GI remembered as eager to make difference
BAMBERG, Germany — The Warner Barracks community paid its last respects Tuesday to a 1st Infantry Division soldier who was killed Sept. 8 in Baqouba, Iraq, when his 5-ton military vehicle rolled over.
Spc. Michael A. Martinez, 29, of Juan Diaz, Puerto Rico, was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 6th Field Artillery Regiment, based at Forward Operating Base Gabe in Iraq.
He was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 6th Field Artillery Regiment rear detachment July 22 and deployed to Iraq on Sept. 5, just three days before his death, according to information provided by his unit.
Martinez joined the Army in October 2001 as a cannon crew member, and was assigned to the 101st Airborne Division, Fort Campbell, Ky., where he earned his air assault badge.
“When Michael left Fort Campbell, he wanted to get to another unit that was deploying as soon as he could,” Capt. Matthew Davenport, 1st Battalion, 6th Field Artillery Regiment rear detachment commander, said at the memorial service.
“This stands as a true testament to his love of country and dedication to the American way of life.”
“He was all for going to Iraq,” said Sgt. Randy Miller, a Family Readiness Group liaison for the battalion’s rear detachment. “He had been there before with the 101st, and I think he felt it was something he had to do as a soldier. He wanted to go there and be with the unit.”
Miller said he got to know Martinez in the short time he was assigned to the unit.
“He was a likeable guy, always trying to make people laugh; you really wanted to know him,” Miller said. “He was a family man. He couldn’t wait to get his wife over here and his Chihuahua, who was like a baby to him.”
Davenport said Martinez would live on in the memory of the unit’s soldiers.
“Michael, our brother in arms, you will not be forgotten,” he said.
Martinez was posthumously awarded the Bronze Star Medal.
He is survived by his wife, Sarah Martinez; his parents, Santos Pacheco Ortiz and Luz Maria Martinez; and a sister.