Colonel Martin H. Mahrt was born in Rapid City, he moved to Custer in 1941. He graduated from Custer High in 1951 and the University of Notre Dame in 1955, where he was commissioned a 2nd Lt through the ROTC program. He married Colleen Wood of Pringle during the summer of 1955 and subsequently entered the service September 1955. After graduating from pilot training in December 1956, he began his Air Force career as a fighter pilot. He flew the F84F, F100 (A,C,D, and F) and the F105 D and F.
In December 1965 he was assigned to 333rd TFS [Tactical Fighter Squadron] in Thailand, and was shot down over North Vietnam and rescued. In 1968 was deployed to Korea when the USS Pueblo was captured. After graduating from the Air War College in 1974, Mahrt was assigned to the DAO [Defense Attache Office] in Saigon. When Saigon fell to the Communists on April 30,1975, he was evacuated by Air Force choppers and taken to the USS Midway. His next assignment was Nellis AFB to the TAC Fighter Weapons Center. At this time, he started RED Flag and was RED Flag Commander until 1978. He was also deployed to Canada and helped start Maple Flag.
In 1978 he was assigned to the Philippines as Vice Commander of the 3rd TFW [Tactical Fighter Wing], and subsequently Vice Commander of the13th Air Force. His next assignment was toWheeler AFB in Hawaii as Commander of 326th Air Division. Upon retirement in 1984 Col Mahrt returned to his home place, a ranch west of Custer.
Award include Legion of Merit (2OLC), Distinguished Flying Cross, Meritorious Service Aware (2 OLC) Air Medal (4 OLC) and the Purple Heart.
Colonel Mahrt has 5 children, 10 grandchildren. He and his wife sponsored a Vietnam refugee in 1975, who is now married and has six children. He is now involved with Operation Black Hills Cabin which provides a camping opportunity for recovering wounded veterans and their families.
Seven people were inducted into the Combat Air Crew Memorial section of the SD Aviation Hall of Fame during a ceremony at Black Hills Airport / Clyde Ice Field, Spearfish, on September 7, 2013.
Captain Alfred Dymock (Rapid City) was an F-86 pilot and flew 100 missions (126 hours of combat) between September 1951 and March 1952 during the Korean War. He had two confirmed MIG kills and one damaged MIG. He served in the 334th Fighter Squadron at Kimpo Air Base.