Ocean City Regional Chamber of Commerce President Brian Broadley recently received the Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve’s (ESGR) Seven Seals Award for Outstanding Support of Guardsman.
Most Americans have distinct memories of where they were on Sept. 11, 2001, when the first plane crashed into the World Trade Center and America found itself at war with an elusive enemy half way around the world.
Weapons Shop Maintenance 3 Supervisor and National Guard Airman Emil Martinelli had just finished weapons prepping the fighter jets at the 177th fighter wing. It was a typical day at the base and he was ‘putting in extra time’ as part of the support team for the pilots who were performing their routine morning training missions.
Then the announcement resonated through the base. “RED BALL. BACK TO THE SHOP.” In civilian terms, “return immediately!”
The fighter jets, halfway down the runway, made an abrupt stop and powered back to the hangar.
From that point, at the base in Pomona, NJ, it was American Airmen in motion. They were our military’s ‘first responders’ in our country’s air defense immediately following the explosion attack.
Like a well synchronized dance, the airmen removed the ‘practice munitions’ and began uploading real live air-to-air munitions and cannons. Local airman began arriving in their civilian clothes and ‘self-deployed.’
The situation was eerily similar to the memorable announcement when Pearl Harbor was attacked. “THIS IS NO DRILL.”
In retrospect, after the pride and performance of his fellow patriots, Martinelli applauds his civilian employer, Broadley’s Mechanical Contracting of Somers Point for their exceptional support during his active deployment as well as his routine time commitments to the National Guard. “They couldn’t have done a thing more,” he muses.
For most of the next decade, ‘Citizen Solider’ Martinelli was on active duty at the base and working weekends and in his spare time at Broadley’s. When he retired, not only did they follow the USERRA law (Uniformed Service Employment and Reemployment Rights Act which requires employers to offer the returning veteran their job back) but they welcomed him back with a promotion.
EMPLOYER SUPPORT OF THE GUARD AND RESERVE (ESGR) awarded Broadley’s Mechanical Contracting a Seven Seals Awards which depicts the heraldry of the seven seals of the military that they serve. ESGR is a mostly volunteer, Department of Defense agency that seeks to create a culture where all American employers value the sacrifice and service of their employees. They recognize outstanding support, increase awareness of the law, and resolve conflicts through mediation.
Duty and honor are deeply ingrained in Emil Martinelli. At 17 he knew what he wanted to do with his life. He entered boot camp in May of 1969 and served with the 177th Fighter Wing until 1975.
In his civilian life, he was a custom builder until his friend, Brian Broadley, enticed him to work for his company and run the service department.
Broadley’s Mechanical Contracting was established in the 1950s by Ocean City resident Gamaliel Broadley who served proudly as a Marine during WWII. They refit lighting and HVAC measures for energy savings on commercial and municipal buildings.
When the 1st Gulf War unfolded, Emil Martinelli experienced an overpowering feeling of patriotism. In June of 1992 he explained to his wife, JoAnn, “I’m having a midlife crisis. It’s not a girlfriend or a Harley. I’m re-joining the Air Guard.”
The Airman rejoined with the same unit that he had served with 17 years previously. His eight year old son, Emil Martinelli III was by his side when he took the oath to defend our country. They changed places at the swearing in ceremony when, nine years later, the younger Martinelli followed his father’s footsteps and enlisted as a weapons loader.
In 1994, father and son were deployed, together, to Qatar, Saudi Arabia for thirty one days. The Master Sergeant was the weapons shop Maintenance 3 supervisor and his son served in the same unit as a weapons loader.
It was age that caught up with Martinelli’s ambition. He has risen in the ranks to an E-8 position as a Wings Weapons Manager and a Chief position was within reach but the clock ran out as the Senior Master Sergeant was approaching sixty. Retirement was inevitable.
Now he is looking, through Broadley, to mentor a National Guard or Reservist that possesses the combination of qualities like entrepreneurship, commitment and discipline to join their team as an HVAC/lighting coordinator purchaser and sales associate.
Broadley is listing the career position on the ESGR’s employment website, H2H.jobs that connects veterans and their spouses with ‘employer patriots.”
— News release from Donna Clementoni, Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve (ESGR) Director of Employer Outreach