By Mr. Johnathon Orrell (SDDC)December 4, 2018
The Military Surface Deployment and Distribution Command's (SDDC) Surface Warrior Spotlight returns to sunny northern California to shine on Larry Martin of the 834th Transportation Battalion.
A traffic manager for the Military Ocean Terminal Concord (MOTCO), Martin is responsible for the documentation and movement of military cargo transiting through 11 California ports.
He has served with the Military Surface Deployment and Distribution Command (SDDC) since June 2009, and likes that he plays an important role in the larger U.S. Army mission.
"What we do matters, it matters to the warfighter and it matters to national security," Martin said.
"I grew up as a military dependent. As such I have been around the military my whole life. Working for SDDC allows me the opportunity to continue to serve and I know that what I do makes a difference," he added.
Martin was nominated for the spotlight by the 834th's commander, Lt. Col. Curtis Yankie, who said that Martin's successes at MOTCO needed to be highlighted -- especially his performance in the 1st Armored Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division (1/3 ABCT) movements through the Port of Oakland.
"Larry was instrumental in the planning, coordination, and execution of the recent 1/3 ABCT time-sensitive deployment to home station through the Port of Oakland," Yankie said.
"He utilized creative and critical thought to solve complex and ambiguous problem sets to ensure the unit's equipment arrived ahead of the required delivery date into Fort Stewart, Georgia," he added.
Now it's time to bring Larry into the Surface Warrior Spotlight - a program that highlights different members of the SDDC workforce every few weeks through a series of interview-style questions that focus on his or her unique background, personal stories and experiences.
Q: Are you married or dating?
A: I have been married to my wife Dori for two years. We started dating in 2012. My favorite thing to do with her is talk, she does most of the talking actually, and I'm a great listener. She's silly and has a great sense of humor that makes me laugh constantly.
Q: Do you have any children?
A: All total with my biological and stepchildren, I have nine of them. My oldest, Mark, is married to Jessica. Then there's Charne, Jasmin and her spouse Kevin, Next is Jordan and Jonah who is married to Nikki. Then followed by Dakota, Jacob, and Maxwell. And finally Dillon.
Q: Do you have any grandchildren?
A: I have seven grandchildren. Jessica is 13, Hayden is 9, Alexander is 6, Isabelle, Dakota, and Hunter are all 3, and Aiden is our new one at 2 months old.
Q: Do you have any pets?
A: I have two guinea pigs named Charlie and Sylvester. We've had them for about a year and they are fat and bossy. Every time they hear my voice or the sound of a bag open they start squealing for food. I'm a slave to the guinea pigs.
Q: What is your proudest moment at SDDC?
A: My proudest moment at SDDC is the recent 1/3 ABCT deployment to home station. Our team took a very complex logistical situation and executed that mission to a level that exceeded expectations by three days, proving once again that with hard work and determination you can achieve anything.
Q: How has SDDC helped you in your career development?
A: Working for SDDC has allowed me the opportunity to attain training that has built upon my critical thinking and communication skills. Training opportunities like Continuous Process Improvement (Lean Six Sigma) have shown me how to look at processes as a whole, not only what applies to me, which we all struggle with at one time or another. This has allowed me and my team to be more efficient. Communication has been something that I have struggled with my whole life, and working with a diverse group has given me the emotional intelligence to recognize what communication style works for each individual. This has not just helped me professionally, but helped me personally as well.
Q: What is your favorite quote?
A: My favorite quote is "It is what it is, but it will be what you make of it." Many people take the quote out of context as a negative, and say "it is what it is," when actually the message is positive. Don't let the situation define you - you define the situation and how you react to you.
Q: If Hollywood made a movie about your life, who would you like to see cast as you?
A: I would like to see Bradley Cooper play me. I think that he could actually depict me quite well. He has physical similarities - he's over 6 feet tall, brown hair but that's about as far as it goes in regards to appearance. But through his career he has shown that he's versatile, his roles have portrayed him as intelligent, funny, sarcastic, and family oriented.
Q: If you could switch your job with anyone else within SDDC, whose job would you want?
A: I would want it to be Rick Rodriguez, the Continuous Process Improvement Advisor at SDDC. Rick has the best job. He gets to train and mentor others in solving complex problems to find the most effective solutions. What can I say, I'm a bit of a nerd. I love statistics and analyzing the data.
Q: What has been the most important innovation you have witnessed in your lifetime?
A: The invention of the internet. It has made us a global community. It has given us the ability to stay connected to friends and family all over the world in ways that we only dreamed of before. If you have questions or you want to learn about something and have no idea where to start, a few key strokes and there you are. Psst TED talks are incredible. I know I'm a nerd.
Q: What TV show/movie are you ashamed to admit you love?
A: I watch Married at First Sight on the FYI channel. It's one of those things like "why do people look at a car accidents?" Sometimes it's just horrible and you ask why, why do I watch this, and at the same time I'm intrigued by how it's going to turn out. Plus sometime these couples are just too funny.
Q: Which one would you want most -- flying cars, robot housekeepers, or moon cities?
A: I would love a robot housekeeper just like on the Jetsons. There never seems to be enough time to accomplish all of you household chores, the dusting, mopping, vacuuming, cleaning the bathrooms, oh let's not forget about the laundry. It never seems to amaze me how much there is to do to keep the house clean.
Q: What are your plans for retirement?
A: To be a youth pastor. I enjoy working kids. Watching a kid's eyes light up when they learn how to do something is an amazing experience. I have been participating in a program for children with disabilities called e-soccer with the Bay Area Christian Church since 2012. With my schedule I can't be there all the time but when I can, I really enjoy it.
Q: Do you prefer coffee or tea?
