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KITJuly 18, 1969 - AUGUST 7, 2002
TSgt Martin Tracy was one of the military personnel aboard the USAF MC-130H Combat Talon cargo aircraft that slammed into a mountainside on August 7, 2002, about 15 miles south of San Juan, Puerto Rico.The special operations aircraft went down in heavy fog and rain during a nighttime training flight from NAS Roosevelt Roads in Puerto Rico to Borinquen Air National Guard Base on the west coast of Puerto Rico. All 10 on board perished.
TSgt Tracy was a Combat Controller in the 123rd Special Tactics Squadron, Kentucky Air National Guard, Louisville, Kentucky, for more than six years.
He began his military career in 1987 as a vehicle mechanic in the Army National Guard's 50th Ordinance Battalion. One year later, Tracy left his position with the Army and joined the active duty Air Force, where he served as a survival instructor in the 22nd Training Squadron at Fairchild Air Force Base, Washington, until 1996. During his assignment, Sergeant Tracy was instrumental in the testing of parachutist operations from the C-17 Globemaster, the USAF's premier airlifter.
Once this assignment was complete, TSgt Tracy left active duty and joined the Kentucky Air National Guard's 123d Special Tactics Squadron, where he earned his red beret and became a Combat Controller after accomplishing some of the military's most grueling training. TSgt Tracy, like many Combat Controllers, stayed deployed over 200 days a year.
In the latter part of 2001, Martin was placed on federal mobility orders and deployed to Afghanistan in support of Operation ENDURING FREEDOM (OEF). During his deployment, he played a vital role as part of an Army Special Forces team. He regularly participated in ground combat operations to identify and attack Taliban forces. Additionally, his efforts to assist with humanitarian aid continued to help rebuild and stabilize the war-torn region in which he operated.
Shortly after returning from his OEF deployment, TSgt Tracy deployed in support of Special Operations Command-South, Puerto Rico, to augment vital ongoing operations in that region. His contributions to the mission were lauded as exemplary.
TSgt Martin Tracy's awards and decorations include the Bronze Star Medal with Valor, the Meritorious Service Medal, the Joint Service Commendation Medal, the Air Force Commendation Medal, the Air Force Achievement Medal with one device, the Air Force Outstanding Unit Medal with three devices, and the Kentucky Distinguished Service Medal.