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Leading the charge out of Iraq

627th Logistics Readiness Squadron Airman awarded Bronze Star

Col. Valerie Hasberry, 627th Air Base Group commander, presents Tech. Sgt. Marques Martin, 627th Logistics Readiness Squadron vehicle operator, with the Bronze Star Medal April 6 at McChord Field. /Senior Airman Leah Young

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With his convoy team set to venture into potentially dangerous conditions in Iraq on the other side of the U.S. base's walls, Tech. Sgt. Marques Martin was calm, cool and collected.

As a deployed convoy commander tasked with leading teams carrying supplies and equipment out of Iraq, the 627th Logistics Readiness Squadron Airman stayed true to his laid back personality.

"They all look to you," Martin said of his convoy troops. "If you have your head together, then the rest of the team will fall in line with you."

During his third six-month deployment to Iraq, Martin distinguished himself as a convoy commander, earning a Bronze Star Medal. The 30-year-old Airman from Vallejo, Calif. was awarded the medal during a ceremony April 6 at McChord Field.

"It was a surreal experience to be the last Air Force team to cross the border (out of Iraq and into Kuwait)," said Martin, a 12-year Air Force veteran.

Martin led 50-truck convoy teams comprised of U.S. Airmen, Soldiers and third country nationals in transporting equipment out of Iraq as part of the U.S. drawdown in the country.

"We had several teams with Soldiers from Joint Base Lewis-McChord," Martin said.

The experience helped Martin refine his leadership skills, teaching him how to unite various personalities and get everyone on the same page before venturing out into hostile territory.

"You always have to be aware (on roads outside the wire)," he said. "It's unpredictable."

The award is a crowning achievement for the Airman, who joined the Air Force with his cousin two weeks after graduating from high school.

"It's the biggest award I've received," said Martin, a Lacey resident who plans on staying in the Air Force and completing his 20 years.

He's also enjoyed the support he's received for a job well done from his family and other Airmen in his McChord Field unit.

"We have a very tight-knit career field," he said of vehicle operations.

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