Commander of U.S. Army Garrison Okinawa promoted to colonel
The Commander of U.S. Army Garrison Okinawa was promoted to full colonel during a ceremony Feb. 27 at Havana’s on Torii Station.
Col. Eric Martinez’s spread eagles were pinned on by Commanding General, U.S. Army – Japan and I Corps (Forward), Maj. Gen. James C. Boozer Sr. and Martinez’s wife Heidi in a ballroom packed with dozens of friends, Family, Soldiers and subordinates.
Martinez told those gathered that although he never specifically set his sights on achieving the highest field-grade rank in the Army, his intent was always to serve.
“Only in America a non-English speaking applicant receives the opportunity of a lifetime, joins the Army and as you can see today the rest is history,” said Martinez. When I first joined the Army I never dreamed of becoming a Colonel, all I wanted to be is a Soldier.”
A strong support network of mentors and peers helped keep Martinez on track during his more than 20 years in the Army.
“One of my mentors, Brig. Gen. Hector Pagan always shared with his subordinates and I quote: ‘This promotion is not about you, it’s about the people that helped you get there.’ I realize that I did not get here on my own, my heart goes out to my mentors who are unable to be here today," said Martinez.
"They helped me so much along the way with their wisdom, leadership and with their abilities to coach. I would like to mention some of their names, please bear with me as I pay tribute to these great leaders: Maj. Gen. Felix Santoni, Brig. Gen. Pagan, Marine Corps Col. Lon M. Yeary, Navy Capt. David O’Brien, Dr. Curtis Gilroy, Navy Capt. Chris Arendt, Air Force Col. Mariano Campos and Maj. Curt Croom. Most have retired from the service but continue to reach out and serve our country in so many other ways,” he said.
Martinez also said the support from his Family was vital to his success in the Army.
“Every rank I have ever attained is due to their support and sacrifice while keeping up with their own requirements and numerous changes of duty station. My Family is my inspiration as I serve my country and try to make things better for others one day at a time,” he said.
The Martinez Family is a great Army Family, said the Commanding General as he spoke to the gathered audience.
“The glue that holds this Family together … the heart and the soul of this wonderful Army Family, are these ladies standing right here,” said Boozer referring to Martinez’s wife and two daughters.
“In our Army, we are really, really blessed,” said Boozer. “Because behind most Soldiers stands a great Army Family,” he said. “They could be brothers, sisters, moms, dads, grandparents … but what I think what you see up here today, is so very representative of our great Army -- because it is our Army Families that really allow our Soldiers to do what it is they came into the Army to do – that is to serve their Army, to serve their Nation … to Soldier. Eric you’re one lucky, lucky man.”