By Love's Hand

By Love's Hand

Fierce  Female Network And The We’73 Project

Vol 5 Apr 2024

Veteran of the Month – Patrick Martin(Vol 1 Dec 2023)

The December veteran of the month is Patrick Martin from Albrightsville, Pa. He joined the Army on June 28th, 1974, when he was 20 years old, and stayed in until June 28th, 1977. He started as an E-1 and ended as an E-4.

When asked why he joined, he said, “I was tired of hanging on street corners in Port Richmond. I felt like my life was going nowhere.” On the 27th, he went to the recruiting office at K and A (Kensington and Allegheny), and the following day, he was sworn in.

Patrick’s first MOS was a 36C telephone lineman but soon changed to a 72C SwitchBoard Operator. This change happened because of the first time he climbed a telephone pole. His sergeant made him go to the top of the pole and climb down himself, but instead, he slid down the whole way. When he refused to go back up, it led to a meeting with his Captain. The captain was mad, but it was because he was up there in the first place. He never thought a pole would be one of the more traumatic parts of the Army.

During his time in the Army, he got to travel to Germany. He traveled to Germany from Fort Campbell, Kentucky with the 101st airborne, single battalion. They stayed for 2 months in a “Tent City,” a huge field with big tents. They went to Germany as a test to see how long it would take them to get there and set all their equipment up. One fun memory he has from the stay is German beer. It was in a big barrel, and a man took a sledgehammer to it and added a tap; he said it was always room temperature.

After three years, he got out because he had a girlfriend and a child at home. He wanted to spend time with them and start a new chapter. His goal was to join the police force, so he took the test. While waiting for results, he secured a good job at Action Manufacturer and became a foreman/ supervisor. At this point in life, it made sense to stay with a stable and safer job. He was a sole supporter and had to make the tough decision of choosing not to enter the police, but to this day, he says it is one thing he wished he had done.

One thing he wasn’t expecting when he left the Army was his grandma being sick. He was really close to her and visited her every time he got leave. Shortly after being discharged, he saw her for the last time. She only lived for about two weeks after he got out; his uncle told him that she waited for him to get home so she could see him.

The most memorable event that he had in the Army was when he got on a C1-30 in North Carolina. There were trucks and generators in the back, and he was sitting on net seats in the front of the plane. His sergeant was supposed to make sure the gas in them wasn’t going to be affected during the takeoff because of pressure. Not even 2 minutes after the plane left the ground, gas started running all down the plane. They were told to stay seated, not move, and don’t touch anything. The guy sitting next to him kept saying, “We’re gonna die, Martin”. The plane did an emergency landing. There were fire trucks and police officers everywhere, but he never got to know what happened to that plane because they were immediately getting on a new one.

Patrick wanted to share a funny story he remembered from when he shot a M-16 for the first time. All the men and women lined up in foxholes and got ready to shoot. At this moment, he realizes the only thing he does left-handed is fire a gun. He had to raise his hand and say he needed a guard to block the shells that flew out of the gun when you fired it. His sergeant wasn’t very impressed by this and said, “Martin, you don’t know if you’re f***ing left-handed or right-handed.” This made him a little nervous when the sergeant was telling the instructions and said, “Fire.” Patrick was the only one who fired. He looked over, and everyone was staring at him. Safe to say, there was a lot of yelling after that moment.

The last thing he spoke about was how the Army impacted him. The Army gave him stability when he got out and allowed him to get his first house with the GI Bill. His time in the service gave him exactly what he was looking for three years prior.  The discipline and the respect that stayed with him all these years later.

Written by,

Lindsay Martin

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