Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Soldier stays in top form with public affairs duties

His recruiter wanted him to be a fire direction control specialist, someone who determines the trajectory of rounds needed to hit targets coming from various weapons. But, the 24-year old from Bountiful, Utah, knew that working with angles associated with artillery were not the kind of angles best suited for him. He wanted to be a journalist and tell the stories of fire direction control specialists. Fortunately, the recruiter found a position at the 426th Medical Unit in Salt Lake City, and Anthony J. Martinez found his calling.

These days, 1st Sgt. Martinez is training for another deployment to Baghdad, Iraq. His schedule has temporarily taken him away from a position at the U.S. Army Reserve Command Headquarters in Washington, D.C.

Prior to his present assignment with the 211th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment in Bryan, Texas, Martinez participated as an integral part of the Army Reserve Command’s public affairs training and readiness branch. His assignment to the branch in 2006 came after more than 18 years as an Army public affairs specialist.

His wide-ranging public affairs services include: news writing, photojournalism, feature story writing, speeches, media relations, community relations, and broadcast news audio and video stories.

After returning from deployment and coming back to the Army Reserve Command, Martinez will continue to spend his time working on training regiments for all Army Reserve public affairs units. Martinez oversees operations and resources available that prepare Soldiers for public affairs missions. His biggest goal with the command center is to help establish more networking between PA units so that they are sharing lessons learned in the field.

Giving credit and providing coverage to servicemembers and to their accomplishments is what public affairs is all about, said Martinez. He added, “People back home can say that’s my son, my dad, my brother, my sister.”

Martinez has had an affinity for news and current events his whole life. “As a kid, I loved National Geographic articles,” he said. It is the process of getting the interview and capturing the story, using words and pictures, that keeps his focus.

Top is an unofficial greeting that is only attached to first sergeants. Soldiers from all over the world use it affectionately.

One of Top’s stories he fondly recalls was during a previous deployment in Iraq. He covered a former Army truck driver turned robotic repair specialist. Somebody discovered this Soldier had a knack for more than truck driving, and Top revealed that he had the specific responsibility for detonating bombs. Top said it was a nice surprise for the Soldier to be interviewed.

Martinez says he is right where he wants to be. He is happy with the progress of the 211th, and he is looking forward to covering more Soldiers’ stories. He works all the angles and continues to search for that keen story which tells what life is like being an Army fire direction control specialist.


David M said...

The Thunder Run has linked to this post in the blog post From the Front: 12/10/2008 News and Personal dispatches from the front and the home front.

Familia Martinez said...

Not only is "Top" a great soldier and journalist but he is a great husband and father. We are proud of him and grateful for the service he gives to us as well as to the Army. You are truly being led by the best!