Airman brings age, experience to Malmstrom
By Airman 1st Class Daniel Brosam, 341st Missile Wing Public Affairs
/ Published November 08, 2017
MALMSTROM AIR FORCE BASE, Mont. -- The Air Force raised the maximum age for enlisted members from 27 to 39 years old in mid-2014, allowing one Airman serving in the 341st Logistics Readiness Squadron to bring 39 years of experience to Malmstrom.
Airman 1st Class Mark Martinez, 341st LRS vehicle operator, is responsible for maintaining base government vehicles. He ensures the vehicles are clean, in working condition and ready to go, and also drives a wrecker truck to retrieve downed military vehicles.
Martinez enlisted into the Air Force November 2016 at the age of 39.
Martinez said he wanted to join the Air Force to answer a call to serve and to continue his secondary education. His son was about to graduate high school and they were going to join together.
“He decided he did not want to join the military,” Martinez said. “I wasn’t upset, but I told him ‘I don’t care what you do as long as you be the best you can be at whatever you do.’”
Martinez left his three sons and his wife Theresa to attend basic military training at Joint Base San Antonio, Texas. Being expected to perform the same as or better than Airman half his age didn’t bother Martinez much, although he wondered how his age might affect him.
“Am I going to be able to keep up?” Martinez said. “The first week of BMT was rough but I pushed myself to give everything I could. I felt like I was in good shape and I was keeping up with the younger Airmen.”
Martinez graduated BMT, completed technical training and arrived at Malmstrom March 2017. Two months later, Martinez turned 40.
Since being here, he said he has stayed positive and motivated and tries to mentor the younger Airmen he works with to get them more involved and hands on.
“I try to let the other Airmen know that time is the most valuable asset in life,” Martinez said. “That no matter what you do, you can never get your time back.”
Tech. Sgt. Clifford Teel, 341st LRS NCO in charge of equipment support, said since Martinez has arrived he has never stopped smiling.
“He’ll tell you that he is blessed to have the opportunity to serve this late in his life (and that) he considers himself lucky and always arrives ready to accomplish whatever needs to be done,” Teel said. “He is progressing through training in order to become a more effective Airman and has never used his age as an excuse, only as a tool.
“He uses (his age) to motivate his fellow Airmen and his leaders,” Teel continued. “Martinez is definitely an asset to our Malmstrom team and we are blessed to have him as part of our family.”
Martinez said he loves being at Malmstrom and he stays appreciative and humble for the opportunities serving in the Air Force has given him.
“Being here has expanded my love for the Air Force,” Martinez said. “I’m humbled to be here, to be in good health, and to serve in the Air Force.”