Ten years later, Marines recall battle of Fallujah

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

Nine years after leaving Fallujah behind, Curtis and Devenport still work closely with the military. Curtis is still in the infantry and Devenport now works with a company that helps prepare Marines for foreign deployments by immersing them in an environment similar to what they’ll experience once they’ve shipped out.

Fallujah now is also similar to how it was back in 2004. On Jan. 4, al-Qaida linked militants reclaimed the city from the Iraqi government. The city, in many respects, is right back where it was when the 1/8 entered nearly a decade ago.

“I’ve got mixed feelings about it,” Devenport said. “On one hand, I’m saying if they don’t want it, they don’t deserve it. On the other hand, I feel like we should take it back.

“It’s a low blow. We fought long and hard to take that city. It’s as if they didn’t care about the freedom we wanted to give them.”

Curtis said he found out about the fall of the city, his thoughts turned to his colleagues who didn’t make it out of the city.

“They made the ultimate sacrifice,” Curtis said. “What was it all for? I don’t want to blame the Iraqis, but I felt like they didn’t do their job. Why did we go over there? Why did we do what we did? Why did we fight that battle?”

Devenport and Curtis said they drew parallels between the fall of Fallujah and the fall of Saigon in 1975 that ultimately ended the conflict in Vietnam. According to retired Marine John Johnston, who did four tours in the Southeast Asian nation, the hurt he felt nearly 39 years ago is still with him now.

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