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Posted by: McQ on Tuesday, October 02, 2007

This week I did the Someone You Should Know segment for Pundit Review Radio on three Marines who fought in the battle of Al Tarmiya in April of 2003. One of the Marines, by the name of Marco Martinez, was awarded the Navy Cross. You can hear his story (and that of CPL Timothy Tardif and SSG Adam Sikes who both were awarded Silver Stars) here.

Martinez went from gang-member to Marine hero and has written a book entitled "Hard Corps" which is apparently coming out this week. He credits the Marine Corps for literally saving his life. He's also written an article for about why his experiences in Iraq lead him to continue to support the war.

All that being said, while I remember his heroism, it was this part of his story that bothered me the most when I was researching him for the segment:
Martinez has since been promoted to Sergeant and has been sent by the Marines to receive bachelor’s degree in psychology at Saddleback College in Mission Viejo, Calif.

There, unfortunately, he found out that not everyone appreciates a hero.

“A woman on campus had apparently learned I might be a Marine. When I told her I was, she said, ‘You’re a disgusting human being, and I hope you rot in hell!’ ”

Martinez, will be the first male in his family to receive a college diploma, but says he is receiving more of an education than he bargained for: “There are a lot of people who don’t appreciate military service in college,” Martinez said. “If someone asks me about it, and I think that they’re not too liberal, I might tell them I was in Iraq. But I don’t tell them the full extent of it or anything about the Navy Cross.”
That's just sad.
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Previous Comments to this Post 

But they support the troops! Don’t question their patriotism!
Written By: kevin r
URL: http://
you beat me to it, kevin.

But what can I say? That’s what passes for ’honest discourse’ in academia these days. They’ll welcome Ahmedinejad and laud Hugo Chavez; support Ward Churchill, Noam Chomsky and Fidel Castro...but a Marine Navy Cross recipient? They’ll tell him to rot in hell.
Written By: Joel C.
URL: http://
but a Marine Navy Cross recipient? They’ll tell him to rot in hell.

Hell is a generally Christian construct designed to force compliance in this life with the patriarchal, Gaia-dominating paradigm. We would not tell him to rot in Hell! Hell is merely boogie-man created by the Christianist "Mullahs" to cow the Sheeple, we Progressive Brights see thru this trope and reject its power to cow or sway....

We would merely spit on him....SHEESH You Wingnuts are dense.
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
Nah, that sort of thing, those people would never spit on a vet don’tchaknow....

Written By: looker
URL: http://
Marco Martinez is a better person than the peace creeps will ever be.
Written By: jows
URL: http://
That lady’s lucky she was mouthing off to a Soldier.

A normal person might have reacted badly. She’s very lucky the Marine showed self control.
Written By: Scott Jacobs
URL: http://
I sometimes wonder if the best response would be the counter-intuitive one.

People like that woman are cowards. Tell her, yes, I’m a Marine, I was awarded the Navy Cross, which is the (second?) highest award possible for valor in combat in Iraq. I’ve written a book. Would you like to read it?

But he won’t. Heroes don’t tend to talk like that.
Written By: Synova
But he won’t. Heroes don’t tend to talk like that.
And they shouldn’t have to.
Written By: Billy Hollis
URL: http://
On this subject: An open letter from Captain Richard Lund of the United States Marine Corps to Code Pink.
Written By: Aldo
URL: http://
He just went to the wrong college. Sgt Martinez should have matriculated at Columbia University in NYC. There’s a vibrant, sizeable, and organized student-veterans community on campus there:

US Military Veterans of Columbia University:

School of General Studies (one of Columbia University’s full-time undergrad programs, with SEAS and Columbia College) invitation to military veterans:
Written By: Eric Chen

That seems rather counterintuitive.
Written By: capt joe
URL: http://
capt joe,

Actually, it makes sense if you know Columbia. Columbia University’s School of General Studies is the only full-time undergraduate program in the Ivy League for older/non-traditional students (as opposed to a Continuing Education type program). In fact, GS’ roots are in the military insofar GS was founded to take in WW2 veterans ... and their guaranteed GI Bill tuition money. Since then, GS has continued to be an exceptional fit for young veterans who seek to earn their degree at an elite university. We’ve always had the numbers. In Fall 2002, as mostly pre-9/11 ’peacetime’ veterans (the exception was one Army Ranger fresh from Op Anaconda and Takur Ghar), we organized as a formal student organization so that war veterans matriculating at Columbia would instantly be at home.

