Career soldier Mike Marti now wears eagles on his shoulders, the insignia of a U.S. Army colonel.
The right to wear the eagles does not come easy. Marti, a 1985 Archbold High School graduate, has dedicated his adult life to what soldiers call the “profession of arms.”
It can be hard for someone without knowledge of, or experience with, the military to fully appreciate what it means to become a colonel.
Interviewed on Memorial Day after speaking at Archbold and Pettisville Memorial Day services, Marti said, “If I had to make a civilian counterpart comparative, you would be entering the upper level management of a company.
“You would be a junior CEO, chief executive offi- cer.”
Colonels, he said, are charged with guiding the officers below them and understanding the nation’s strategic visions and goals for the future.
“It’s army colonels that do a lot of the senior leader management and leadership,” he said.
Pete Grime, commander of the Archbold American Legion Post, Buehrer-Lauber Weckesser Post 311, put it more succinctly.
“Colonel Marti has achieved a rank near the top,” Grime said. “Men who outrank a colonel wear stars on their shoulders.
“We call them generals.”
Marti said as officers reach certain times in their careers, as they pass through the ranks, they become eligible for promotion.
A central selection board chooses whom to promote. The board met in January, finished its work in February, and Marti was informed in March he’d been promoted.
“It’s always nice to fall on the right side” of the decision, he said.
Marti will turn 45 in June, which, he said, is about the right time to become a colonel.
But for him, it’s not about reaching the next rank.
“To be honest with you, for me, I never gave how far I want to go any consideration. It’s always been enough for me to serve.
“If the U.S. Army, in its capacity and wisdom, found at some point they no longer needed me, I’d be okay with that.”
Currently, Marti attends the United States Army War College.
“The name is misleading,” he said.
“It’s called the Army War College out of historical reasons.
“Our founder, Elihu Root, had a saying, ‘The Army War College isn’t to promote war, but to preserve peace.’
“The curriculum is focused around learning the strategic practices and principals, from leadership to running a national-level strategic enterprise, and really understanding the president’s guidance, so we can provide recommendations from a defense standpoint that support his vision, and doing it in such a way that you can help him achieve it without actually having to go and fight somewhere.”
After the war college, Marti and his family will move to Fort Eustis, on the Chesapeake Bay, where he will work with the Army Capabilities Integration Center.
“One of my jobs will be, along with the Navy, Air Force, Marines, and Coast Guard, to develop and integrate what capability the Department of Defense needs for 2020, to meet the president’s strategic guidance in 2020.”
Ties To Home
The Army has taken Marti far away from Northwest Ohio, including stints in Korea, Iraq, and the Pentagon, the nation’s military headquarters in Washington, D.C.
But he still maintains an affinity for home.
“You know, if I could be home and be a soldier every day, I would be home and be a soldier every day,” he said.
So, are wearing the stars of a general in Marti’s future?
“That’s up to the Army to decide,” he said.