Why We Serve: Army Sergeant Brings Positive Message to Public
By Sgt. Sara Wood, USA
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, Nov. 9, 2007 Serving in the military was something Jose Munoz always wanted to do, but it wasn’t until after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks that he was spurred to enlist and fulfill that dream.
Army Sgt. Jose Munoz is telling the military’s story to the American people at community and business events, veterans organizations and other gatherings as part of the Defense Department’s “Why We Serve” public outreach program. Defense Department photo
(Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.
Munoz, now a sergeant with five and a half years in the Army, said a lack of maturity stopped him from following through on his plan to join the Army after high school in 1999. However, when the Sept. 11 attacks happened, “I said to myself, ‘Well, I can do this now,’” he said.
Munoz, who is originally from Mexico but moved to Texas when he was 10, is stationed at Fort Bragg, N.C., and has deployed to Iraq twice. On his most recent deployment, he escorted and supplied security to logistics convoys. Although the convoys were hit several times by improvised explosive devices, his unit was able to cover nearly a million miles in the middle and southern portion of Iraq.
Munoz is one of 10 servicemembers who served in Iraq, Afghanistan or the Horn of Africa who have been selected to tell the military’s story to the American people at community and business events, veterans organizations and other gatherings as part of the Defense Department’s “Why We Serve” public outreach program.
Munoz participated in his first Why We Serve speaking engagement Oct. 25 in Pittsburgh. He said it was a positive experience and the audience had a lot of questions. “It’s pretty much just going out there and sharing with them my experiences overseas and my experience here,” Munoz said of the program. “I’m not trying to recruit (anyone); that’s not part of this. I just go out there and share my experience.”
The American people don’t often see positive stories about the war on terror or the military in the media, Munoz said, so his goal is to let people see a different angle of the military and those who serve.
In May, Munoz received his United States citizenship. While he said it was a big event for him, it didn’t constitute a big change. “Since I joined the military, I always felt like I was part of the U.S.,” he said.
Why We Serve began in fall 2006 and was originally the idea of then-Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Marine Gen. Peter Pace. Representatives from all the service branches participate in the program, which is conducted in quarterly segments. Munoz and the other nine servicemembers in his group constitute the fifth iteration since the program began.