five children. He worked for Nashua Corporation, Baker Chocolate and Austin Gordon Design. He
maintained a flying career in the USAF Reserve, attained rank of Colonel, and continued flying USAF missions all over the world for many years.
As a civilian pilot, he became a flight instructor at Boire field in Nashua, having taught many pilots to fly including his three sons. He was an active member and officer of the NH Flying Association. He was an active member of The Masonic Temple, United Flying Octogenarians, Daedalians, MOAA, QB, the VA POW group, and the 305th Bomb group. He was passionate about the NH Aviation Museum in Manchester, where he was a docent /volunteer and enjoyed giving tours and talks. Bob received the FAA Wright Brothers Master Pilot Award which recognizes pilots who have demonstrated “professionalism, skill and aviation expertise by maintaining safe operations for 50 years or more”. Bob flew for 71 years!
After losing Marion in 1993, he married Janet Witham in 1996 and they have enjoyed 21 years together. He is survived by his wife, Janet (Witham) Fortnam; brother, Richard Fortnam of Hilliard, Ohio; five children, Douglas
and Deanne Fortnam of Nashua, Carol and George Bertsimas of Pembroke, Bruce and Michelle Fortnam of Portola Valley, Calif., Kenneth and Annie Fortnam of Windham, Maine and Janice and Paul Ritter of Nashua; two step children, Glen and Pam Hamburg of Big Bear, Calif. and Laurie and Wayne Reichman of Castle Rock, Colo.; 10 grandchildren, six step-grandchildren, seven great-grandchildren and many nieces and nephews. He is predeceased by brothers, George and Allan Fortnam
Bob is interned at Boscawen Veterans Cemetery.
In lieu of flowers, memorial donations can be made to the Aviation Museum of NH or the Blinded Veteran’s Association.