Martha Cothorn was born in a small coal mining town in West Virginia (Besoco). When the mines closed her family moved to the Detroit area. Her father took a job as a crane operator for Jones and Lockland. After attending grammer and high school in Highland Park, whe took her nursing training at Hillard in New Orleans. Martha joined the Army Reserves and received her final two years through the Government in exchange for three years of active service.
Martha's basic training was at Fort Sam Houston in Texas. Within nine months of active service, she was sent to Vietnam and was assigned to the 67th Evacuation Hospital in Qui Nhon, Vietnam. Eventually she was Head Nurse in the Medical and Psychiatric Units. The Evacuation Hospital would receive patients directly from the field and would attempt to patch them up. Patients would either be returned to their unit or transferred to the Field Hospital in Saigon. Typical patients had hepatitis, malaria, or PTSD. Suicides were not unusual.
Martha met her husband in Vietnam. She was eventually transferred to Fort Devens where she got married. She went into the Reserves after her marriage because her husband, who was in the Diplomatic Service, was assigned to Laos. Southern Cal University had a branch in Seoul and she was able to get her Masters Degree from that unit.
Martha served for 30 years in active and reserve service. When she returned to civilian life she worked at the VA Hospitals in Detroit and Ann Arbor. She has two adult children who graduated from college. Both live in other towns. Martha joined the Vietnam Veterans of America when in Washington. When she settled in Ann Arbor she joined the local unit of VVA Post 310 and is currently the president. Actually she is the first female president on VVA Post 310.
Martha has many awards including the higher non-combat medal and the Bronze Star. She currently lives in Ann Arbor, Michigan.