J.R. Martinez Congratulated By Defense Secretary on ‘Dancing with the Stars’ Win

Truth rating: 10

By Michael Lewittes

J.R. Martinez


J.R. Martinez, who won “Dancing with the Stars” on November 22, received congratulations from none other than Defense Secretary Leon Panetta.

In a letter written by Panetta to Martinez, the Defense Secretary offered his “most sincere congratulations,” and added, “Over the course of this competition, your spirit captivated the nation and your victory sends a powerful message about the strength and resilience of our wounded warriors.” In 2003, Martinez was an Army infantryman in Iraq when his Humvee hit a roadside bomb, resulting in him nearly dying and sustaining burns to more than 40 percent of his body, including his hands and face.

Panetta wrote to Martinez, “In the eight years since your injury, you have done extraordinary work assisting other wounded warriors and raising public awareness of the challenges our service members and their families face when they return home, and I would like to commend you for your tireless efforts in this arena. Thank you for your continuing service, for your sacrifice,” concluded Panetta.

But that’s not all. On Friday, the Defense Secretary personally called the Iraq War vet turned soap opera star. During the conversation, Martinez expressed pride in his service to the country, and credited his military experience as a factor for helping him win “Dancing with the Stars.” Panetta ended their 10-minute call by inviting Martinez to the Pentagon for a upcoming face-to-face meeting. What do you think about the Defense Secretary both writing and calling Martinez?

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