The Alabama National Guard’s Assistant Adjuntant General Jerry Martin is committed to creating the conditions that set Alabama’s soldiers and airmen up for success and calls his decades of dedicated service “the biggest honor of his life.”
When and why did you join the Alabama National Guard? I joined in 1979 as an enlisted soldier. After eight years, I did commissioning through the Alabama Military Academy, and graduated in 1987. I joined to be of service. And I have a military background in my family; my father was a Master Sergeant in the Air National Guard. Many members of my wife’s family also served.
How long have you been Deputy Adjuntant General? Since February 2021. Before that, I was in a position in Birmingham as Commander of the 135th Sustainment Command. Then COVID hit, and Major General Sheryl E. Gordon asked me to come work for her. I was appointed the senior military advisor to the Alabama Department of Public health during the pandemic, and I stayed in that role until December 2021.
What are your primary duties and responsibilities in this role? I am the voice for Major General Gordon; she stays busy focusing on efforts at a strategic level, so I am the connection within the Air Force and Army colonel commands that we have across the state to ensure we have the readiness in terms of training and personnel to support the governor’s intent in the event of a natural disaster and to meet our other goals and objectives. We also have a federal mission, so we must make sure we have a ready force to answer when we are called on to fight and win our nation’s wars.
What’s your favorite aspect of your work? Shaping the future. God only knows what that future holds, but as it relates to training and readiness of our soldiers, the most enjoyable part of my job is being able to get out and mentor our commanders in the field and make sure we provide every opportunity for our soldiers and airmen to be successful. We are committed to that.
What’s your civilian job? I am now retired, and I retired from Russell Corp in Alex City, where I was the operations manager in the team sports division. It was a tremendous career that helped me with and complemented my military service. It was rewarding to mentor and develop our staff and to be a team player and see how that contributed to the company and to our community. In both my civilian and military careers, I tried to lead by example and lead from front. I never asked anyone to do anything I would not do.
What’s one thing about the AL National Guard you think people should know (that they probably don’t)? We offer so much opportunity for service but also for education, advancement and personal growth in so many career fields. The Guard is just a tremendous opportunity.
What are your interests outside of work? My family. My wife Donna has been with me for the long haul and has been a rock. I used to play golf and hunt and fish, but now, I’m just enjoying being with loved ones at every opportunity. I have daughter in Auburn, a son in Northport, and I have a grandson.
Major General Jerry Martin’s dad served in the Air Force, yet when he chose to join up, he picked the Army. “We had an armory right in Alex City, where I’m from and where I already had a job I liked, and the recruiter, who was Army, painted an appealing picture. I talked it over with my dad, and he was fine with it, so I went that route,” he said. “It was the right move. I’ve had such strong mentors through my entire military career who coached and guided me. I could not have asked for more.”