by U.S. Navy Mass Communication Specialist Second Class Leslie L. Koxvold
March 2, 2019
In the culture of the United States, there is a common expectation for high school graduates to attend college immediately following graduation. For Master-at-Arms Second Class Yvette Martinez, and many of her applicants, another path to success is a better fit. Currently assigned to Navy Talent Acquisition Group (NTAG) Nashville and Talent Acquisition Onboarding Center (TAOC) Music City, Martinez works hard from her detachment in Murfreesboro, Tennessee, to help mentor prospective Future Sailors who are a little apprehensive of going against the status quo.
Martinez grew up in Bakersfield, California. She decided to join the U.S. Navy while in high school. “At the time, I didn’t want to go to college. I didn’t think I was mature enough for it,” said Martinez. “I was also chasing independence.”
In Tennessee, high school graduates are eligible to attend the first two years of community college for free. However, Martinez says she has found a lot of the young people she talks to feel the same way she did at their age – they do not feel ready for college.
“I want to show them it is okay to not start college right away,” said Martinez. “Look at me; I chose an unorthodox path.”
After completing her first active-duty enlistment with the Navy, Martinez transitioned to the Navy Reserve. During her reserve service, she felt she had grown professionally and mentally, and was ready to reignite her educational career.
Using her Post-9/11 GI Bill, Martinez began working on a bachelor of science degree in political science. She is currently seven classes away from completing her goal. Upon completion of her degree, Martinez intends to submit a Judge Advocate General’s Corps (JAG) Student Program application.
“I just want to help people and make a positive change in their lives,” said Martinez. She implements her passion that is driving her future goals into her daily work as a recruiter.
Martinez is viewed as a role model by many of her prospective Future Sailors. Her career in the Navy has been exciting and full of adventure. Her experience has taken her to a variety of places, ranging all across the globe from California to Italy, and throughout the Middle East.
Martinez feels her travels have given her a new perspective on life. She spoke specifically about her time in the United Arab Emirates. While there, she was able to witness a wide array of socioeconomic structures in a small area on her commute from home to work.
“It is humbling to see the richest of the rich and then the poorest of the poor in such a short amount of time,” said Martinez.
It is experiences like these, and how Martinez has grown as a professional, that make her inspirational to the high school students she speaks to.
“What makes a bad day good is when these kids come in here and want to be like me.” said Martinez. “I feel like, and I hope, I am guiding somebody towards something bigger than themselves.”
She hopes to be able to offer herself as a good role model and show the Navy as an unequivocal opportunity for professional development for her applicants. Though she is focused on her passion to help others and mentor the next generation of Sailors, Martinez tries to keep a balance. She puts a great deal of effort into her work and her applicants, as she continues to work hard towards her own goals and career.
Visit Commander, Navy Recruiting Command for more information about joining the U.S. Navy.