World War II Veterans Book: Martin Ables

An Excerpt

Martin Freeman Ables was born March 18, 1923.
He died April 1, 1945 in service to his country.
Father: Ralph Everett Ables, Sr.
Mother: Edna (Hufstetler) Ables.
Brothers: Ralph Everett, Jr., Charles, Bill, Raymond, Edgar (Ed)
Sisters: Ruth Driskill, Mary Burke, Lois Baggett, Sara Noles, Rebecca Goggans.

Martin Ables

Martin Ables lived most of his life in Fyffe, Alabama, and graduated from Fyffe High School in 1941. Not waiting to be drafted, Martin volunteered his service to his country, enlisting with the US Army in Tuscaloosa on November 30, 1942.

After basic training Martin was sent to the European Theater where he was attached to Company D, 290th Infantry Regiment, 75th Infantry Division. Landing in Le Harve and Rouen, France December 13, 1944, it was moved to the front to fight the German Ardennes counteroffensive of December 16, entering defensive positions along the Ourthe River. Ables spent Christmas of 1944 and New Years 1945 in heavy combat around Sadzot and the Aisne River. The division had moved to Ribeauville in Alsace-Lorraine by the end of January. The 290th Infantry Regiment crossed the Rhine March 24, 1945, in the wake of the 30th and 79th Infantry Divisions. The 290th attacked through the pinned 8th Armored Division and reached the Dortmund-Ems Canal near Datteln on April 1, 1945, the day Martin gave his life for his country. He served for two and a half years and was engaged in the Battle of the Ruhr River in Germany when he was killed. He had advanced to the rank of sergeant.

In the latter stages of the Ruhr River Battle, the Germans had retreated; however, they left ground mines behind. Martin and one other soldier were in a Jeep, returning from picking up two wounded men, to take for medical treatment. Leaving the road to go around a tank, they ran over a ground mine and all four men were killed. This happened on April 1, 1945. Just two weeks later, on April 15th, the 1st Army broadened the point of contact with the 9th Army at the Ruhr, and turned both to the west and the east to crush the remaining opposition. With the German food supply down to three days, organized resistance in the Ruhr district ended on the morning of April 18. The allied forces had taken more than 317,000 German prisoners, including 24 generals and an admiral.

Germany made a complete surrender on May 7, 1945, ending World War II in Europe. May 8th was declared VE Day.

A few weeks after Martin’s parents received word of his death, they got a letter from his commanding officer telling them what an outstanding soldier and person Martin was, and the positive influence he had had on the men in his company.

Medals awarded: Purple Heart Medal, Combat Infantryman’s Badge, American Campaign Medal, European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal with three Bronze Battle Stars (for Rhineland, Ardennes-Alsace and central Europe), World War II Victory Medal

Martin Ables was buried in Holland. A nice lady there took care of his grave, placing flowers on it and sending pictures of it to his family.

In 1947, the Geraldine First Baptist Church voted to establish a cemetery. In 1948 Sergeant Martin Freeman Ables’ body was brought to Geraldine, Alabama and on November 13, he was the first person to be buried in the new cemetery.

His sister, Mary Burke, commented: “Martin was such a loving and wonderful person. He is still missed by his brothers and sisters.”