By Terrance BellNovember 9, 2018
FORT LEE, Va. (Nov. 7, 2018) -- Chief Warrant Officer 5 Maria G. Martinez and her husband, retired CW5 Mauricio E. Martinez Sr., were once the Army's only couple wearing the highest rank of the Warrant Officer Cohort.
Taking into account that less than 1 percent of Soldiers in the cohort ever achieve the rank of CW5, the chances of two in one family becomes even more remote, and consequently significant.
That milestone, however, is not likely to overshadow her latest achievement - becoming the first woman to hold the title of Chief Warrant Officer of the Quartermaster Corps, named as such during an assumption of responsibility ceremony Monday at Mullins Auditorium in Challen Hall.
The event, hosted by Brig. Gen. Douglas M. McBride Jr., 55th QM General, drew roughly 150 supporters from throughout the sustainment community but was dominated by the presence of current and former warrant officers.
During remarks, McBride first lauded the work of CW5 Jonathan O. Yerby, the current CASCOM and preceding QM Corps CWO. Later during the speech, he celebrated the fact Martinez was the first woman to hold the position and urged audience members to applaud it as a personal and historic achievement with far-reaching impacts.
"Now, our female Soldiers who come to advanced individual training can not only look to the command sergeant major of the 23rd Quartermaster Brigade (CSM Lisa Haney) for inspiration and motivation, they can also look to the chief warrant officer of the QM Corps," he said. "What an inspiration for those young Soldiers."
Martinez began her career here as a logistician in 1988 in the 23rd QM Bde., training as a 92-Alpha enlisted automated logistical specialist.
McBride went on to say Martinez "always provided clear counsel to American Soldiers serving in harm's way. She has the courage, competence and commitment to lead our team into the future and take our efforts to the next level .... I know she will be up to the task."
Martinez, supported by her husband, son and mother in the audience, acknowledged her family individually and collectively. She gave special recognition to her "battle buddy" husband and her mother, Maria Sanchez, who she thanked for "unconditional love and prayers" and for bringing her to "this great land of equal opportunity."
After thanking all of her supporters, mentors and others, the native of Coahuila state, Mexico, speaking in a low tone and addressing the audience slowly and deliberately, signaled she was ready to get down to business.
"To whom much is given, much is expected," she calmly said. "My family and I are beyond excited to be a part of the quartermaster command team during this time in our Army's and nation's history.
"I will do my absolute best to better our corps by bringing a technical, operational and strategic perspective to all our teams. It is an epic test in today's multi-domain environment but a test I have embraced."
Mauricio, a former field artilleryman, said his wife has long focused on logistics at the boots-on-the-ground level and has a keen interest in Global Combat Support System-Army, the information system that tracks supplies, equipment and costs.
"She talks about the complexity of the system but touts the benefits as well," he said. "I think she's going to try to look at GCSS-Army as a friendlier, more beneficial way of helping Soldiers on the battlefield."
Though looking at GCSS-A might be only a sample of what Martinez has to tackle, the work standing before her in its totality is no less than enthralling to affect change from where she sits.
"She always wanted to contribute to the Army at the highest levels," said Mauricio. "Because she has been at the tactical level for so long, she has long ambitioned to come here and do things from the top down. It was a dream that has now become a huge accomplishment."
For the most part, uninformed observers might view Martinez' demeanor and demonstrated humility as uncharacteristic for her position. Mauricio, however, said his wife has a level of devotion that would make any Soldier proud.
"You can't have misconceptions (about her) because she's kind, quiet and observant," he said. "That doesn't mean there isn't a lot of passion and commitment behind it. To her, it always about the Army."
Martinez' closing comment during her speech was validation for what her husband has long known.
"As we look forward to Thanksgiving and the holidays, let's take time to reflect on the reasons we serve - freedom is not free!" she said, barely raising her voice. "We owe it to our Soldiers and their families to train and equip them so they can return back to their loved ones safe, sound and victorious.
"Always remember, the basis for our ability to lead is the trust we must develop with our superiors and our subordinates," she further noted. "Always be part of the team; a part of the solution and a difference in our Army and our nation."
Martinez was assigned to the Forces Command G-4 prior to her arrival at Fort Lee. She also has served at Fort Bliss, Texas, Fort Polk, La., and Rock Island, Ill., among other locations in the states. Her overseas assignments include Saudi Arabia, Iraq and Egypt.
Martinez is the 15th CWO of the QM Corps.