MARVIN L “MARTY” SINCLAIR
March 9, 1945 – November 7, 2019
Marty was born to Marvin Joseph Sinclair (1914-1983) and Faye D. Dowling Sinclair on March 9, 1945 in Boonville, Missouri. The nice thing about being surrounded by extended family is that while his father was away to war, there was still plenty of family to share loving support during Marty’s first few years. It was the same small town Marty’s father had been born in and ultimately was shown to have unbreakably strong roots. Marty’s parents met and married while both attended Cumberland University in Lebanon, Tennessee. Both came from small towns, he from Boonville, and she from Walnut, Kansas. His father, Marvin, graduated with a law degree with the intent of practicing law. Who could have forseen, when they married in February of 1941, the war that would engulf the world and set aside their immediate dreams. Father Marvin served as a LTJG in the US Navy from 1944 to 1946 then returned to small-town Boonville and his newborn son to practice law. As Marty grew, so did his parent’s family. Joining him were sisters Sharon Sinclair Miller and Patricia Sinclair Willer. Marty was priviledged to attend private Catholic School Bishop Dubourg High school in St. Louis, graduating in 1963.
Whatever plans Marty had upon graduating High School changed with the same strong call-to-duty that once beckoned his father to take up arms in the defense of his nation. After the rigors of Basic Training and Infantry School, it was decided for Marty that the big, bad Central Highlands of Vietnam were to be his new home for an entire year. Marty chose not to simply endure his year, he decided to create havoc for our nation’s enemy. Initially, he was assigned to 1/22 Inf Rgmt of the 4th Inf Div as a “grunt” – Light weapons infantryman. The warrior in his DNA saw him volunteer for the LRRPs (Long Range Reconnaissance Patrol) of 2nd Bde, 4th Infantry Division. In the initial stages of the United States presence in Vietnam, the clear lack of real-time intelligence nearly allowed the NVA to overrun our forces in the Ia Drang, a battle related in the book and movie “We Were Soldiers Once….and Young”. Shortly after that hard-won battle, the 1/7th Cav was replaced by the 4th Infantry Division with the mission to “Tame the Ia Drang”. One of the first decisions was to determine how best to know the enemy. The solution was to insert 4-man teams of Rangers, then called LRRPs, to surreptitiously live in the jungle amongst the enemy. They would be inserted into the jungle for extended missions and patrol an area of suspected enemy concentration to uncover weaknesses and eliminate when possible. Later, in 1969, an Army-wide re-designation of all LRRPs transitioned them into K Co., 75th Infantry Regiment (Ranger). Marty and the teams from 2nd Bde LRRPs he went to battle with ran missions out of the infamous Firebase “Oasis” in Kontum Province. His decision to volunteer was courageous and dangerous, but no young soldier who proudly wore the “Tiger Stripe Fatigues” ever regretted that decision.
Marty saw more than his fair share of combat with the LRRPs he fought with. He earned a reputation as a warrior and man to be counted upon even in the most perilous situations. He is held in the highest regard by his brother Rangers who dole that respect out sparingly and never unjustly. Marty was presented numerous awards and decorations for his service including one of the most honored awards the Combat Infantryman’s Badge, awarded only to infantrymen wh have engaged in battle. Marty spent an entire year trying simply “not to die”. Upon discharge he apparently decided it was time to begin to live.
Marty settled in Califorina and married Aura N. Pineda Sinclair (1956) on July 3, 1978 in Marin County, California. He spent the greater portion of his life “living” in San Francisco enjoying the riding motorcycles, quoting great literature and simply enjoying the life Vietnam tried to take from him. Marty was always very proud to have been a LRRP / Ranger and despite living in the liberal capitol of the world never wanted to be known as anything other than a proud American Veteran.
In the end Cancer was to claim the same, but older, Marty that the entire horde of North Vietnamese could not. He fought Cancer as he had our enemies but after a long and courageous battle succumbed November 7, 2019. It was finally time to go home after all his wars. He returned to Boonville with services held in St. Louis that he might be close to his parents who rest in Resurrection Cemetery, St. Louis, Missouri. His was a life journey worthy of a Ranger.