Union native is named Sailor of the Year while serving in Naples, Italy

Petty Officer 1st Class Jonathan Martinez

UNION, NJ — Petty Officer 1st Class Jonathan Martinez, a native of Union serving with Naval Computer and Telecommunications Station in Naples, Italy, was named Sailor of the Year.

Sailor of the Year is one of several awards that recognize high-performing sailors who stand out from others in similar pay grades.

Martinez is an information systems technician responsible for all matters of communication, including administering Navy networks, configuring complex radio circuits and securing communications with cryptography.

“We can be deployed worldwide on ships, ashore or attached to expeditionary units,” said Martinez.

Martinez, a 2010 Union High School graduate and 2018 University of Maryland graduate, joined the Navy 10 years ago, with the goal of having a positive impact on himself and on those close to him.

“I joined the Navy very shortly after I graduated high school,” Martinez said. “My grandfather was a police officer, and my father and brother were veterans.”

NCTS Naples provides secure, reliable and timely voice, video and data services to several U.S. Navy commands, including the U.S. 6th Fleet, U.S. Naval Forces Europe, and joint, allied and coalition customers. It comprises approximately 20 officers, 325 enlisted personnel and 40 civilians.

“My favorite part of being a communicator is feeling the eureka moment, when the team figures out a problem that everyone has been stumped on,” said Martinez.
According to Martinez, the values required to succeed in the Navy are similar to those found in Union.

“Putting in hard work has been a lesson I learned in my hometown,” Martinez said. “I’ve been in the workforce since I was 15. I worked at the Galloping Hill Inn diner for a short while, and I delivered food for Asia Garden. Additionally, I worked at the Lehigh car wash before joining the Navy.”

Though there are many ways for sailors to earn distinction in their command, community and career, Martinez’s proudest accomplishment is having helped his home state during the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy.

“My squadron sent myself and other sailors up to Lakehurst, to help with the relief effort,” Martinez said. “Since most cell phone towers and other communication lines were down, we were tasked to set up a mobile tactical network on the base. This facilitated a joint operations center for operational commanders to coordinate relief efforts from ashore and afloat units.”

As a member of the U.S. Navy, Martinez knows he is a part of a service tradition providing unforgettable experiences through leadership development, world affairs and humanitarian assistance.

“The Navy gives me the ability to provide for my family and experience the world in a way I would have not been able to had I chosen a different route in life,” said Martinez.