Student Veteran of the Month

Martell Buckley; student veteran

By Matthew Newsome —

Martell Buckley was an infantryman the U.S. Army from 1998 until 2001. Then, after the 9/11 terrorist attacks, he felt the need to return to active duty.

Buckley enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps in 2003 as an 0341 Mortarman. He was stationed at Camp Pendleton, California, with the 1st Battalion, 4th Marines, Weapons Company. Buckley’s primary responsibility was the tactical employment of the 60-mm light mortar and 81-mm medium mortar, which provided indirect fire support to Rifle and Light Armored Reconnaissance squads, platoons and companies.

“I joined the military because I wanted to serve my country and do something out of my own comfort zone,” he said.

Buckley completed three combat tours in Iraq: in 2004, from 2005-2006 and in 2007.  As a Sergeant (E-5) and leader in the Marines, “you must win the hearts and minds of your fellow Marines first before you can do the same for the adversary,” he said.

His military awards include the Combat Action Ribbon (Iraq), Marine Corps Good Conduct Medal, Iraq Campaign Medal, Sea Service Deployment Ribbon, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Certification of Appreciation, and the Rifle Expert Badge.

He was honorably discharged in 2009 at the rank of Sergeant. He began his studies at UIC in 2015 as an applied psychology major.

“I chose UIC because of its diversity and because it is close to home,” said Buckley, who plans to graduate in summer 2017.

Buckley has been an active member of the Student Veterans Association at UIC and works for the Veterans Administration in police services.

Although times get tough, “never give up and do whatever it takes,” said Buckley, who plans to pursue graduate school.

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