Martin John Ryan was born November 8, 1920 in Hillsboro,Oregon. At the age of 19 he joined the United States Marine Corps on July 22, 1940 and was eventually assigned to the 2nd Marine Brigade in San Diego, California as a Combat Infantry Rifleman until April 1941.
Private Ryan of Company B, 1st Battalion, 6th Marines, was reassigned to Company B, 1st Battalion, 6th Marines of the 1st Marine Brigade (PROV), which was a Brigade of 4,100 Marines sent to Iceland on July 7, 1941. Until that time, although a neutral country, Iceland was under the protection of Great Britain, but with the agreement of the Icelandic Government, the defense of Iceland was turned over to the United States of America. The 1st Marine Brigade provided for that defense until January 1942, when the responsibility was turned over to units of the United States Army.
Upon returning to San Diego, California the 1st Marine Brigade (PROV) was disbanded and newly promoted PFC Ryan was returned to B Company, 1st Battalion, 6th Marine Regiment, of the 2nd Marine Division.
In October 1942 the Division was sent to Wellington, New Zealand for training, and then to the Solomon Islands in January 1943 to help put an end to the Guadalcanal campaign. After which, in April 1943, the 2nd Marine Division was returned to Wellington, where Ryan was promoted to Corporal.
In November 1943 the entire 2nd Marine Division was tasked with the Gilbert Island campaign and fought the Battle for Tarawa. After a successful campaign the Division retired to the recently named Camp Tarawa in Hawaii where they trained for the invasion of Saipan in the Gilbert Islands.
In June, now Sergeant Ryan fought his way ashore with the 2nd Marine Division on Saipan, where he was killed in action on June 17th, 1944. In his nearly four years of service with the Marine Corps, Sergeant Ryan was awarded the Purple Heart Medal, a Combat Action Ribbon, a Navy Presidential Unit Citation, an American Defense Service Medal, an American Campaign Medal, the Europe-Africa-Middle East Campaign Medal, the Asiatic/Pacific Campaign Medal with 3 stars, and the World War II Victory Medal.
Sergeant Ryan currently lays at rest in the Mount Calvary Cemetery in Portland, Oregon.