Michael W. Martin Jr., was born June 25, 1961, in Wenatchee, Wash. I grew up on a horse ranch and enjoyed both the exhibiting side of competing in horse shows and rodeos as well as the organizational side of the equine industry. I competed in the American Junior Quarter Horse Association’s World Championships every year from 1974-1980 and in 1980—after previously serving as treasurer and 1st vice-president—I was elected president of the AJQHA (the largest youth equine group in the world).

Although I enjoyed showing horses immensely, I was looking for something much more exciting than going around in circles, so I started roping. First it was team roping, but evolved into breakaway roping and calf roping. I spent EVERY waking hour practicing on the roping dummies, but also enjoyed trick roping [Note: My childhood hero was Will Rogers, and I pretty much wore out Chester Byers’ book on ‘trick roping’ at an early age.]

During the summers, every Tuesday and Thursday I was at the local roping club practicing and competing. On the weekends, I was off to jackpots, whereby even if I didn’t wn much more than ‘gas and food’ money, at least I was learning from those better than me. I also competed in High School Rodeo and just missed qualifying for Nationals. 

One of the keys to my success was that my parents understood the benefit of being coached by the BEST there was…within reason. I attended roping schools with Dean Oliver (I actually was recognized as the ‘Most Improved’ student at his course), Dee Pickett, Mike Beers, Allen Bach, Jerry Anderson, Pat Minor (yes…THOSE Minors), and others.

Eventually, I finished in the top ten at the AJQHA World Championships several times including a reserve World Champion in halter, a third in heeling, and being one of the first breakaway ropers to go sub-two seconds!

After traveling extensively throughout the U.S. and Canada during my term as AJQHA president, I returned to my academic pursuits. Although I had great academic aspirations, I enjoyed many sports and outdoor activities even more. Eight years later and still no degree, I dreamed of going to Europe and racing bicycles, so I joined the Navy! 

I was the Honor Recruit at Boot Camp in Orlando before heading to Gulfport, Miss. for Engineering Aide ‘A’ School. I achieved my first goal by getting orders to the Public Works Department at NAS Sigonella, Sicily. Although I injured my leg soon after arriving there in early 1989, eventually I was able to race for an amateur Italian team.

In 1991, I transferred to Pensacola, Fla. so I could attend the University of West Florida while working at Construction Battalion Unit-402. In 1994, I moved back to Gulfport with Naval Mobile Construction Battalion One (NMCB-1). During my tour with NMCB-1, I deployed to the Middle East several times during Operations DESERT STORM and DESERT SHIELD. In early 1995, my command made a routine deployment to Guam. While in Guam, I served as the leading petty officer for the civil engineering, materials testing, and drafting departments. I was the lead on several projects for Guam’s 50th Anniversary of their Liberation.

In 1992, I attended a coaching course at the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colo., and entertained the opportunity to train for, and hopefully compete in, the 1996 Olympic Games.

After returning from a deployment to Guam in 1995 with NMCB-1, I separated from the Navy to fulfill another dream by starting a fitness-related business in Italy. However, I was convinced otherwise due to organized crime, etc. and instead, I began working for an Italian construction firm at NAS Sigonella.

I quickly realized how much I missed the Navy – the camaraderie, the challenge, and the chance to be part of something big! There was a huge hole in my life, which began when I left the Navy.

I came back into the Navy in 1996 and attended Journalism ‘A’ School at Ft. Meade, Md. I graduated with honors in June of 1997 and returned to Sicily as a Journalist 3rd Class working at AFN Sigonella (TV and radio station). In August 2000, I transferred to Fleet Support Detachment Sigonella (same building) and became the Officer-in-Charge in 2001. I was also selected as Naval Media Center Broadcast Sailor of the Year in 2001.

In 2000, I won my first powerlifting world championship in Antwerp, Belgium.

In June 2003, I transferred to the Naval Postgraduate School (NPS) in Monterey, Calif., as I wanted to be in an academic environment. I was promoted to Chief Journalist in August 2003 (E-4 to E-7 in six years). In January 2005, I took over as the first enlisted Public Affairs Officer (PAO) at NPS. However, my tour was cut short as I was asked to fill a gapped billet on USS John C Stennis (CVN 74). I transferred in May of 2006. I deployed twice with CVN 74 to the Persian Gulf. During our deployments, I helped establish the first ‘media’ department onboard an aircraft carrier; assisted with the merger of four job ratings into the ‘mass communication specialist’ rating; led my team to be recognized as the most successful media department of the dozen active carriers; and in addition to being the leading chief petty officer for the media department, I also held the command-wide collateral duties of fitness leader and financial specialist.

In early 2009, I transferred back to AFN Sigonella and took over as station manager. After a short two years there, I transferred to Naval Public Affairs Support Element West at Naval Station North Island, Coronado, Calif., and became the senior enlisted advisor for more than 100 Sailors at five remote detachments.

On July 16, 2010—possibly the happiest day of my life—I found out I was promoted to Senior Chief Mass Communication Specialist AND I married Joyce Denise Martin.

In 2012, I was asked to step in at the last minute and be the PAO onboard USS Forrest Sherman (DDG 98) for Exercise JOINT WARRIOR 12-2 in Northern Europe. Finally, my last six months in the Navy were spent filling the PAO position at Coastal Riverine Group ONE at the Naval Outlying Field in Imperial Beach. I retired on June 30, 2014, after 26+ years of service.

In 2012, I won my second World Championships in drug-free powerlifting and set more world records.

In November 2014, I took over as the Ombudsman for NRSW RCC (my wife’s command). In this role, I was the liaison between the commanding officer, chief staff officer, command master chief and 11,000 Sailors and their families.

In 2018, I won my third World Championships in drug-free powerlifting and set more world records. Since then, I have competed in numerous events and won multiple world cup, national, and state titles, while setting or breaking dozens of records.

I completed a BA in Journalism from Thomas Edison State College in 2001. I finished an MBA in Managerial Leadership from City University in June 2004. I finished all my coursework for Walden University’s PhD program in Organizational Psychology and completed three different dissertation proposals and their accompanying literature reviews. I am developing three entrepreneurial ventures (one with my wife) as well as writing several books, a screenplay, a blog and podcast, and online courses. 

I enjoy reading, writing, traveling, participating in sports and other outdoor activities. I raced bikes in Italy for ten years and competed internationally in triathlons. I formed cycling and triathlon teams at NAS Sigonella, which competed throughout Europe. In powerlifting, I also formed and coached a team at NAS Sigonella. I have won more than 100 state, national, military, European, and world competitions (3X world champion) and hold many records. I have climbed all the volcanoes and numerous other mountains and rock formations in the lower 48 states and in Europe. I have participated in one form another in more than two dozen sports. Additionally, I coach and train numerous highly competitive athletes as I am a certified personal trainer, online personal trainer, sports and exercise nutritionist, sports performance specialist, senior fitness specialist and brain health trainer. I am also currently working on a sleep, stress reduction, and recovery certification. I have also held certifications as CrossFit instructor, Olympic weightlifting coach, Train to Hunt director for Calif., a wildland firefighter and EMT.