Nurkkanen, Martin


Nurkkanen, Martin
Martin Nurkkanen
William Vollano
Martin Nurkkanen was born October 20, 1920 in Kaleva, Michigan. He was married in 1942 and in 1943 his son was born. Martin was then drafted into the army in February of 1943. He received basic training in Little Rock, Arkansas at Camp Robinson and then went on to Camp Phillips for additional training and finally Arizona for desert maneuvers. At the time of training, his unit, the 80th Infantry was to be deployed to North Africa, but by the time they were ready to deploy, that front was closed. Instead, Martin went with the 80th over to Europe on the Queen Mary, and then on to France. Martin’s unit landed at Omaha Beach, after the D-Day invasion, and proceeded through France. While at the Falaise Gap, Martin narrowly escaped being killed by a German shell by jumping into a ditch. The blast left his backpack in shreds and he was injured by the shrapnel. After being treated for his injuries, he was told he could choose not to go back to the front lines, but he decided to rejoin the 80th as he believed they still had a job to finish, and he wanted to help finish it. Along with the 80th, Martin relieved troops at Bastogne during the Battle of the Bulge. Martin’s unit crossed into Germany, liberating a concentration camp and then went on into Czechoslovakia. After the war ended, Martin traveled back to Camp McCoy, Wisconsin and was discharged. He then returned to his job at Ford Motor Company as a quality control employee.
Date Span
Dates of Service
Drafted; United States Army; 80th Infantry Division; World War, 1939-1945; Second World War - European Theater
Veterans History Project, American Folklife Center, Library of Congress
Collection Location
Spatial Coverage
Second World War - European Theater
Item sets