The late Martin Cline, a Dunlap native, served three tours of duty in the United States Navy during the Vietnam War era after volunteering in March of 1969. He was honorably discharged in February 1971 and had earned several medals and commendations.
After his service he married, had three daughters, and went to work. He eventually took a position at Moorhead State Bank and worked there through the transition to the United Bank of Iowa, retiring in 2012.
Cline passed away on Aug. 30, 2018, and at that time, had not received the medals he had earned during his years in the Navy.
That was remedied on Tuesday, Aug. 27, in Missouri Valley, just days prior to the first anniversary of his death.
Cline’s widow, Evie, his three daughters, family, friends, veterans, and local dignitaries joined United States Congressman Steve King at the Rand Community Center in honoring Cline and his faithful service.
“There are a couple of really good privileges that come along with this job – this is one, to present medals to the family or the warrior who so richly deserved them,” King said. “I know that when medals are presented, they become a family legacy. The legacy that is left is one of freedom.”
Evie Cline offered a prayer for the gathering and spoke lovingly of her husband before offering a message of gratitude for everyone who played a part in honoring him.
“If you knew Marty, even just a little bit, you would know he wouldn’t want this attention, but don’t get me wrong, he was very, very proud to have served this country. He just never wanted the spotlight,” she said. “The legacy these medals represent for his children and grandchildren are just priceless.”
She added that one of the first things one would notice about her husband was his smile.
“He had a smile that would light up a room,” she said. “We adopted a saying when he was ill and that is S.M.I.L.E – See Marty In Life Everyday. I can’t help but think that he is smiling down on us today.”
Martin Cline lived a rich life of service, hard work, and dedication to his family and church. He served on the Moorhead Fire and Rescue squad, as well as on his church board and as a deacon, and he was a member of the Peter A. Hanson American Legion Post #365 of Moorhead.
“I am well aware that the anniversary (of his death) is coming, and that will be a sad and a happy day for you all as you remember his life,” King said.
King presented the medals to Cline’s daughters, including the Combat Action Ribbon, Meritorious Unit Commendation, National Defense Service Medal, Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal (Korea), Vietnam Service Medal with three Bronze Service Stars, Korea Defense Service Medal, Honorable Discharge Button, and the Honorable Reserve Discharge Button.
Additionally, Cline earned the Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal with 1960 Device, but because it is a foreign award that is not issued by the U.S. Navy, it was not presented to the family.
“These are medals that your father earned. They are symbols of the legacy he has given to all of us,” King said. “God bless him, his memory, and all of you. His spirit lives in all of you. Thank you for all you have done to support our country.”
“We are deeply grateful to receive these medals,” Evie said. “The legacy these medals will represent for his children and grandchildren is just priceless, and we thank you from the bottom of our hearts.”