Add the mostly commissioned veterans and active-duty spread throughout Columbia’s grad schools (eg, West Point sends many of its future instructors and TACs to Columbia for their post-graduate degrees) to the enlisted veteran base in GS, and we have quite a large veterans community at Columbia.

Written By: Eric Chen
URL: http://
Eric, that’s nice to hear. Thanks for the info.
Written By: McQ

Thank you for an opportunity to spread the word about Columbia and veterans.

If it was up to me, every single ETS’ing enlisted soldier, Marine, sailor and airman with college plans would apply to Columbia - it would be on their ACAP checklist ... and every graduating class at Columbia would burst with veterans who invest their combined military and Ivy League pedigrees into society.

I worry about the civil-military divide, in the present and moving forward. I believe the Columbia military community is one of the few groups in our society positioned to do something constructive about the civil-military divide. The CMC also includes:

Hamilton Society (Columbia’s campus group for ROTC cadets and USMC officer candidates)

Columbia Alliance for ROTC and Advocates for Columbia ROTC

The Columbia military community has made progress but we need a stronger base, and that means we need more of our people at Columbia. The greater the flow of veterans into Columbia, the stronger fraternity we become and, thereby, the more we can influence Columbia and society at large. So, I hope the good word about Columbia University and veterans spreads; certainly, as a grassroots movement, we can use all the help we can get on the PR front.
Written By: Eric Chen
URL: http://

The photos on your website show just how diverse our military is nowadays. Thanks for your service. BTW, I also noticed Matt Sanchez in the photos...hope you get no trouble for that!
Written By: Harun
URL: http://
I dunno know though... Columbia?

I dunno if I could stomache it, regardless of the Soldiers there.

Any place that thought Ammie’s visit was just fine and dandy - no problem, we’d love to have him - isn’t a place I’d wanna send my kid or my money.
Written By: Scott Jacobs
URL: http://
btw Aldo, loved that letter.

There is almost no part of if where CPT Lund isn’t slapping them around in what might be the most civil "Eff You" I’ve ever seen in my life.

It was gold.
Written By: Scott Jacobs
URL: http://

Yeah, Matt’s one of ours.


We are talking specifically about veterans on campus, eg, Sgt Martinez at Saddleback College or the veterans community at Columbia University. In that frame, at the Ahmadinejad event, President Bollinger did say this:

A number of Columbia graduates and current students are among the brave members of our military who are serving or have served in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Check out this picture of Army Infantry Lieutenant Josh Arthur, CC ’04, with his good luck deployment banner. He’s serving in Iraq right now as a platoon leader. See the only message and signature on the Columbia crest? Who would have the audacity to sign on the university crest? Why, the one person who we can excuse for doing so - University President Bollinger. The other signatures belong to Columbia professors, student-veterans, and ROTC cadets and USMC officer candidates at Columbia.
Written By: Eric Chen
URL: http://
Yes Eric... And COlumbia invited to speak the man who has helped kill our troops in Iraq.

Forgive me if the rest of the programs offered at COlumbia fail to fix that disconnect. Ammie gives direct aid and support via men and materials to the insurgents.

Letting him speak on US soil was essentially a big Ef You to anyone who’s had to deal with a roadside attack.

Bollinger doesn’t get a pass because of the other stuff. Inviting Ammie was him showing his true colors...
Written By: Scott Jacobs
URL: http://

My point - reacting to McQ’s original post about a war veteran who found the collegiate environment to be an alien one - remains that veterans will find a comfort zone at Columbia University due to the sizeable, vibrant, and organized student-veterans community that exists there. That there is a Columbia alumnus who is today leading an Army Infantry platoon in Iraq while carrying the well-wishes of the Columbia University President in his rucksack is just one piece of evidence showing our potential - the more veterans that flow into Columbia, the more progress we can make.

Certainly, a young veteran can choose to reject Columbia over the Ahmadinejad event, but then he may back himself into a collegiate environment - like Sgt Martinez at Saddleback College - missing the campus veterans presence that Columbia offers ... whereas, at Columbia, there aren’t enough Thursday nights (Thursday night is when you drink in college) in the academic year for milvets to share all their war stories.

In the larger picture, I prefer to take concrete steps to shrink the civil-military divide in our society, rather than push ourselves farther apart from each other. And that means more veterans at schools like Columbia, not fewer. United we stand, divided we fall.
Written By: Eric Chen
URL: http://

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