Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta and J.R. Martinez
J.R. Martinez got a hero's welcome at the Pentagon on Thursday.
The Dancing with the Stars champ and Iraqi war vet was greeted by a slew of fans and rubbed shoulders with a handful of senior leaders, including Deputy Defense Secretary Ashton B. Carter, Army Gen. Martin E. Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and U.S. Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta. Panetta wrote Martinez a congratulatory letter and invited him for a visit after his Dancing win.
J.R. Martinez receives an invite to the Pentagon
"Young military aides, seasoned officers and civilian assistants poured out of offices to meet and congratulate the Dancing With the Stars winner — who happily accommodated every request for a handshake or photo," Doug Wilson, assistant secretary of defense for public affairs, said.
Martinez served in Iraq and was severely injured when his vehicle hit a landmine. After numerous surgeries, the 28-year-old went on to play Brot Monroe on All My Children.
Martinez will next co-host the pre-show of CNN's Heroes: An All-Star Tribute on Sunday, Dec. 11.