Jose Armenta joined the Marine Corps after graduating from John H. Francis Polytechnic High School in 2007. After graduating at the top of his class in Military Police School, Armenta was selected to attend the K-9 Handlers course at Lackland AFB, in San Antonio, Texas. He completed the course and received the Top Dog Award for his outstanding performance. His first duty station was at Camp Pendleton, CA with the I MEF, MP SPT Co. He trained military working dogs there for two years before he was transferred to the III MEF MP SPT Co, in Okinawa, Japan.
In the summer of 2011, Armenta trained with the III MEF for a year with his military working dog, Zenit, before they were deployed and attached to the 3rd Reconnaissance Battalion in the upper Sangin Valley of Afghanistan. He participated in over fifty combat missions with the 1st Platoon of Charlie Company. On August 28th, 2011, Armenta and his platoon conducted a security patrol in an area known for having high IED threats. Armenta and his platoon moved through a canal searching for IEDs. They successfully found five IEDs and after marking them for removal, Armenta and his point man continued through the canal. Jose began to search an area of the canal that was likely to have an IED and unfortunately stepped on a pressure plate containing over ten pounds of home made explosives. Jose woke up five days later in Landstuhl, Germany and realized he lost both of his legs above the knees. He was then medevaced to Bethesda Naval Hospital where he underwent thirteen operations. Three weeks later he was medevaced to Balboa Medical Center where he began his rehabilitation and the arduous process of learning to walk again using prosthetics. Nearly three years later and after 1.5 years of intense physical therapy, Jose continues to live with daily physical challenges.
Jose and Zenit are retired from the Marine Corps and currently live in Chula Vista, CA. Jose owes his recovery to the support of his loving wife Eliana and his strong belief in that with every tragedy comes an opportunity. Jose & Eliana were recently blessed with the arrival of their son Dean.