First Cuban-born Aviation Chief Warrant Officer in the Coast Guard
Chief Warrant Officer Angel L. Martinez was born in 1963 in Havana, Cuba. His father played semi-professional baseball and his mother was an assistant manger at a local supermarket in Havana. In 1967 Angel and his family fled Cuba for the United States onboard a freedom flight. The family lived in Miami for about a week and then moved to Puerto Rico for three years. His father started a commercial vehicle servicing station. By 1970 the family moved back to the Miami area where they lived throughout the cities of Miami, South Miami, and Hialeah. Angel's teenage years included all the normal expected shenanigans, although he showed maturity. Angel decided to pursue an aviation career path at an early age. He attended George T. Baker Aviation Technical School while still in High School. He graduated in 1982 from Hialeah Senior High School and by 1983; he decided to join the Coast Guard. He enlisted in 1983 in Miami and attended basic training in Cape May, New Jersey. Upon completing basic training he received orders to the cutter Red Beech, a 157-foot buoy tender based in Governors Island, New York.
Before reporting for to his initial tour of duty, he married his high school sweetheart. During his first tour onboard the buoy tender, he displayed his inner drive toward succeeding in the Coast Guard. Although he was the junior Seaman Apprentice onboard, his dedication and hard work was rewarded by the command. He was then assigned to Aids to Navigation Team, Saugerties, New York, as the unit's leading Seaman. There, he qualified as coxswain on the unit's 45-foot "A frame" buoy vessel, and also served as assistant Quartermaster. He attended Aids to Navigation Training and Aids to Navigation Positioning School in Governors Island. In 1985, he attended Aviation Technical Training Center at Elizabeth City, North Carolina.
After graduating from ATTC as a Third Class Petty Officer, Aviation Mechanic (AM) Angel reported to his first Aviation Unit, USCG Air Station Miami, in Opa Locka, Florida. There, he served in the normal path of an apprentice mechanic, Metal Shop, Corrosion Team, qualifying as an Aircrew and the Drop master onboard the HU-25A Falcon jets. By 1987, Angel advanced to Petty Officer Second Class, was on the HU25 aircraft Standardization Team and on his way to establishing his name in the Aviation field. In 1986, his daughter was born and he realized things were now really coming together in his life. He became heavily involved with the HU-25 jet A,B,C, modification / upgrade projects. In 1989 Michael, Angel's second child was born. Now he knew life was good. By 1990, Angel was advanced to Petty Officer First Class. He also grew in his aeronautical knowledge by serving as HU-25 shop supervisor, Primary Quality Assurance Inspector, and Flight Examining Board Assistance Chairman. Much recognition was paid to Angel during this period including the fixed wing Perchard Outstanding Aircrew award and the Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce Award for community service. He switched from the HU-25 aircraft program into the RG-8A motor glider program. Here, he used his supervisory knowledge and his aviation mechanical skills, which were acquired by preparing for his Airframe and Power Certification from the Federal Aviation Administration.
Martinez transferred to USCG Communication Station Miami in 1994 and served as an operator, section supervisor, collections manager, and then as assistant operations officer. He was also the chairman of a specified collection group. Here too, he was recognized both with military and civilian awards, including the Navy League Service Person of the year and three consecutive nominations as Atlantic Area's Enlisted Person of the Year (EPOY).
He returned to USCG Air Station Miami and headed the RU-38A Developmental and Operational project. The RU-38A was the predecessor to the RG-8A motor glider. However, this aircraft was not adopted and subsequently dropped from development. In 1999 Martinez was promoted to Aviation Warrant Officer. During this promotion he became the first Cuban born Aviation Chief Warrant Officer in Coast Guard history. From the Air Station, he was again assigned to an out-of-specialty billet at the USCG Maritime Intelligence Center, Miami. Here, he collected, evaluated, and disseminated narcotics, migrant, and military intelligence to Seventh district units and to the National Intelligence Community. By 2000, Angel was serving as Officer-in-Charge of the Tactical Analysts Team in Barranquilla Colombia. Here he was responsible for tactical reporting of vessel departing Colombia's north coast.
In 2002, The National Military Intelligence Association recognized Martinez for his outstanding performance as an Intelligence Officer and presented him with the Admiral Fredrick Billard Award at a special ceremony held in Washington DC.