JOINT BASE MCGUIRE-DIX-LAKEHURST, N.J. —
The fluorescent lighting in the hangar glared off his glasses. He stood with rigid posture and a professional stance for an interview about his journey wearing the digital desert uniform.
His spine was bone straight, arms in front of him with his hands overlapping each other. His shoulders squared and rolled back which made him seem taller. He answered each question swiftly and with precision.
Amongst the questions being asked, he recalled the time in his life when he decided to join the military. He explained how he was barely financially able to care for his family. He worked a dead-end job that payed just enough for them to survive.
In 2011, now-Petty Officer 1st Class William Martin, Fleet Logistics Support Squadron 64 (VR-64) aviation structural mechanic, and his then girlfriend were living in an apartment with their two small children aged two and four months old. He knew his work had no opportunity for career development and was searching for something more to support his growing family.
“I was told by an ex-Marine that I would fit perfectly into the service,” said Martin. “That same day, without talking to him, a buddy of mine said we should join the Navy together. In that moment I decided I was going to join and I began the process.”
Although his friend ended up not joining with him, Martin officially joined the U.S. Navy in May of 2011 and went to basic military training to learn the fundamentals of being a service member.
Military members are consistently told in order to survive in the operational military, each member should be motivated, dedicated and prepared for the ‘standby to standby.’ Each services’ BMT introduces these mental tools and it is up to the individual to continue honing them in a constant state of change.
Service members typically get assigned to a new duty station every two-to-four years. Moving to a new location, working in a new unit and meeting different people can be stressful, it is important to sustain the characteristics taught during BMT.
Martin said he was nervous about going to his new station at Naval Air Station Oceana, Virginia, because he had left his hometown of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania only once before.
After serving four years at NAS Oceana, Martin was assigned to VR-64 on Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, New Jersey here.
“After asking around, I only heard good things about the base,” said Martin. “I wasn’t surprised when I got to the command and everyone was great.”
Eight months after he checked-in at Joint Base MDL, another Sailor followed him.
“I’ve known him since he was a baby Airman,” said Petty Officer 1st Class Samantha McCracken, VR-64 aviation structural mechanic. “I was stationed at Oceana when he came in straight from boot camp. He had an immense amount of motivation and hit the ground running.”
Although his co-workers were polite and good to work with, Martin began to notice the collectively low motivation his co-workers seemed to have resulting in low work-ethic. The military is held to a standard that expects things to be done on time and correctly. He began to use the leadership skills he learned as a young Sailor.
“He has implemented motivation and a level of pride and professionalism in the work center and now they perform day in and day out doing a phenomenal job,” said McCracken.
Martin took the reins and showcased his positive attitude and work-ethic from the moment he arrives to when he leaves at the end of the day, only sitting during his lunch break. His hard work helped him to promote to the rank of petty officer first class on his first attempt with only five years of service.
“When I got to VR-64, everyone seemed to do their own thing,” said Martin. “I think they all have potential and just needed to be shown solid work-ethic. I would like to think that they have gained experience and motivation since I’ve gotten here.”
The unit now surpasses the requirements of their missions on time, sometimes even ahead of schedule. Martin’s lead-by-example attitude has increased the quality of work his unit performs on a daily basis.
“He has always outperformed everyone but he has done so humbly and professionally,” said McCracken. “He is the epitome of professionalism, he has that military bearing and ability to deliver every time throughout his ranks. He’s been constant and consistent and that’s what stands out about [Petty Officer 1st Class] Martin.”