A: My parents are from the south so I grew up drinking sweet tea and some habits just stick.
Q: What are your top three life highlights so far?
A: The birth of my children is without a doubt the biggest highlight of my life. I can truly say that when I became a father my life changed, I changed and they have always been the biggest achievement of my life. Marrying my wife is next. She has been by my side through things that I don't think I could have survived on my own. Finally nothing gives me more joy than playing with my grandchildren.
Q: What would you most like to tell yourself at age 13?
A: Listen to your mother and take it easy on your body because all of those injuries really do hurt as I got older.
Q: What is your favorite line from a movie? Why is it your favorite?
A: My favorite movie line is from As Good As It Gets with Jack Nicholson - "You make me want to be a better man." This line made me smile the instant I heard it. Think about it, having that special person in your life can inspire you to be your best.
Q: Before working at SDDC, what was the most unusual or interesting job you've ever had?
A: I was a Lumper for a Container Freight Station. A lumper is an individual that manually unloads and loads cargo. What made this job interesting was how I got paid, which was by the piece, it averaged out to $1.00 for every 1,000 pounds picked up by hand and stacked into a push bin. The value of a strong work ethic truly paid off as a single parent raising four kids. It allowed me the flexibility to work a limited amount of hours and still earn a good living. It wasn't the ideal situation but it was what I needed at the time.
Q: If you could do another job for just one day, what would it be?
A: I would like to be the President of the United States for just one day. To actually see behind the curtain would be fascinating. Everyone has an opinion on politics and what they feel is in the best interest of the country, Lord knows I have mine. The ability to see the why and the how, not just listen to someone's version or opinion of what is going on, but to actual see and experience it. How incredible would that be?
Q: If you could witness any historical event, what would you want to see?
A: I wish that I could have witnessed the 1969 Moon landing of the Apollo 11. This is an event that was such a milestone in human history seen around the world. It shows that if you have the belief that you can achieve something and the determination to exhaust all efforts, the world will take notice that anything is possible.
Q: What three words to best describe you?
A: Dedicated, intelligent, and selfless.
Q: What did you want to be when growing up?
A: Growing up I wanted to be a dentist. When I was about 4-years-old, I fell down a stairwell and knocked out all of my front teeth. Luckily they were baby teeth, however I walked around for years looking like a vampire until my adult teeth grew in. After college, I actually took the Dental Admission Test and failed the science and chemistry sections horribly, then life happened and I never took the exam again.
Q: What is something you've always wanted to try and never did?
A: I always wanted to fly a fighter jet plane. When I was younger, I was a bit of an adrenaline junkie - fast cars, motorcycles, skydiving…you name it, I did it. The one thing I never had the opportunity to do was fly a jet. I even looked in to flight lessons at Clover Park Technical College, just never made the time to follow up.
Q: What is your hidden talent?
A: I know how to play the violin -- and very few people know that. I started playing in the 7th grade and played all the way through high school. It's not something that actually comes up in conversation. You tell someone I play the piano or the guitar, and they're like "that's cool." Tell them that you play classical violin and they kind of look at you like seriously. By the way, I do play the piano.
Q: What is the first concert you attended?
A: My very first concert was Prince's Purple Rain Tour in 1985. Prince and Michael Jackson were the biggest thing at the time, so a group of friends sat outside the Tacoma Dome to get tickets. We had awful seats up in the nose bleed section, but it was the excitement of actually going that made it a great experience.
Q: What is superpower you wish you had?
A: The ability to read minds like Professor Xavier. Communication is key to everything that we do when we interact with others. The old adage, "say what you mean and mean what you say" comes to mind. The ability to know what someone else is thinking could eliminate some of the struggles we face when receiving messages from others.
Q: If you were stuck on an island what three things would you bring?
A: A pocket knife, some fishing line and a pot. The knife will help me sharpen sticks for spear fishing and to clean the fish I catch. I would use the fishing line to sew together clothing. And a pot can be used to boil water.
Q: What is something people would be surprised if they knew about you?
A: I'm kind of a softy. I like romantic comedies. I even get emotional during certain scenes. My favorite movie of all time is Love Actually.
Q: What is your favorite newspaper, magazine or blog?
A: I have been an avid reader of Muscle & Fitness magazine since I was 11 years old. The articles are informative, providing new training techniques and supplement guidance to achieve optimal results. As an added bonus, the pictures are inspirational, showing what the human body is capable of.
Q: How do you define success?
A: To be of service, to have what I do matter, and to be able to provide for my family.
Q: If you could be anyone from any time period who would it be?
A: I would like to be Albert Einstein - his success and failures are some of the cornerstones of today's achievements.
Q: What is the best vacation you've taken?
A: My best vacation was a tour of Europe. We visited six countries over three weeks. Seeing the old world history with the castles, amazing cathedrals and the time with my family made it memorable.
Q: What is your favorite sport?
A: My favorite sport is Mixed Martial Arts. I like the strategy involved with the techniques, the drama of surprising upsets. But most of all, I like the fact that there are no excuses. Win, lose or draw, you give it your all. Hard work will beat talent any day of the week.
Q: What is your favorite childhood memory? Why is this your favorite?
A: My favorite childhood memory would be going fishing with my dad, just the two of us sitting out in the middle of the lake at the crack of dawn as the pink hues crossed the sky, the stillness of the water, the sounds of the frogs. There is just something about a little boy spending time with his dad doing something he loved to do that is memorable. My dad was my hero and I used to follow him around like I was his shadow.
That's all for Larry's time in the spotlight, but check out his Surface Warrior Spotlight video on YouTube at https://youtu.be/Uqn9QKhSn9k.