VETERANS’ CORNER: US Navy Veteran Shares Experience

By Earl Ward
Staff Writer

Brookhaven College student Nick Martinez was in the Navy for a total of six years, active and reserve. During those six years, he spent time on the aircraft carrier USS Enterprise working on the steam catapults, a device used to launch aircraft from ships. During his tour in Afghanistan, he did a mixture of working on trucks, running convoys, heavy wrecker operator and as a gunner.
Martinez said: “While on the Enterprise, there wasn’t a lot of spare time or a lot of different things to do. So I just spent my free time reading and taking it easy.
“But while in Afghanistan, I had a little more free time. The best thing I did while there was meet my girlfriend. She is an Army Sergeant and stationed at Fort Carson, Colorado.”
Being from the Dallas area, Martinez returned to attend college and start his new life after the military.
Martinez is majoring in Automotive Technology while at Brookhaven. At this time, he is not sure whether he wants to go on to a university or not. “I just want to learn as much as I can and keep on trying to better myself in all walks of life,” Martinez said.
“I enjoy riding my motorcycle and just hanging out with my friends when I’m not studying or in class,” he said. “So far I like everything about going here at Brookhaven.”
What was the hardest thing that he had to get used to when he came back from an overseas tour? Martinez said, “It was trying to get used to being back in civilian life. Being in the reserves, you can be here at home one moment and then sent overseas in a few weeks, then back in civilian life, and then sent back overseas for another tour. It can be hard on you if you let it get to you.”
Martinez is in the process of going into the Individual Ready Reserve. That is a kind of holding pool of former military people who have active duty time and still have one or two years left of their military commitment.