Going After Cacciato

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Lieutenant Sidney Martin Character Analysis

Lieutenant Sidney Martin is the proud, arrogant commander who leads Paul Berlin’s squad at the beginning of the novel. Martin quickly alienates his troops by demanding that they “clear” all Vietcong tunnels before throwing grenades into them—a strategy that results in the deaths of many of Martin’s troops, including Bernie Lynn and Frenchie Tucker. Although O’Brien never says so explicitly, it’s strongly suggested that Martin’s own soldiers, led by Oscar Johnson, agree to kill Martin with a grenade, reasoning that they’ll be safer with another lieutenant.
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Lieutenant Sidney Martin Character Timeline in Going After Cacciato

The timeline below shows where the character Lieutenant Sidney Martin appears in Going After Cacciato. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 1
Fantasy, Magical Realism, and Storytelling Theme Icon
Vietnam and the Chaos of War Theme Icon
Discontinuity and Trauma Theme Icon
Survival and Self-Preservation Theme Icon
...has died of fright in the middle of a battle, as have several others: Sidney Martin, Ready Mix, Bernie Lynn, and more. Some of the people who have survived the battle... (full context)
Chapter 4
Vietnam and the Chaos of War Theme Icon
Obligation vs. Escape Theme Icon
Discontinuity and Trauma Theme Icon
Survival and Self-Preservation Theme Icon
...buck sergeant, Oscar Johnson. Doc Peret is the medic. The platoon leader is Lieutenant Sidney Martin. While he is Lieutenant, Martin alienates his soldiers by ordering them to search tunnels thoroughly... (full context)
Chapter 9
Vietnam and the Chaos of War Theme Icon
Discontinuity and Trauma Theme Icon
The chapter begins in the middle of a battle scene. Lieutenant Sidney Martin has just commanded his soldiers—who include Doc, Rudy, Stink, Bernie Lynn, and Frenchie Tucker—to clear... (full context)
Chapter 14
Fantasy, Magical Realism, and Storytelling Theme Icon
Vietnam and the Chaos of War Theme Icon
Obligation vs. Escape Theme Icon
Discontinuity and Trauma Theme Icon
...just stepped into the tunnel, and been murdered while trying to secure the area. Sidney Martin calmly says, “Somebody’s got to go down.” Oscar, furious with Martin, says that there’s no... (full context)
Chapter 16
Vietnam and the Chaos of War Theme Icon
Survival and Self-Preservation Theme Icon
...concludes, and the lull persists—there’s no sign of danger anywhere in the village. Lieutenant Sidney Martin tells his troops that they’ll have to begin searching more tunnels and bunkers. Cacciato enjoys... (full context)
Chapter 22
Obligation vs. Escape Theme Icon
Discontinuity and Trauma Theme Icon
Survival and Self-Preservation Theme Icon
...but he still wears his wedding ring. He’s different from other lieutenants, such as Sidney Martin, in that he doesn’t place too much emphasis on routine. Whereas Martin orders single men... (full context)
Vietnam and the Chaos of War Theme Icon
Discontinuity and Trauma Theme Icon
Survival and Self-Preservation Theme Icon
...men go by their surnames and nothing else—Cacciato, for example. Still others, such as Sidney Martin, go by their rank alone—lieutenant. (full context)
Chapter 25
Obligation vs. Escape Theme Icon
Survival and Self-Preservation Theme Icon
During Berlin’s early days as a soldier, Lieutenant Sidney Martin orders his soldiers through the mountains. There is no rain, and the soldiers are hot... (full context)
Obligation vs. Escape Theme Icon
Survival and Self-Preservation Theme Icon
Lieutenant Sidney Martin tells his troops that there will be a battle very soon. He cautions them to... (full context)
Fantasy, Magical Realism, and Storytelling Theme Icon
Obligation vs. Escape Theme Icon
Survival and Self-Preservation Theme Icon
...side. He lowers his gaze to his feet, avoiding the sights of the mountains. Sidney Martin admires his fortitude, but Paul Berlin does not notice—he’s too focused on climbing forward. (full context)
Chapter 27
Obligation vs. Escape Theme Icon
Discontinuity and Trauma Theme Icon
Survival and Self-Preservation Theme Icon
...experiences earlier in the year. After climbing through the mountains, ordered on by Lieutenant Sidney Martin, Berlin found himself in the midst of a large battle. Trees were burning, and shots... (full context)
Chapter 34
Fantasy, Magical Realism, and Storytelling Theme Icon
Vietnam and the Chaos of War Theme Icon
Obligation vs. Escape Theme Icon
Survival and Self-Preservation Theme Icon
...after the deaths of Frenchie Tucker and Bernie Lynn, Oscar Johnson is arguing with Sidney Martin. Martin wants to follow standard operating procedure by sending one soldier to explore the tunnels... (full context)
Fantasy, Magical Realism, and Storytelling Theme Icon
Obligation vs. Escape Theme Icon
Discontinuity and Trauma Theme Icon
Survival and Self-Preservation Theme Icon
As the soldiers wait for Martin to emerge—or not emerge—from the tunnel, they discuss what has just happened. Martin has written... (full context)
Vietnam and the Chaos of War Theme Icon
Obligation vs. Escape Theme Icon
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While Lieutenant Sidney Martin is in the tunnel, Oscar raises his grenade. He tells everyone present to touch the... (full context)
Chapter 45
Vietnam and the Chaos of War Theme Icon
Obligation vs. Escape Theme Icon
Discontinuity and Trauma Theme Icon
Survival and Self-Preservation Theme Icon
...about the “facts.” Buff, Ready Mix, Rudy Chassler, Pederson, Frenchie Tucker, Bernie Lynn, and Sidney Martin are all dead. (full context)