San Tan memorial to honor war dead - East Valley Tribune: Queen Creek & San Tan Valley

San Tan memorial to honor war dead

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Posted: Thursday, July 27, 2006 11:16 am | Updated: 3:59 pm, Fri Oct 7, 2011.

Robert “Nathan” Martens would have been honored to have a memorial in his name, but he would never have expected it

“He was humble,” said Robert Martens of his son who died last September while serving in Iraq. “He never looked for that kind of recognition. He was a behind-thescenes kind of guy.”

The 20-year-old Queen Creek High School graduate was a U.S. Navy hospitalman assigned to a Marine unit. He wanted to use his military service to go to school and become a pediatrician, his father said.

After being in Iraq only 10 days, the Humvee he rode in missed the edge of a bridge during a night mission and rolled. He was crushed underneath.

Nathan Martens, who left behind wife Erin and daughter Riley Jo, will soon have a memorial in San Tan Mountain Park, the same park he once rode horses in. The memorial will also recognize the more than 70 other Arizona military men and women who died in Iraq and Afghanistan.

San Tan Mountains PRIDE, the community service organization spearheading the effort, joined with government officials, an artist and construction experts to design and build the memorial.

“Nathan was so close to this community,” said Alden “Ros” Rosbrook of San Tan PRIDE.

Located near the park station, the memorial will feature a 70-foot steel pole to be used as a flagpole, a Navy-donated anchor and plaques with the names of all the Arizona military members killed in the line of duty during Operations Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom. There will also be four benches and a plaque with Nathan Martens’ story.

Construction will begin pending building permit approval from Maricopa County. Construction has been made possible through both cash and in-kind donations, but those involved in the project are still looking for fence, concrete and landscaping companies to help complete the memorial.

The Nathan Martens Arizona Memorial should be finished in time for a dedication ceremony planned for Veterans Day, Nov. 11.

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For information or to make a donation to the Nathan Martens Arizona Memorial, visit

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