Jennifer Jo Martin was born on January 23rd, 1972, to Robert W. Morey Jr. and Carol J. Nissen Morey in Davenport, IA. She was raised alongside two sisters and one brother. Not much is recorded of Martin’s early life, except for the fact that she enlisted with the United States Army after graduating high school. Martin would serve in the U.S. Army with the Military Police (MP) during the era of the Persian Gulf War.
In August 1990, Iraqi President Saddam Hussein ordered his military to invade the neighboring country Kuwait. Saudi Arabia and Egypt called upon the United States and its Western allies to intervene in the conflict, which led to the United Nations Security Council demanding Iraqi withdrawal from Kuwait. Hussein refused these demands, so in response the U.S.-led coalition engaged in a 42 day air offensive that devastated the Iraqi forces. By mid-February of 1991, the coalition shifted to a ground offensive: “A massive allied ground offensive, Operation Desert Sabre, was launched on February 24, with troops heading from northeastern Saudi Arabia into Kuwait and southern Iraq. Over the next four days, coalition forces encircled and defeated the Iraqis and liberated Kuwait.”
Since Martin was an MP, she would have been stationed performing a number of support tasks that helped the forces of Desert Sabre conduct their offensive. Army Military Police conduct a number of tasks that support the infantry’s operations, as well as prisoner of war management:
Military police supervise or provide support to the battlefield by conducting maneuver and mobility support (MMS), area security, internment resettlement operations, police intelligence operations, prisoner of war operations, civilian internee operations, law and order operations on the battlefield and support to the peacetime Army community through security of critical Army resources, crime prevention programs and preservation of law and order.
The supporting roles played by the Military Police during Desert Sabre ensured the successful liberation of Kuwait from the Iraqi invaders. It is likely that Martin received her Army Commendation Medal for her service in the Persian Gulf Conflict. The medal is awarded for “consistent acts of heroism or meritorious service. The award is given by local commanders, allowing for generous interpretation of the criteria for which the medal is given… The ARCOM is frequently given to enlisted members and junior officers as an end-of-tour award.” The ARCOM being granted to Martin indicates that she fulfilled her role with a level of skill and valor that impressed her commander.
Martin would later retire from the Army, returning to her native Iowa. She had two children who she loved dearly, and a close knit-group of friends and family who helped to support them when the need arose. She took great pride in her job at Verizon Conferencing, referring to her coworkers there as her “Verizon Family”. She tragically passed away at the young age of 41 at her sister’s home in LeClaire, IA on March 20th, 2013. Martin’s sister found the following Hunter S. Thompson quote among her belongings and felt that it serves as the perfect epitaph for Jennifer Jo Martin: “Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside in a cloud of smoke, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming ‘Wow! What a Ride!’”