There was one detail I wasn’t able to get into my story today about Staff Sgt. Moises Martinez, decorated Wednesday for his actions at the Tacoma Mall shooting in November 2005.
It’s the part about how he was quick on his feet. The auditorium at the the Battle Command Training Center was packed with senior officers, senior NCOs and a couple general officers, including the incoming Forces Command boss, Lt. Gen. Charles Campbell. The Secretary of the Army, Francis J. Harvey, gave a quick speech and pinned the medal on Martinez, and then everybody clapped for a long time.
And then they stopped, leaving Martinez kind of standing there at the front of the room. And standing there. And standing there.
People were starting to shuffle about as if they were getting ready to leave.
The post’s command sergeant major, Tommy Williams, looked at Martinez.
“Got anything to say?"
Martinez said later he had a short speech all prepared. But at this moment, he was too nervous to remember it.
But being the kind of guy who can do what he did at the mall that day, he found his composure. He winged it.
He thanked his commanders, his friends and his family.
"This award, you know, I’m honored to receive it," he continued. "But I also dedicate it to those soldiers out there that are in Iraq, Afghanistan, or have served anywhere, that have done their jobs, gave it all. Some didn’t come back.
"And you know this medal just goes out to everyone who has served this Army. I think everyone’s a hero, and that’s pretty much it."