FAIRFAX, VA, USA U.S. Marines MAJ, HMLA-369, MAG-39, 3D MAW, CAMP PENDLETON, CA ALI AN NU MAN, IRAQ 11/02/2005
A longtime Washington Redskins fan, Marine Captain Michael David Martino admired former cornerback Darrell Green, a player who lacked size but had the tenacity to always make the play. The Oceanside, California, resident showed similar determination, whether on the high school football field or in studying for his economics degree.
Michael Martino displayed that courage and dedication most fully in his career as a Marine Corps helicopter pilot.
Martino and another Marine officer were killed near Ramadi in Iraq when their AH-1W Super Cobra helicopter crashed as they flew a support mission.
From the day he was a little kid, he wanted to fly – he would ride his bike to the El Toro Marine Corps Air Station to watch the planes, talk with the pilots and admire the air power. A Marine Corps career grew alongside that dream.
His parents moved to Fairfax, Virginia, and Michael Martino followed after graduating from the University of California at San Diego. He entered the Basic School at Quantico Marine Corps Base in 1993 for officer training.
During his first tour Martino served not in the air, but on the ground as a forward air controller. He called in air strikes on enemy positions, and his actions during that campaign earned him a Navy Commendation Medal and a Bronze Star Medal with Valor Device. Martino was posthumous awarded the Bronze Star medals with Valor Device and Air Medals with Valor Device. In March 2006, Martino was posthumously promoted to Major.