- "You should join the army"
- —'Major Slater to A.C. Slater
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His parents were Mr. & Mrs. Sanchez. As a young man he faced considerable discrimination for his Hispanic heritage, so he Anglicized his name from Sanchez to Slater, which he attributed as being the key factor between rejection and acceptance from the United States Military Academy at West Point. Following graduation he was commissioned as an officer in the U.S. Army, and some later point he married. The marriage produced two children, one of whom was his only son, A.C. Slater. As Major Slater's military career involved many deployments, A.C. went through many geographic locations, rarely settling down at one school unlike Zack, Screech or Kelly.
Major Martin Slater was A.C.’s strict but loving father, who was frequently transferred due to Army obligations. In his first appearance it was looking like he would be stationed in Hawaii, but the orders were cancelled at the last minute. He helped A.C. get back at Zack for using A.C. by pretending to be a deranged veteran, to which he smoked out the truth from an intimidated Zack.
Major Slater was mentioned multiple times during the second season. In one episode where Bayside had driver education classes, Slater does well at it, mentioning his father taught him how to drive on closed courses on an army base. In another episode where Slater pledged money to save a failing Max from bankruptcy, he says he also convinced his dad to make a smaller contribution. His next onscreen appearance was when he had arranged for Slater to see about West Point as he himself had done. Slater is too scared to say he had been considered for a wrestling scholarship to University of Iowa, and tries to get Zack to get him out of it (with disastrous results). Major Slater allows Slater to pursue his own school, and says that the plans to consider West Point were not to relive his life, but that A.C. never announced his plans to his dad before, and as such he was unsure if A.C. had any plans in life figured out.
In one episode AC is researching his family tree and sees his paternal grandparents were Senor and Senora Sanchez. When he confronts Major Slater about the different names, the father admits the original family name was Sanchez, and he took the nom de guerre of Slater. A.C. is torn between anger that his father is distancing the family from their Mexican bloodlines, but also realizes anti-Hispanic slurs and discrimination were more commonly faced by his father than by him.
Served as a Major in the US Army, although his specific job was never stated. In one episode where A.C. dates a European girl who is in actuality a princess, he is having dinner with her father, who is trying to make A.C. feel at ease. However, Slater, feeling insecure about his family, lied that his mother (who was a nurse), was a movie star. He also truthfully states his father is an army major, but feeling that is a lowly rank in comparison to a king, lies that his father is a colonel, then a general.