Martinus Shaw, who would refer to himself as 'Marty', attended Apollo University where he studied subjects including Computer Systems, Classics, and Economics, graduating with a qualification in the Arts. During his time at ApolloU he was a starting member of the College Pyramid squad, studied a year abroad at the Virgon Universities, and wrote for the student newspaper Gown and Mortarboard.
At the beginning of the Cylon uprising Shaw joined the Colonial Fleet when it began its first major expansion, training with the Caprican Marines, he was commissioned an Ensign in 100 days, but then attended Flight School to qualify as a Marine Aviator rather than go out into the Fleet. Marty Shaw completed a tour with a Marine Corps Air Support unit before transferring to Picon, intending to serve aboard a Fleet Ship, and attending the War College. He was promoted to Captain after studying on Picon, and then assigned to a string of Escort ships where he filled CIC roles. Shaw's experiences here led him to be assigned as a Tactical Officer to the Battlestar Acheron for a time, before travelling to the Scorpion Fleet Yards where he was part of a Fleet team that helped prepare the Columbia for her commissioning, then joined as Executive Officer.
Marty Shaw's recollections were published after the War as An Officer and, sometimes, a Gentleman which became a bestseller that was later adapted into a Television series.