By Kristin Molinaro, The BayonetFebruary 9, 2011
FORT BENNING, Ga. - The commandant of the U.S. Army Armor School got his star Friday.
Col. Ted Martin was frocked to brigadier general in a ceremony in front of hundreds at the Benning Conference Center. The event was standing-room only with guests coming from several states - VIPs included retired Gen. William Richardson, retired Gen. Edwin Burba, Columbus mayor Teresa Tomlinson and several former Fort Benning commanders.
Martin becomes the third general officer at Fort Benning.
His star was pinned on by wife, Stephanie, and mother, Joan, who Martin credits with giving him the support and love to pursue a career spanning nearly 30 years.
Daughter Ashley presented him with the general officer belt while the 9 mm Beretta, the general officer pistol, was presented by youngest son Anthony.
The Cavalry Stetson with general officer gold braid and the general officer service cap were presented by twin sons Field and Teddy.
Martin said his career has exceeded his expectations. As a student at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, N.Y., Martin captained the swim team but struggled in academics. The budding Armor officer was the last cadet of his 1983 class to receive an Armor slot - 117 out of 117.
"Here he is now, the chief of Armor," said Maj. Gen. Robert Brown, the Fort Benning and Maneuver Center of Excellence commander.
Standing alongside a portrait of his father, Martin thanked his mother, calling her an unsung hero.
Martin's father, retired Lt. Col. Ephriam Martin, died in 1989 after a battle with cancer. Ephriam dropped out of high school and enlisted in the Navy during World War II. After the war, he went to college and eventually joined the Army. He fought in the Korean and Vietnam wars and passed his love for the Army onto his four sons. After his death, Joan went on to put her sons through West Point.
"It was (she) who carried the heaviest rucksack and the M240 on patrol ... if it wasn't for (her) I wouldn't be here today," Martin said. "The saying is 'they don't make medals for moms' but you know what' I do."
Martin presented her with a medal with several hand-sewn stars made with his "own two paws," saying "If I have one star, then she should have a whole bunch more."
Martin also recognized the contributions of his wife, whom he married a few months before Sept. 11, 2001.
"Through thick and thin, she's been with me," he said.
In the past decade, Martin has deployed three times to Iraq.
Martin was commander of the 4th Infantry Division's 1st Squadron, 10th Cavalry Regiment and was part of the initial push into Iraq in 2003. He also deployed in 2005 and 2007. In his 28-year career, Martin has held a variety of assignments ranging from tank commander to Armor Branch chief.
At the ceremony, he thanked his children.
"It's not been easy for them and they don't always understand why I'm gone or why - when I'm home - I'm exhausted. But they trust me and have confidence in me," he said.
The Fort Benning commander praised Martin's leadership style and his role in bringing the Armor School to Fort Benning.
"From the time he was 3 years old he wanted to be in the Army. You can see that in everything he does. He's a great mentor ... loves teaching others and is an inspiration. He's the exact right person to execute this incredible move of Armor," Brown said.