WASHINGTON – Two Arkansas Marines are among 78 service members invited to a White House dinner to honor all those in uniform who have served in Iraq and Afghanistan.

WASHINGTON – Two Arkansas Marines are among 78 service members invited to a White House dinner to honor all those in uniform who have served in Iraq and Afghanistan.

U.S. Marine Cpl. Aaron Mankin of Rogers and U.S. Marine Staff Sgt. Joseph May of Little Rock are expected to attend Wednesday’s dinner that will be hosted by President Barack Obama and the first lady.

These service members and family members represent more than a million Americans and their families who served and made personal sacrifices in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation New Dawn, the White House said in a press release Friday.

Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Martin Dempsey and the chiefs of the five services and National Guard and Reserve will also attend the dinner. Mankin, a combat journalist, was seriously injured when an assault vehicle he was riding in struck an improvised explosive device.

Six of the 16 Marines in the vehicle were instantly killed. He was severely burned. Last year, Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America presented him with its 2011 Veterans Leadership Award. The group is the nation’s first and largest nonprofit, nonpartisan organization for veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Mankin was recognized for his work as a spokesman for Operation Mend, a partnership among Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center, Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio, Texas, and the Veterans Affairs–Greater Los Angeles Healthcare System that provides reconstructive surgery, other surgical services and mental health support to U.S. military personnel wounded in Iraq or Afghanistan.

Mankin was Operation Mend’s first patient. May served at Camp Taqaddum in central Iraq. His twin brother Jeremy also served in Iraq.