It was a proud day for the family of Madison County native Mary Martin last Saturday, when they and other members of the community saw her promotion to the position of Colonel in the U.S. Army. Martin could have chosen to have the ceremony in Washington D.C. at the Pentagon where she is currently stationed, but instead she wanted to come back home to Comer, to share this achievement with those who know her best. The ceremony took place Saturday, Nov. 9, at Springfield Baptist Church in Comer.
“There’s no place like home and I wanted to have the opportunity for my hometown family, friends and community to witness a traditional military ceremony,” she said. “It feels good to be home and it’s an even greater honor to do this little bit for my parents.”
Martin is the daughter of Leroy and Barbara Martin, of Comer. She has four siblings; Debra Martin and Carolyn Martin, both of Comer; Jeffrey Martin, of Macon, and Lt. Colonel John F. Martin (Air Force) who is also stationed in Washington D.C.
Martin grew up Comer, attended Comer Elementary, South Madison Middle School and Madison County High School, where she graduated in 1983. She joined the army in 1985, serving as an administrative specialist until October 1988, when her initial term of service expired. At that point, she enrolled in Georgia College in Milledgeville where she cross-enrolled with Georgia Military College for the ROTC (Reserve Officer Training Corps).
She rejoined the army in January 1993 as a commissioned officer in the Adjutant General Corps.
From there, she rose through the ranks from Second Lieutenant to Lt. Colonel until she reached her most recent assignment as Deputy Chief of Staff G-1 at the Pentagon in Washington D.C.
Col. Martin holds a bachelor of science degree in criminal justice from Georgia College; a master of public administration from Old Dominion University, Norfolk VA; a master of military operational art and science and a master of strategic studies, both from Air University, Maxwell Air Force Base, AL.
Her awards and decorations include the Bronze Star, Meritorious Service Medal (with five Oak Leaf Clusters), Joint Service Commendation Medal, Army Commendation Medal (with one Oak Leaf Cluster), Army Achievement Medal (with four Oak Leaf Clusters), Joint Meritorious Unit Award, Iraq Campaign Medal (with Combat Star), Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Humanitarian Service Medal, and many others.
It is also believed that Martin is the first woman, certainly the first African American woman, from Madison County to receive such a high rank in the armed services.
After spending some time with her family, Colonel Martin will return to her work at the Pentagon.
Her next assignment will begin next July in Wiesbaden Germany where she will serve for approximately two years as the Garrison Commander for U.S. Army Garrison Wiesbaden.
Martin compares this assignment to being mayor of a city.
She said she is not sure what the future holds for her after that point, but she said she does plan to return to “the great state of Georgia” whenever she retires.
“This is home,” she said.