Retired Navy Capt. Martin Emilius Carlson, 79, who was a military and civilian lawyer, died Wednesday at the Wisconsin Avenue Nursing Home after a long illness.

He was on active duty with the Navy from 1940 to 1954. During the war, he was commanding officer of the Naval Frontier Base in San Francisco.

From 1946 to 1949, Capt. Carlson was chief defense counsel for all Japanese in the war crime trials held by Navy in Guam. He was awarded the Navy Commendation Medal for his work during the trials.

He then was attached to the legal section of the Bureau of Yards and Docks here, where he was responsible for the liquidation or disposal of claims based upon unauthorized use of real estate.

After leaving the Navy, Capt. Carlson had a private law practice here for a number of years.

Born in Kewance, Ill., he was a graduate of the University of Chicago. He held bachelor's, master's and doctoral degrees in law, from the John Marshall Law School in Chicago.

Capt. Carlson was a member and past national secretary of the Judge Advocates Association and a member of the Maryland, Virginia, American and Inter-American Bar Associations.

He also belonged to Delta Theta Phi legal fraternity, the Military Order of World Wars, the Military Order of the Caraboa, Kena Temple, the Army and Navy Club and St. Alban's Episcopal Church.

He is survived by his wife, Ruth McRae Carlson, of the home in Summer, Md., two brothers and a sister.