Jacksonville surgeon promoted to Major General in Florida Air National Guard
By SSG Blair Heusdens, JFHQ Public Affairs
/ Published July 12, 2011
Jacksonville resident Joseph Kirk Martin was promoted to the rank of Major General, July 8, 2011, during a ceremony at historic St. Francis Barracks, the Headquarters of the Florida National Guard in St. Augustine, Fla. -- "Kirk is the go-to person when we are in crisis either as individuals when we have a health issue or when we have a family member who has a serious illness," said Maj. Gen. Emmett R. Titshaw, the Adjutant General of Florida. "Kirk has been the go-to person that we've gone to at all hours of the night and asked for advice."
Martin is currently serving as the Air National Guard Assistant to the U.S. Air Force Surgeon General and the Joint Surgeon for the National Guard Bureau in Washington, D.C. He also practices as an Emeritus Surgical Oncologist at the Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville, Fla., where he specializes in surgery of the pancreas.
Martin received a direct commission in the U.S. Air Force Reserve Medical Corps in October 1985. Throughout his more than 25 year career as an Air Force Officer, Martin served in various roles including flight surgeon.
On Sept. 11, 2001, Martin was mobilized and selected as the first-ever surgeon general at Headquarters, First Air Force, Tyndall Air Force Base, Fla. During this assignment, he supported Homeland Defense and Civil Support medical issues for the Joint Staff. Martin was selected as the Chief of Staff, Headquarters Florida Air National Guard in July 2007 and promoted to brigadier general in 2008.
"Our lives as citizen-Soldiers wound through three wars and deployments to a lot of places including Germany, England, Iceland, Turkey, Japan, Antarctica, Hawaii, Alaska, islands from the Aleutian to the Polynesian chain, Norway, Estonia, Poland, the Czech Republic, Romania, Ireland, New Zealand, Australia and now the Pentagon. The Guard is everywhere."
Martin has received various awards and recognition throughout his career including being named the Air National Guard Outstanding Medical Officer of the Year in 1994 and he received the Distinguished Career Award from the Mayo Clinic in 2000.
"More than anything else that you will receive as far as recognition in your life, the satisfaction each time that you help save a life must be something tremendous to experience," said Titshaw.
In his current position, Martin is playing a direct part in the National Guard's emerging role in homeland defense. The National Guard is establishing several Homeland Response Forces - chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear response forces - to respond to catastrophic events in the United States.
"We the people of the United States have relied again and again on the Guard," said Martin. "Now, the mission for the Guard, our new mission of homeland defense, is here for us to rise to meet the challenge. I contend that our next mission is actually our first mission."