by Robert John Martin
October 15, 2004
I was born on 9 February, 1964 at Mary Magdalene hospital, Jamaica Queens, New York. My life to this point has been like a beach with a hurricane offshore, huge waves with very little time to get ready for the next one. The day I was born the Beatles were on the Ed Sullivan Show (link), and the Vietnam conflict was just heating up. My mother, Marilyn Belli, was first generation American, My Grandfather Alfred Belli came over on the boat from Italy when he was 2. My father, Robert Martin, was a third generation American with Irish roots. Well I guess it wasn’t meant to be and they divorced when I was 4. I lived with my grandparents until my mother remarried to John Ahrens, and we moved to Lynbrook, Long Island when I was 7. I have a brother David who was born a year and 4 days after I was, and a younger half brother Michael who was born in 1976.
I was a good student until my teens at which times my life changed into the “70’s show” (link). For those of you familiar with that show I would have been the Hyde character, concert t-shirts, and uncontrollable hair. I found myself worried more about partying and Rock and Roll, than life in general, and since my stepfather was quite abusive, both physically and mentally, it was easy to move out at the age of 15. I dropped out of school and went to work at the South Shore Inn, a local seafood restaurant where I spent 12 hours a day prepping food. This all may sound harsh but for me I wouldn’t change a thing, it molded me into the person I would become later in life, giving me insight on how to be a real father to my kids.
I got my general education degree at the age of 16 and joined the Army Airborne Infantry at the age of 17. I spent 6 months at Ft. Benning GA, learning my new trade and was assigned to Bravo Company, 4th Battalion, 20th Infantry (Mech) at Ft. Clayton, in the Republic of Panama at the end of 1981. I was reassigned to Bravo Company, 1st Battalion, 187th Airborne Infantry in 1983 (link). I would find my niche upon completing the 7th Special Forces Sniper School at Ft. Sherman that same year.
I would meet my current wife Edilma Vergara de Kuchler, of Alto Lino Boquete at the end of 1984. I was at a crossroads in my life and made a mistake by reenlisting in the Army for 5 more years. I was reassigned to Head Quarters Company, 10th Special Forces Group, Ft. Devens MA, January 1985. I would start my 5 year hitch with a visit to Beirut, Lebanon in support of the Christian Militia, giving classes in sniper operations. My son Robert Anthony would be born this year in August, he is now a student at FSU. I would return to Devens unscathed and work at the sniper school until being reassigned to Air Operations in 1987. This wouldn’t last long, I would be reassigned to Joint Task Force Bravo, Honduras, were I was slotted as an armor, but worked in the area Mocarone near the border of Nicaragua training the Contras. I was unlucky enough to participate in Operation Golden Pheasant, in March of 1988, the repelling of Nicaraguan troops from Honduras. I returned to Ft. Devens Massachusetts in June of 1988 and took a position as a training NCO at Headquarters Company United States Army Garrison until February 1990 when I left the Army.
I returned to Panama in 1991 and took jobs with the Air Force, and Navy, my last position was as a training officer at 24th Communications Squadron. I was rifted from civil service in 1999 when plans to turn over all bases where implemented through the Panama Canal Treaty. I started classes at Florida State University in 1998 and completed my studies this past June with a BA in Psychology and a minor in English Literature. I’m the first student to graduate from FSU Panama Canal Branch with a degree in Psychology. I also was selected to the National Deans List www.thenationaldeanslist.com, with a GPA of 3.5. I’m currently registering at Florida Atlantic University to attend their Environmental MBA program next March.
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