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.
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.
...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)
...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)
...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)
...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)
...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)
...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)
...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)