Bill Martin joined the U.S. Army on December 13, 1965. Within a year he shipped out on the USS Barrett from Oakland, California to Quy Nhon, South Vietnam. He served as a forward observer with an infantry unit, calling is artillery fire in support of their operations. He spend most of his time at LZ Tom, an artillery fire base in northern South Vietnam near Highway 1. After 18 months in Vietnam, he was hit in the leg with mortar shrapnel, and was shipped home. Since the war, Martin has participated in numerous veteran organizations, as well as projects that continue to aid and celebrate American war veterans. One of these projects was the creation of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Springfield, Illinois.