Ricardo Martinez was born in May 1956 in Cuba. At 12 years old he moved to Bronx, New York, and lived and worked at his uncle’s grocery store. At 18 years old Martinez moved to Miami and worked as a mechanic at a transmission shop. In August of 1980, he followed his childhood dream and enlisted in the U.S. Army.
Martinez attended his basic training at Fort Benning, Georgia. His first assignment was to Mainz, Germany. In 1982 he moved to Fort Ord, California. For his first three years in service, Martinez was an indirect fire infantryman. In 1983, as an infantry soldier, he went to Grenada where Cuban soldiers were holding U.S. civilians hostage at a college. During his service there, Martinez was shot in the leg twice. Martinez promoted to staff sergeant and became an M-1 Abrams tank system mechanic in 1983 and then moved from Fort Ord, California, to Fort Knox, Kentucky.
At Fort Knox, Martinez earned his GED and took courses in order to teach the mechanics and repair of M-1 tanks. He left Fort Knox for Schwanfeld, Germany, in 1988. Martinez said that he enjoyed his time in Germany because of its beauty and the time spent with his family. In 1989, he deployed to Panama on a mission to have the leader of Panama face criminal trial in the U.S. In 1991, Martinez deployed to serve in Operation Desert Storm and contributed as an M-1 Abrams tank system mechanic, which included working on tanks, jeeps and other vehicles that had the same system.
Martinez concluded his time in the service in 1992 with a bachelor’s degree in business and a multitude of awards. These awards included a Meritorious Service Medal, two Army Commendation Medals, a Joint Service Achievement Medal, four Good Conduct Medals, a National Defense Service Medal, two Overseas Service Ribbons (Germany), a Multinational Force and Observers Medal (Germany), an Expert Badge Rifle badge, Driving and Mechanic Badge and an Expert Grenade badge.
After the service Martinez worked as a mechanic up until 2002 and then he worked in construction until he retired.
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