Interview with Richard G. “Rick” Martinez

From the interview with Richard G. “Rick” Martinez of Port Townsend conducted by Patience Rogge on May 24, 2011 at the Fort Worden History Center. Mr. Martinez’s father Master Sergeant Fermin C. Martinez was stationed at Fort Worden with the 536th Engineer Boat and Shore Regiment from 1948 to 1950.  Although he has many fond memories of living in NCO Row at Fort Worden, Rick here recounts a dark moment in life on the post:

“”My little brother Ken was coming home from school.  The school bus dropped him off in front of the old NCO club.  He and another boy walked past the NCO club and saw a man and woman arguing.  He knew the man, I can’t recall his name but everyone knew him as Shorty.  His wife was Dotty.  The CO had kicked them off the post. They lost quarters and were living in town because she was alleged to be promiscuous.  My brother came home very excited and said, ’I saw Shorty shoot Dotty and then he shot himself.’ His little companion went next door and was screaming and incoherent.  At six or seven, they were old enough to know what happened and were horrified.  I called the MPs and reported that my brother had seen the incident. Soon, everything was abuzz on the post, and about a week later a fellow from Criminal Investigation Command came by, my mother wasn’t there, and he wanted to talk to my brother.  I called my mother who said it was OK, but that I should stop it if Ken got too upset.  We sat in the little kitchenette while they talked. The investigator was really good, he didn’t lead the little guy or upset him.  He got all the information out.  My brother was able to identify the number of rounds that were fired, the type of pistol (a war souvenir) that Shorty used, and where he shot Dotty and himself.  I was incredulous, I still am.  The investigator thanked us and we didn’t hear any more about it officially.  My brother completely forgot at the time, but 50 years later I reminded him and he started coming up with details.  Somehow, he had completely blanked it out after having told this officer.  So, that was the worst thing I can remember that ever happened on this post.”


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