A former Air Force pilot, Martinez is still military personnel but is now the pilot for the Ares 3 mission. His precision as a pilot is noted repeatedly by Watney and other characters throughout the novel. Martinez and his wife Marissa have a young son, David. Late in the novel, the usually-stoic Watney describes Martinez as his best friend.
The timeline below shows where the character Major Rick Martinez appears in The Martian. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
...only flammable thing in the Hab—splinters of wood from a religious cross that belonged to Martinez—and ignites it using an electric spark and pure oxygen. Watney turns on a slow stream... (full context)
...NASA’s orders. To do the maneuver, Johanssen will have to hack the ship’s control panels. Martinez and Lewis would likely be court-martialed upon their return. Lewis asks the crew to take... (full context)
...infamously accident-prone Soviet space ships. Meanwhile, Lewis and the Hermes crew review the rescue plan. Martinez will pilot the MAV while Johanssen monitors the computer systems. Beck and Vogel will wait... (full context)
...nose of the ship. The escaping air will thrust the ship in the opposite direction. Martinez calculates that this would slow the ship enough to make the rescue risky, but possible.... (full context)