Ten years later, Marines recall battle of Fallujah

Published: Thursday, January 16, 2014 at 11:21 AM.

“(1/8) lost 22 guys in Iraq, and 17 or so in Fallujah. That was the worst part,” Devenport said. “A lot of the guys we lost were young guys. They were killed before they could buy a beer in the country they were fighting for. It stung when they died because they did on our watch and we had to make sure they were OK. You understand that people die in war, but you still feel like you let them down.”

While in Fallujah, Devenport said the day was spent fighting and “putting your training in use,” but after the gun fire subsided at night, an internal battle began.

“When you’re fighting, that’s the only time you get a break from being scared,” Devenport said. “During your down time, though, you get scared. Maybe your buddy got hurt or one of your own died. You’re crying and you get mad. You’re angry at the entire world for what you’ve been in. You’re angry because it seems like (the Iraqis) don’t care about what we’re doing over there. But, when it’s morning, you gear up, you’re on the move again and it’s all done.”

After the coalition of American, British and Iraqi troops took the city from the insurgents in December 2004, 1/8 took their leave and said their final “goodbye” to Fallujah. For Devenport, it was a sweet farewell to an almost otherworldly city.

“Fallujah wasn’t hell, but it’s in the same area code,” Devenport said. “There was nothing worse than sitting in that city.”

Curtis said he was “relieved” when his battalion received orders to leave Fallujah, looking forward to leaving the city behind to its inhabitants.

“It was relieving that our job was done and that we helped people who couldn’t help themselves,” Curtis said. “I hoped that the people of Fallujah could finally live in peace.”



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