"My scars were my new uniform, my words were now my new weapon," he said as civilians and soldiers sat side by side for a celebration of their service.
Those who recently returned from Afghanistan say it's a something they'll never forget.
"Being part of something that's larger than yourself, you have to work together as a team in order to get things accomplished," said U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Jose Rameriez.
For the 200 soldiers in attendance, it was the chance to celebrate with the brass and celebrities like Martinez and fellow actor Rick Schoerder as well as Miss America 2012. All cost were covered by donations from the public.
"It's always good for them to kind of recognize us for what we've done, and what we're continuing to do and what we'll do in the future," said California Army National Guard Col. Myles Williams.