Herald JournalHerald Journal, March 17, 2003

LP graduate speaking Russian, seeking travels

By Julie Yurek

Samolyot.

Specialist Molly Martin knows what this Russian word means ­ and that she will likely be dropping out of samolyots quite often in the future, because it means "airplane."

Martin is studying the Russian language in the U.S. Army military intelligence, and plans to attend airborne military training.

Martin is stationed at Presidio of Monterey, Calif., where she is obtaining her training in Russian.

She graduated second in her class from Lester Prairie High School in 1998. She is the daughter of Pam Green of Lester Prairie.

Martin joined the National Guard in Cloquet in 1998 and attended the University of Minnesota Duluth for two years. She switched over to active Army, coincidentally on Sept. 12, 2001.

She received the German Armed Forces Proficiency Badge (GAPB), a good conduct medal, Army commendation medal, was named soldier of the month November 2002, and sings in the Russian choir.

For the GAPB, Martin had to take a written first aid test, complete various track and field events, run one mile, qualify with a 9 mm pistol, and carry a rucksack on back with 23 pounds of equipment for 13, 16, and 19 miles.

For soldier of the month, Martin had to know general soldier knowledge, history facts, present a well-ironed and shined appearance to the board, and tell about her military career and goals.

She will graduate in June with a degree in Russian from the Defense Language Institute of Foreign Language Center.

From there, she will go to either Fort Benning or Fort Bragg for airborne training. Once she has completed that training, she will go to Fort Bragg for assignment. However, things could always change, she said.

Martin joined the military to see the world and do something interesting with her life.

She choose to go into military intelligence for similar reasons. "I wanted to do something interesting and challenging," Martin said. "Also, I wanted a job which would ensure I'd be able to learn a foreign language."

Martin chose training in the Russian language because she already speaks Spanish, and she has always been interested in Russia, she said.

"Plus, I don't think I could pass for an Asian of any kind, and the other languages needed are mostly Asian right now," she said.

"You don't have to look the language you're learning, but I personally think that it would help while interacting with native speakers of a given language if you aren't totally dissimilar," she said.

Martin is engaged to Aaron Michael Smith, who is in the military too.

Smith, who is from Ohio, is also in military intelligence. He is stationed in Korea, she said.

The couple was planning a wedding last December, but it had to be postponed due to a proposed stop movement order, she said.

The couple has not set a new date, but has tentatively decided it will happen when Smith gets back from Korea in June, she said.

How does Martin feel about the possibility of going to war?

"I would feel a lot better with the full backing of the United Nations, but it's not my decision. As a soldier, if my country sends me to war, it's my duty to go."

With her training in the Russian language, Martin hopes to become a warrant officer, however, it is about two to three years away for her, she said.

"I want to get some deployments under my belt and more experience. It's always an adventure," she said

As of right now, Martin does not plan on making a career of the Army. "I want to finish my biology degree someday and work in that field."

Until that time comes, Martin is looking forward to traveling. "I want to go to Russia or maybe Bosnia and see as much of the world as possible."


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