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U.S. Army Specialist Jacob Sanchez spent two years after college as a missionary before joining the military in 2009. Sanchez entered the Army as a cavalry scout, initially stationed in Ft. Knox, Kentucky.
On July 5, 2011, while deployed to Afghanistan, Sanchez’s unit was attacked by insurgents with rocket-propelled grenades (RPGs) and small arms fire. As the gunner for their lead truck crew, Sanchez immediately began returning fire to enemy forces. While under attack, his weapon jammed, leaving his truck and crew vulnerable. Without hesitation, Sanchez jumped on top of his truck, exposing himself to enemy fire, and was able to unjam his weapon.
His unit was being attacked on all sides and Sanchez’s weapon jammed a second time leaving his unit vulnerable once again. Due to heavy enemy fire, he was not able to unjam his weapon. During this time, a truck commander was killed on a neighboring vehicle. Sanchez was devastated by the tragedy and ultimately, consumed by self-doubt, felt that he was to blame.
As a result of his many missions, Sanchez sustained a traumatic brain injury (TBI) that went untreated and undocumented. He also suffers from post-traumatic disorder (PTSD) and chronic migraine headaches because of his service. Sanchez was medically retired with an honorable discharge in 2013.
For his valiant service, Sanchez received awards including a Combat Action Badge, Army Commendation Medal, Army Good Conduct Medal, National Defense Service Medal and more.
Adjusting to civilian life after returning from service has been a difficult journey for Sanchez and his family, but they find peace in knowing there is light at the end of the tunnel. He and his wife, Sam, have six children. They enjoy going to the beach, barbequing, gardening, lip-sync battles and going to church as a family.
Operation FINALLY HOME along with Courtesy Custom Homes, McCoy’s Building Supply and H-E-B Operation Appreciation are proud to provide the Sanchez family with a custom-built, mortgage-free home in Pharr, Texas.