During Caribbean-American Heritage Month, today’s #VeteranOfTheDay is Army Veteran Pedro Munoz, who was killed in action while serving in Afghanistan.
Pedro Munoz was born in June 1957 and grew up in Quebradillas, Puerto Rico, a small community on the northwestern portion of the island. His father served during the Korean War, and Munoz grew up wanting to follow in his father’s footsteps and join the service.
In 1986, he enlisted in the Army and trained to become an automated logistical specialist. He later attended the Special Forces Qualification Course and graduated in 1990. Munoz then served as a Green Beret with the 3rd Special Forces Group (Airborne) at Fort Bragg, North Carolina. Shortly after joining the Green Berets, he deployed to the Gulf War in support of Operation Desert Shield and Operation Desert Storm. In the mid 1990s, Munoz went to Haiti in support of Operation Uphold Democracy, an initiative to restore democracy to Haitian elections. He also did a tour in Colombia.
In 1999, Munoz, now in his early 40s, earned a slot on the Army Parachute Team, the Golden Knights. He remained with the Golden Knights for several years until the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001. In 2002, Munoz returned to Fort Bragg’s Special Forces; this time, he served with 1st Battalion, 7th Special Forces, as an operations and intelligence sergeant.
In 2004, Munoz deployed to Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. It was late in the evening on Jan. 1, 2005, when Munoz and his unit were on a mission to track down a Taliban commander thought to be inside a compound. As Munoz cleared the building, he entered one of the rooms and was struck by gunfire and wounded. The shooter was a Taliban fighter, hiding in a room among women and children.
Col. Mark Gorton, deputy commander of 7th Special Forces Group, recalled the incident in a “Tip of the Spear” article and stated, “Sergeant First Class Munoz continued to support his detachment, firing selectively, engaging only armed combatants without harming any non-combatants. His dedication and his courage are evident through his actions: protecting innocent life, staying in the fight without thought for himself while supporting his teammates, allowing them to successfully accomplish their mission.”
Munoz killed his attacker. His team evacuated him, but he succumbed to his wounds enroute to the hospital early the following day. The 47 year old sergeant first class earned numerous awards and medals including a Silver Star, Bronze Star and Purple Heart.
We honor his service.
Do you want to light up the face of a special Veteran? Have you been wondering how to tell your Veteran they are special to you? VA’s #VeteranOfTheDay social media feature is an opportunity to highlight your Veteran and his/her service.
It’s easy to nominate a Veteran. Visit our blog post about nominating to learn how to create the best submission.
Writer: Michael Veronda
Editor: Katherine Berman and Amanda Baker
Fact checker: Latesha Thornhill and Lia Sansoucy
Graphic artist: Courtney Carr