VICENZA, Italy -- The Command Sgt. Maj. Doug Russell award is awarded to an outstanding Soldier each year in the field of Military Intelligence. Soldiers are nominated by their battalions up to a national level review board but only one Soldier makes the cut. For 2015, that Soldier is Sgt. Matthew Martinez, a Human Intelligence Collector assigned to Company D, 54th Brigade Engineer Battalion, 173rd Airborne Brigade based in Vicenza, Italy.
Martinez received the award for his efforts in 2015, which ranged from completing Ranger School, completing the Defense Strategic De-briefers Course, teaching military intelligence operations to Ukrainian soldiers, and teaching U.S. Soldiers tactical questioning skills.
However, Martinez doesn't take credit for everything.
"I like to attribute everything to the Soldiers, so they were the big reason I was successful," said Martinez. "I just initiated and started everything up and provided guidance. To me, these guys are the real executers. I'm just the NCO, managing, overseeing and helping them grow and learn."
Martinez's leaders' have recognized him through this award and comment that he has gone above and beyond the call of his duty.
"Sgt. Martinez is an exceptional paratrooper," said 1st Lt. Shawn Robertson, Company D platoon leader, 54th BEB. "As a Ranger qualified Human Intelligence Collector, which is rare among his peers Army wide, he has gone above and beyond his duty position by leading his team to successfully posturing the HUMINT enterprise to conduct a special mission in Ukraine."
For paratroopers coming to the brigade, many operations are in constant motion and Martinez reflects that he is ever grateful for his family during the busy months.
"I put my family first in everything I do. Through working hard for the Army, I have that opportunity to put them first because the Army helps support my family," said Martinez. "I put a lot of effort in to being successful; I do everything I can here and in turn it makes my family successful."
Martinez uses his family mindset in his capacity and ability to lead paratroopers as a Non-Commissioned Officer.
"I love being an NCO and being able to guide and mentor junior paratroopers to figure out problems, and work toward their goal, whether in the Army or civilian," said Martinez. "They do most of the work and we are just here to [assist] and manage them."
"SGT Martinez is fearless, ambitious, and relentless," said Robertson. "His desire to be better than yesterday consistently propels him to be number one. SGT Martinez is not motivated by his personal interests -- he does it for the Paratroopers that serve under his umbrella."
Martinez is headed next to Fort Bragg, N.C. to continue his service. He is promotable to Staff Sergeant and is looking to attend Jumpmaster School in the future.
The 173rd Airborne Brigade based in Vicenza, Italy, is the Army Contingency Response Force in Europe, and is capable of projecting forces to conduct the full of range of military operations across the United State European, Central and Africa Commands areas of responsibility.