Operation Enduring Freedom Veterans Day
The Texas Veterans Land Board (VLB) remembers this anniversary of October 7, 2001, when the United States began Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan to topple Osama Bin Laden’s al-Qaeda network and their Taliban allies. The September 11th terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center towers in New York City and the Pentagon in Washington, D.C instigated this Military action. President George W. Bush sent the U.S. Armed Forces, in conjunction with those of the United Kingdom and our NATO allies, to remove the restrictive and terrorism-supporting government of Afghanistan.
Operation Enduring Freedom achieved its goals and ended that part of the mission in 2014. We now celebrate our Operation Enduring Freedom Veterans on this date. These men and women came of age in a world of terrorism and less overall national safety than our earlier Veterans experienced, and we thank them for their brave and selfless service.
One example of an Operation Enduring Freedom Veteran was Carlos Ungo Martinez, who came to the United States at age 9 when his family emigrated from El Salvador. He joined the Marine Corps straight out of high school in 1996, at the ripe age of seventeen. Ungo Martinez served a tour in Iraq as a machine gunner, then left the Corps. In 2007, he joined the U.S. Army, where he quickly became a small unit tactics instructor due to his prior service. He moved into Airborne school and learned to jump from planes. That led to civil reconnaissance missions in Afghanistan. “I got to ride in ATVs and UTVs with machine guns and hang out with Green Berets…we did some pretty cool stuff…of course, my infantry background with machine guns put me on the turret with the Green Berets as well.” He did receive the Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF) medal for his service time in Afghanistan.
Ungo Martinez served in Central America as well and retired from the Army in 2018 as a First Sergeant (1SG). He now serves as a Veterans Career Advisor in Texas. Ungo Martinez’ story can be heard in his own words and voice on our Voices of Veterans website (https://voicesofveterans.org/oral-history), along with hundreds of other Texas Veteran stories, from World War II to present day.
The VLB thanks all those, like Carlos Ungo Martinez, who served in Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan. We thank you all for your hard-earned service.
The VLB is happy to provide any needed help for these American heroes. The mission for the VLB is “to ensure that we offer the very best package of Veterans benefits in the country and those of us who work for the VLB strive to meet those goals every day. For more than 70 years, we have had the honor to serve Veterans, Military Members and their families in Texas, and we look forward to keeping that promise in the years to come.” Call 1–800–252–8387, email VLBinfo@glo.texas.gov, or visit vlb.texas.gov to see the different benefits available.
If you are a Veteran, thank you for your service. Click Here to Sign Up to stay informed on your benefits with the Texas Veterans Land Board.