Steve Martinez, 30, grew up in Post in a family with military roots and he realized he wanted to follow in their footsteps when he was just in middle school.
"My great-grandfather was in the military as well and he made several combat tours. It was just something ongoing with the family," said Martinez.
So on the day he turned 18, the young and eager Martinez made his own dream come true and enlisted.
His first deployment was to Iraq in March 2003 where he found himself in the heart of a brutal battle, the first invasion of An-Nasiriyah. They lost 18 soldiers in that battle and one of the casualties was Martinez' close friend and roommate, Lance Corporal Slocum.
Just a year later, Martinez was deployed to Iraq again and they took several casualties. According to Martinez, you are never prepared for this kind of loss until you are actually in battle experiencing it. But he chose to fight on and became a team leader, carrying the lives of other Marines on his shoulders.
"I told my team, anytime there was ever a grenade or anything, I would put myself in front of them to avoid them from getting injured. I told them I would be the one to jump on that grenade or take a round for one of them just so that they could come back to their families."
Although Martinez endured tremendous suffering during his two tours, he says if got a phone call today he would be there in a heartbeat.
In his own words, "I think my family would understand. They know that being a Marine meant everything to me."
On March 23, 2013, the 10th anniversary of the battle of An-Nasiriyah, Martinez will travel to Washington D.C. along with others who fought in that battle to remember and honor the ones they lost.