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'DWTS' champ JR Martinez meets Defense Secretary Leon Panetta

Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta shakes hands with 'Dancing With The Stars' winner and actor J.R. Martinez at the Pentagon Thursday, December 1, 2011. Panetta, a fan of 'Dancing With the Stars,' invited Martinez to the Pentagon to meet and congratulate him. In 2003, Martinez was severely burned over 40 percent of his body while serving in Iraq as a U.S. Army soldier. (Department of Defense / Glenn Fawcett)

December 1, 2011 12:00:00 AM PST
"Dancing With the Stars" winner and veteran J.R. Martinez got a chance to rub shoulders with Defense Secretary Leon Panetta and other top generals.

The group met Thursday at the Pentagon.

After nabbing the coveted Mirror Ball Trophy on Season 13 of "Dancing With the Stars," Martinez received a call from Panetta, inviting him to the Pentagon for a personal meeting.

Also present at the meeting were Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Martin Dempsey and Army Chief of Staff Gen. Ray Odierno.

Martinez, 28, was severely burned over more than 40 percent of his body when the Humvee he was driving for the U.S. Army in Iraq struck a land mine in 2003. After dozens of operations during a nearly three-year recovery, Martinez became a motivational speaker and in 2008 won a role on the now-retired ABC soap opera "All My Children."

View photos from week 10 of "Dancing With The Stars."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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