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By Dolly Rairigh Glass

BUSHIKA MARTIN MARINE-editA native of the small town of Florida, in the mountains of northwestern Massachusetts, Martin Bushika said it must have been his destiny that he would one day make the move to Florida, the state. As his school’s Valedictorian, Bushika was excited to be accepted to the Naval Academy, where he studied Electrical Engineering with the ‘great class of 1978,’ and graduated top in his class, giving him first choice on Service Selection, which for Bushika was the submarine community.

Martin Bushika has a dual role for Program Manager for Training Systems, serving as the Director of Operations and Assistant Program Manager for Program Management. As the Director of Operations, Bushika said he helps fulfill the goal of doing everything they can to help make the three product managers successful. “We don’t make the programs; we help make the programs better,” Bushika said. “We provide infrastructure, policy support and tools for our team to integrate their actions across all of our competencies.”

In his other role as the Assistant Program Manager, or the Competency Lead for Program Management, Bushika, along with the other four Competency Leads for PM TRASYS, are there to ensure overall success: following policies, sharing any lessons learned or ‘how best’ to do things across the entire workforce, and making sure that team members are properly trained according to the Defense Acquisition University certification requirements.

Bushika said he couldn’t wait to leave his small town of Florida upon graduation and when he arrived at the Naval Academy, he found that many of his classmates had a ‘more robust’ education than what he had received back in his town. That just made him work harder. The hard work paid off: good grades, top of class ranking, first selection for service, and he was ready for the next step.

Following completion of the Naval Nuclear Power Training at Naval Nuclear Power School in his future home of Orlando, and Naval Nuclear Prototype Training Unit and Submarine Officer’s Basic Course, his first sea duty assignment was as Engineering Officer of the Watch on the U.S.S. Francis Scott Key. Subsequently he was assigned to the U.S.S. Daniel Boone where he alternately served as the Communications Officer, Chemistry and Radiological Controls Officer, Main Propulsion Assistant and Sonar Officer, completing a total of six strategic deterrent patrols from 1980 to 1983.

“I had a division with great, enlisted men,” said Bushika of his three-year service on the U.S.S. Daniel Boone. “They were the cream of the crop: dedicated, smart and reliable. I had a variety of assignments and a lot of responsibility, but with me were very senior enlisted folks with a lot of experience and they ran the show.”

Upon successful completion of the Naval Reactors Engineer’s Examination, Captain Bushika was assigned to shore duty as an instructor at the Naval Nuclear Power School in Orlando, (later relocated to Charleston) where he served as an instructor and track coordinator for the Enlisted Chemistry, Materials and Radiological Fundamentals division from 1983 to 1985.

Bushika began his civilian career with Naval Training Systems Center (NTSC) in Orlando, now NAWCTSD, and simultaneously took his first reserve component assignment with Naval Reserve Commander Submarine Group EIGHT Detachment 208, upon separation from active duty in 1986. At NTSC, he served as the Lead Engineer for the Trident Command and Control Team Trainer, the P-3C Update IV Weapons System Trainers, the Air Traffic Control Trainers, as well as earned his Masters of Science degree in Electrical Engineering in 1990 from University of Central Florida, before completing a rotational assignment as the Deputy Program Director of Marines Corps Program in 1996.

More assignments and a multitude of experience led to his promotion in 2001 to the Science and Technology (S&T) Program Manager for PM TRASYS, where he said he had some very interesting opportunities working with the Office of Naval Research and with the Training and Education Command. “We had a small portfolio of Research and Development dollars that we stretched, in my humble opinion, and laid a very good foundation for a number of programs we have today,” said Bushika.

One of those technologies Bushika felt made great impact was the video flashlight technology, developed in partnership with Sarnoff, a research and development company specializing in vision, video and semiconductor technology. “This technology integrated real time video with a 3D model for enhanced awareness, and transitioned to our tactical video capture system program of record, being used to train Marines today,” Bushika said.

Bushika has been at PM TRASYS for 12 years now, and although his two work hats keep him very busy, as well as spending family time with his wife and three daughters, he does make time to partake in one of his favorite hobbies: his weekly game of softball with his friends and colleagues. As a matter of fact, they’ve been playing for more than twenty years. “Several injuries over the years,” said Bushika. “If it can be pulled, we’ve pulled it!”

He plays catcher mostly and admits part of the fun they enjoy is seeing a lot of scoring in these slow pitch softball games, 15 to 20 runs each game. “We have a lot of fun with that and try not to get hurt,” Bushika said. “You kind of go through a phase of mind-body impedance mismatch. Your mind still thinks you are 39 and holding, but your body knows better,” he laughed. “Most of the times these days, we just don’t push so hard.”

But for Bushika, not pushing himself surely doesn’t come easy, as seen by his drive in high school to valedictorian, then his acceptance to the Naval Academy, and all that he has accomplished since then. “I was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to go to Annapolis,” Bushika said. “My motivation was always to serve. I wanted to do something special. I wanted to go and serve my country.”

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