MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C.-- -- When Master Gunnery Sgt. Charles T. Hartman found out he would be promoted to his present rank, he requested to have a small ceremony with his parents and key members of his chain of command present. There must have been a glitch in the system, because all of Company C, 2nd Radio Battalion, II Marine Expeditionary Force, showed up to witness his pinning.
His promotion ceremony was only a small reflection of his influence within his occupational field. Hartman, a Signals Intelligence/Ground Electronic Warfare Chief, has spent the last 21 years in the Marine Corps, each day contributing his time, dedication and knowledge to the U.S.
Hartman explained he grew up as an “Army brat,” as his father retired as a command sergeant major. He graduated high school in El Paso, Texas and joined the Marine Corps from Huntington, W.V.
“My father was able to make it,” said Hartman, referring to his family’s military tradition. Hartman admitted in the beginning, he didn’t expect he would become one of the few top dogs within his profession. “The first re-enlistment was almost harder than the original enlistment, but once I did do that first re-enlistment, I was always striving to move up. A lot of it was because of my dad. I wanted to follow in his footsteps, basically.”
“I originally copied and sent Morse Code manually,” said Hartman, reflecting on his first years in the Corps. “You would have other intelligence units out there, like (human intelligence), or (reconnaissance). There’s always a signal environment. We would gather information from that.”
As Hartman graduated through the ranks, he took on not only the additional responsibility with each new step, also the technological world as a whole.
“I depend as much on younger Marines to teach me as they depend on me to teach them,” he laughed, remembering his return to signals intelligence after a tour on recruiting duty. From the time he left to the time he got back, many major pieces of equipment had been updated or replaced with newer, high-tech models, he said.
“If you’re not within the Fleet Marine Force deployable units, it’s hard to keep up with it,” said Hartman, who put in the extra effort to keep up with his trade.
“As you get up in to the master gunnery sergeant billet, you run the operations with the battalion, sending the junior Marines where we need them to have them do their linguist skills, manual Morse, and radar. It’s all involved.”
“My job now is to mentor and help junior Marines into what they can do within this field. The only thing that’s going to hold them back is themselves. In this day and age with computer and the signals environment, there are no limits,” said Hartman.
Hartman, 45, is currently acting as the Charlie Company 1st Sgt., a position which enables him to have heavy influence on all Marines within his charge.
“He’s a good guy and fun to work with,” said Sgt. Jason Fleeman, 22, a native of Burlington, N.C., who currently works with Hartman and attended the promotion ceremony. “He gets involved with his Marines and keeps them motivated.”
When referring to the impromptu, congratulatory formation for a well-deserved rank, Hartman said, “I’ve known a lot of these Marines here for a while,” noting he has been with 2nd Radio Bn. since May 2000. “It’s very emotional having them do this for me.”