DAEGU, Republic of Korea – When it comes to leading a battalion in the dynamic landscape of South Korea, sustaining the Army of 2040, and synchronizing sustainment in a contested environment, there’s more to it than just orders and discipline. It’s about fostering a sense of camaraderie, building connections, and, in the case of Lt. Col. Martin, adding a touch of humility.

Lt. Col. Martin, 25th Transportation Battalion commander
(Photo Credit: Maj. Javon Starnes, 19th Expeditionary Sustainment Command public affairs officer) VIEW ORIGINAL

As the 25th Transportation Battalion commander assigned to the 19th Expeditionary Sustainment Command, Martin is pivotal in shaping the Army’s mission in South Korea. But beneath the uniform is a leader with a unique perspective that values authenticity, willpower, and, above all, the human connection. When asked to list specific leadership qualities essential to being an effective leader without hesitation, Martin starts his list with authenticity.

Leading with Authenticity

"We value leaders that have the courage to be, show, and lead with their true self. We are all imperfect, but being comfortable and aware of our quirks, imperfections, and fears allows others to connect and relate with us on a human level. It also creates trust, which is the foundation of any leader and led relationship," says Martin.
Show them who you are
"We value leaders that have the courage to be, show, and lead with their true self. We are all imperfect, but being comfortable and aware of our quirks, imperfections, and fears allows others to connect and relate with us on a human level. It also creates trust, which is the foundation of any leader and led relationship," says Martin. (Photo Credit: Maj. Javon Starnes, 19th ESC PAO) VIEW ORIGINAL

This emphasis on authenticity sets the tone for his entire battalion. Soldiers appreciate leaders who are unafraid to show their true selves, including their quirks. It humanizes the chain of command and builds trust from the ground up. Soldiers want leaders they can trust.

The Importance of Willpower, Self-discipline, and Humility

Continuing his list, Martin reflects on the importance of willpower. “We can develop talent; we cannot develop willpower. A leader must act persistently and resolutely to overcome obstacles and accomplish difficult tasks under adversity,” he emphasized.

Newcomer's briefing
(Photo Credit: 25th Transportation Battalion Unit Public Affairs Representative (UPAR)) VIEW ORIGINAL

In the often challenging and demanding military environment, people and their willpower drive mission success. The unwavering determination keeps Soldiers moving forward when faced with adversity, especially when they are thousands of miles away from friends, family, and loved ones. Martin also believes in the power of self-discipline and humility as essential qualities for leaders in these circumstances. He emphasizes that leaders must demonstrate the ability to control their behavior despite their feelings or desires, all to improve themselves or achieve personal and professional goals.

One has to know how to separate facts from emotions.

Moreover, humility plays a crucial role in Martin’s leadership philosophy.

“A leader must display respect toward others without false pride or arrogance,” said Martin. Humility includes the ability to ask for help when needed. They must be selfless in thoughts, words, and deeds,” he explained.

In the 25th Transportation Battalion, these qualities of authenticity, willpower, self-discipline, and humility are the cornerstones of a strong, cohesive unit ready to tackle any challenge that comes its way.

Fostering a Positive Command Climate

Martin’s senior leaders are dedicated to creating a positive, inclusive command climate where every member feels valued. He believes in getting to know each Soldier individually. “It starts with our newcomer’s brief. We get to see who is new, tell them about who we are, and how we want to get to know every person,” he says.

This personal touch extends to counseling sessions, where the unit’s values and vision are discussed. These conversations create an environment where Soldiers genuinely buy into the mission and the unit’s values.

Making a Difference Beyond the Uniform

Introduction
Lt. Col. Martin introduces himself as he discusses streamlining administrative actions with staff. (Photo Credit: 19th ESC PAO) VIEW ORIGINAL

Martin’s leadership is not confined to the military sphere. He takes pride in the small yet significant gestures that make a big difference in the lives of his Soldiers. “We send letters detailing the individual contributions the Soldier has made and include pictures of the Soldiers doing their jobs home to their next of kin or spouse,” he said. “We believe it’s important to tell their story and what they are accomplishing here in Korea to their loved ones,” Martin added. Additionally, the Movement Control Teams under his command reach out to their communities through the Good Neighbor Program. The overall objective of the Good Neighbor Program is for Soldiers to promote and achieve harmonious relations with its various communities, including but not limited to officials, institutions, organizations, and individuals within the Republic of Korea.

Strengthening Partnerships through Collaboration

Interoperability is critical for Martin’s battalion to excel. He emphasizes the importance of relationships with other units and agencies, both American and Korean, for mission success.

“We work closely with our partners at the 731st Air Mobility Squadron and the 837th Transportation Battalion to ensure organizational overlap during operations with those partners at critical onward movement nodes,” says Martin.

“We partnered with the 837th Transportation Battalion to conduct a Joint rehearsal of concept drill between our battalions. The 25th Transportation Battalion brings the entire battalion to the event and has the Soldiers brief their part in the operation. This type of training ensures Soldiers understand the bigger picture and that our two organizations understand our roles and responsibilities,” he added.
Leadership
(Photo Credit: 25th Transportation Battalion Unit Public Affairs Representative (UPAR)) VIEW ORIGINAL

Soldiers assigned to the Republic of Korea must train as they fight to maintain readiness – tough, realistic training on the ground and in the air during daylight and nighttime conditions. His Soldiers understand that “Fight tonight” readiness underpins the security and stability across the Korean peninsula and northeast Asia.

Lt. Col. Martin stands out in a world where leadership often comes across as stern and rigid. He embodies a modern military leader—authentic, empathetic, ready with a dose of humor, but always displaying high leadership and tact. His leadership style strengthens the 19th Expeditionary Sustainment Command mission and builds camaraderie among his areas of responsibility throughout Korea. Whether it’s sending letters to loved ones, fostering inclusivity, or building partnerships, Lt. Col. Martin proves that leadership is not just about giving orders; it’s about positively impacting the lives of those you lead.

If you’re considering serving in South Korea, join the 19th Expeditionary Sustainment Command –  working under the leadership of Lt. Col. Martin could be an inspiring choice. Speak with your branch about an assignment with the 8th Army and the 19th Expeditionary Sustainment Command in the Republic of Korea.

For more information about joining the 19th Expeditionary Sustainment Command, please visit www.army.mil/19thESC or follow us on social media at www.facebook.com/19thESC or https://www.instagram.com/19thesc/.