Commander Richard Martin is without a doubt one of the busiest veterans around this area.

He grew up in the farming and railroad community of Ocilla located in south Georgia.

In high school, Martin excelled in all areas of sports. Because he was so fast in track, his classmate gave him the nickname of the “Dixie Flyer” after the famous fast train by the same name that held speed records back when railroading was in its heyday.

By the time Martin had graduated from Irwin County High School, he had been offered four full scholarships from several colleges and universities.

Instead, he wanted to fulfill his boyhood dream and become a US Marine.

After meeting with the local USMC recruiter and passing all of the required tests, both mental and physical, Martin was soon on his way to Camp Lejune located near Jacksonville, South Carolina.

Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune is the main training facility for all enlisted recruits East of the Mississippi River. The main mission of MCB is to prepare warfighters for combat and humanitarian missions abroad.

After Martin compiled his basic trading and graduated from MCB he was sent on to Paris Island, South Carolina for advanced individual training.

When Martin had completed advanced individual training at Paris Island he was deployed overseas to his first duty station in Japan.

Martin was assigned to the United States Forces Japan (USFJ) which is an active subordinate unified command of the United States Pacific Command.

During a special mission on the island of Okinawa, Martin’s dream of having a long career in the USMC was shattered when he was seriously injured.

After a slow and lengthy stay in the hospital, Martin regained most of his strength back. However, the accident forced him to take an early retirement.

When Martin was sent back home to recover, his desire to serve his country burned deep within him. Richard applied and was accepted for a job with the Joint Readiness Training Center located at Fort Polk, Louisiana.

When Martin is not on duty at the JRTC at Fort Polk, he is still on “active duty” serving in leadership positions with many veterans organization such as the Disabled American Veterans, Veteran of Foreign Wars, MIA-POW and American Legion.

If you see Richard Martin or any veteran, he would surely appreciate a handshake and acknowledgment of the sacrifice and the commitment veterans have made in the lofty endeavor of securing American liberty.

They are solely responsible for having protected our fortunate state of being free within society from oppressive restrictions imposed by authority on one's way of life, behavior or political views. And that is a priceless act of service.