Colonel Ricardo Martinez graduated from Texas A&M University and was commissioned in May 1990. 2nd Lieutenant Martinez reported to primary flight training in Pensacola, Florida and Corpus Christi, Texas and was designated a Naval Aviator in July 1993. In March 1994, 1st Lieutenant Martinez completed UH-1N flight training was subsequently assigned to HMLA-169. During his first operational tour, he served as an ACE Embarkation Officer, NATOPS Officer, Plans Officer, and Weapons and Tactics Instructor. He participated in numerous MEU (SOC) Exercises in Okinawa, Jordan, U.A.E. and Kuwait. In December 1994, he was promoted to the rank of Captain. He served with 1st Battalion, 1st Marine Regiment from February 1998 to March 1999. He held several billets with the “First of the First” that included Battalion Air Officer, Battalion Assistant Operations Officer, and H&S Company Commander. In March 1999, Captain Martinez reported to Officer Candidate School and served as the Assistant Operations Officer. His Career Level School assignment was at the Command and Control Systems Course. In March of 2000, he was promoted to the rank of Major.
In May 2000, Major Martinez was board -selected to serve in HMX-1’s Operational Test and Evaluation Department. During this tour, he served at NAS Patuxent River with the H-1 Upgrades Operational Test Team. Major Martinez was the first non-Test Pilot School aviator to be designated as an aircraft commander in the UH-1Y. One of his primary duties as the first UH-1Y Operational Test Director and pilot was to plan, test, and report the first UH-1Y Operational Test Assessment in the spring of 2003. In August 2003, Major Martinez reported to HMLA-369. For his overseas deployment, he reported to HMM-265(REIN) to work as the ACE Logistics Officer. He participated in Exercises Foal Eagle and Cobra Gold. In August 2004, Major Martinez became the HMLA-369 Executive Officer and deployed to Al Taqaddum Air Base, Iraq for combat operations from August 2005 to March 2006. In June of 2006, he reported to HMLA/T-303 to serve as the Executive Officer. He was promoted to lieutenant colonel in July of 2006.
From June of 2007 to May 2009, Lieutenant Colonel Martinez commanded Marine Aircraft Group 49, Detachment Charlie at NAS JRB New Orleans. During this command tour, his four detachments (Marine Light Attack Helicopter Squadron 773 Detachment A, Marine Aviation Logistics Detachment, 4th Marine Aircraft Wing Military Police Detachment, and Marine Transport Detachment) successfully mobilized and deployed in support of Operation IRAQI FREEDOM. Lieutenant Colonel Martinez commenced a joint tour at U.S. Central Command in July 2009. He initially worked as the J-7 Arabian Peninsula Branch Chief and the Exercise Bright Star Lead Planner. In May of 2010, Lieutenant Colonel Martinez was CentCom board selected to serve as the Executive Officer to the U.S. CentCom Chief of Staff.
From August-December 2011, he had a tour at HQMC, Office of Legislative Affairs as a Congressional Liaison Officer. In preparation for his Top Level School (TLS) tour at Inter-American Defense College (IADC), Lieutenant Colonel Martinez attended Spanish language training at the Foreign Service Institute from January-June 2012. He completed TLS at the IADC from July 2012 to June 2013. He was promoted to his present rank of colonel in October 2012. While waiting to execute his orders to take command of MCAS Yuma, Colonel Martinez was assigned to the SecNav Council of Review Boards.
Colonel Martinez’s personal awards include the Distinguished Flying Cross with Combat Distinguishing Device, Defense Meritorious Service Medal, Meritorious Service Medal with Gold Star, Strike/Flight Air Medal Numeral “8”, the Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal with Gold Star, and the Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal. Additionally, in May of 2006, he was awarded the American Legion Post 743 Aviator Valor Award. In June of 2006, he was awarded the Order of the Daedalians 2006 Outstanding Aviator of the Year. And in Oct 2006, he was awarded the Marine Corps Aviation Association’s Alfred A. Cunningham Award for the “Marine Corps Aviator of the Year”.