Martinez, Marco 1981–

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Martinez, Marco 1981–

PERSONAL:

Born 1981.

ADDRESSES:

Home—CA.

CAREER:

Has worked in the field of nuclear security. Military service: United States Marine Corps, 1st Fire Team Leader, 2nd Squad, 1st Platoon, Company G, 2nd Battalion, 5th Marines, 1st Marine Division, I Marine Expeditionary Force, Corporal; Navy Cross.

WRITINGS:

Hard Corps: One Marine's Journey from Gangbanger to Leatherneck Hero, Crown Forum (New York, NY), 2007.

SIDELIGHTS:

Marco Martinez grew up in Albuquerque, New Mexico, and ultimately moved to Southern California. He was the first person to receive the Navy Cross for service during the Iraq War, and he was also the first Hispanic American to receive the award since the military action in Vietnam. Martinez was awarded the Navy Cross for assuming leadership of his squad after his leader was injured, and for protecting another squad from ambush by firing a rocket into the enemy. This action gave his squad enough time to retrieve a wounded Marine and administer medical treatment. Martinez relates this and other such episodes in his memoir, Hard Corps: OneMarine's Journey from Gangbanger to Leatherneck Hero, which was published in 2007. Notably, the main title of the book, Hard Corps, is military slang for a great marine. In his memoir, Martinez relates how infantrymen act when higher ranking officers are not around. He also shows that the strong relationships between soldiers that are so often portrayed in the movies are very much based in fact. Martinez additionally chronicles his early struggles in boot camp and his later conflicts after being deployed to Iraq. Relating his teen years, Martinez discusses how he grew up around gang violence and was himself a gangbanger. However, the desire to make something more of himself, coupled with the advice of trusted mentors, led Martinez to join the Marines, a decision the former soldier does not regret, Indeed, Martinez credits the decision as being one that more than likely saved his life, an irony that did not go unnoted by critics.

Martinez joined the force in 2001 and was a member of one of the first deployments during the Iraq invasion. He experienced intense firefights in the suburbs of Baghdad; it was one such encounter for which he was awarded the Navy Cross. In his memoir, Martinez takes his role in the war very seriously, believing that he and his fellow marines are battling a dangerous enemy. This is despite the fact that the Iraqi insurgents were disorganized and completely outmanned and outarmed by American forces. Based on his strong beliefs, Martinez shows much disdain for critics of the war, and he disparages what he sees as the liberally biased media coverage that undermined his mission and service to his country. Commenting on this, a Publishers Weekly critic stated that the author "never doubts that he fought to defend America's freedom and freely admits his contempt for those who don't appreciate this." Overall, critics found much of value in Hard Corps. Writing in Marines magazine, Leo Salinas stated that the book "isn't ghost-written. It's tough, edgy, chaotic and beautiful. It is war, devoid of etiquette and style, told by a hard-nosed, gung ho sergeant." Salinas added that the memoir "exceeds the standards of a warrior's biography." Additionally, Roland Green, writing in Booklist, felt that "any reader interested in such a man's self-portrait will devour this book."

BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:

BOOKS

Martinez, Marco, Hard Corps: One Marine's Journey from Gangbanger to Leatherneck Hero, Crown Forum (New York, NY), 2007.

PERIODICALS

Booklist, September 1, 2007, Roland Green, review of Hard Corps: One Marine's Journey from Gangbanger to Leatherneck Hero, p. 28.

Kirkus Reviews, July 15, 2007, review of Hard Corps.

Marines, October 1, 2007, Leo Salinas, review of Hard Corps, p. 41.

Publishers Weekly, July 30, 2007, review of Hard Corps, p. 73.