Just Returned from Iraq, Lt. Col. Martin Discussed the War Through the Special Operators’ Eyes[img_assist|nid=800|title=|desc=Lt. Col. Michael Martin, USAF (at far right), stands with Chief Bill Morange, Deputy Director and Executive Director of Security for the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) of New York. Seen from left are Capt. John Randolph, USAF; Marsha Halteman, JINSA Director for Law Enforcement & Military Programs; Chief Morange, and; Officer Susan Purcell of the MTA.
Lieutenant Colonel Michael Martin, USAF, spoke in New York City at a JINSA “New Leadership” program and also for the Long Island Forum in mid-October. Just back from combat in Iraq, Lt. Col. Martin discussed the war through the eyes of the members of the special operations units with JINSA members in both New York City and Long Island.
Lt. Col. Martin assumed command of the 21st Special Tactics Squadron on June 18, 2007 and led that unit through extensive combat in Iraq. He is a veteran of six Middle East deployments since 9/11 including multiple tours in Afghanistan and Iraq. He is a master parachutist, military free-fall parachutist and combat diver and his decorations include the Bronze Star Medal, the Defense Meritorious Service Medal, the Meritorious Service Medal with one Oak Leaf Cluster and many others.
Attendees of both events enjoyed an unusual opportunity to spend time with a member of this elite branch of the U.S. military for a candid and hands-on briefing and discussion (and video) from a warrior just back from the front lines.
Most of the public has heard of America’s Special Operations forces especially the Army’s Green Berets and the Navy’s SEALS. It is not as well known that the U.S. Air Force has its own Special Operations forces. Lt. Col. Martin is a leader in one such force, commanding units that work with special operators from the Army, Navy and Marines to coordinate close air support against enemy forces often in pitched battles where the incoming bombs and missiles are called for at what is termed “danger close” ranges – so close that U.S. forces are within the shrapnel and blast range.