♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ >> NARRATOR: 20 years ago, the United States invaded Iraq.
(whistling, cheering) But as Saddam Hussein's regime fell, and the U.S. declared victory... >> Major combat operations in Iraq have ended.
>> NARRATOR: ...a violent insurgency was taking root across the country.
>> I felt like we had pried the doors off a mental institution.
>> I mean what we didn't realize was the invasion wasn't the war; the war was to come.
>> NARRATOR: American forces would go on to confront the insurgents... (loud explosion) ...in what became the bloodiest battle of the war.
>> It felt like we were surrounded.
(loud explosion) >> There were shots coming from everywhere.
>> NARRATOR: Told by the Marines, journalists, and Iraqis who were there.
(loud explosion) >> (speaking Arabic): >> Target!
(loud blast) >> NARRATOR: "Once Upon a Time in Iraq: Fallujah."
♪ ♪ >> By the time I got to Fallujah, you know, I thought I'd seen it all, I thought I'd survived it all.
>> Were you right?
>> (laughing): No, no.
I mean, God no.
Um, no, no, that was all different level of, of violence.
♪ ♪ (recording of Arabic speakers growing louder) Fallujah is 35 miles from Bagdad, and by the spring of 2004, it was completely in the hands of the insurgents and Al Qaeda.
(crowd shouting) And it had become like a giant car bomb factory, they were just like making car bombs and like shipping them to Bagdad, you know, like every day.
(crowd shouting) >> (speaking Arabic): (people shouting, horns honking) >> The story of Fallujah begins with four Blackwater contractors, who were, you know, driving around Fallujah and they got ambushed.
(crowd shouting) The Iraqis gather around just like having a party.
(crowd shouting) And they picked up what was left of the bodies, and then they take them up to the bridge on the Euphrates, and you know, string 'em up.
(crowd cheering) It was like on television, beamed around the world, and the Iraqis are partying, and they love it, and they're making fools out of the Americans, and they're hitting them with their shoes.
And that was like... you know, that was like the end.
You know, I mean it was... what a, what a frigging nightmare.
♪ ♪ (crowd cheering) >> If our country shows any uncertainty or weakness in this decade, the world will drift toward tragedy.
This is not going to happen on my watch.
(cheers and applause) >> It was November 2004.
Bush won the election, and almost immediately gave the order.
"Send the Marines in to Fallujah, "and, like, occupy Fallujah and destroy the insurgency."
♪ ♪ (tires squeal, engine running) Civilians mostly cleared out.
I mean certainly from what I witnessed, it's very strange, because usually when an army attacks it wants to have surprise.
Um, you're not gonna announce when the attack beings.
Well, the Americans essentially did that.
They were like on the bull horns, "We are going to attack.
"The city will not be safe.
There's a good chance you will die if you stay."
(man speaking Arabic via speaker) (children shouting) >> (speaking Arabic): (children cheering) (cheers and applause) ♪ ♪ (children playing in background) >> (quietly): Action.
>> (quietly): What do you want me to do?
>> Want me to... want me to model my dress?
>> Do you like my dress?
(woman laughs) ♪ Billy ♪ Did you have a good nap?
♪ ♪ Oh, you want to get in the pictures too?
>> Go on and smile.
You're on candid camera.
>> Billy was born on November the 24th, 1981.
He just sort of popped out.
I was in labor for 53 painful hours with Sabrina, so this, this one was like a cakewalk.
I was excited.
He was excited because it was a boy.
>> (laughs) Man always wants a boy.
Carry on the namesake.
>> I say he's Mom's favorite.
She'll say no, but he was.
>> He was very outgoing, very busy.
He always looked for adventure.
He was always pushing his limits.
He definitely wasn't college material.
You know, he struggled in school, and that would have been good for him, you know, to go into the Marines.
♪ ♪ >> Miller was a great guy.
(Billy exhales) He was someone that could talk to you, you know, without the typical Marine yelling and calling you an idiot, you know.
♪ ♪ You know, I was really scrawny.
I was 130 pounds and I thought that I was just going to become tough.
(cheers and applause) I was one of the first people from my high school to join the Marine Corps and it was really great.
(band playing, applause continues) >> (via speaker): Ladies and gentleman, as the national flag passes directly... >> I was proud of the fact that this is what he wanted to do; I was also very scared.
When he joined, it was just a peaceful little world.
It was wasn't a peaceful little world anymore, so.
>> Just over a week after 9/11 when he... when he graduated from boot camp.
>> After he graduated, and he left us, he went to Spain.
He came home December 2003 and we surprised my parents.
>> Is Billy in that box?
(Sabrina speaking indistinctly) >> And I said, "Is Billy in that box?"
and she said, "No, Mother."
I says, "Did y'all buy me a dog or some animal?
Because I don't want any animals."
"No, Mother, we didn't buy you any animals, but you need to open it up now."
>> (screaming): He is in that box!
(laughing) It was probably her best Christmas ever and her last Christmas... ...with him.
>> At that time, 1st battalion, 8th Marines took over an area called Camp Fallujah.
It was probably three miles outside the city.
>> You got grits?
>> Billy Miller was in the 1st battalion, 8th Marines with us.
And Dexter Filkins reported to my platoon also.
I remember thinking, "Why are the 'New York Times' here?"
But it's an indicator of something big was happening.
♪ ♪ >> From a journalistic point of view, war is kind of the, the human condition in extremis.
People have asked me before, "Like were you addicted to the violence or were you addicted to the adrenaline?"
And like, it's like, no, um, not at all.
You know, I just wanted to help other people understand what was happening so that they could make decisions about it.
Um, more than once.
I felt that in Fallujah.
I definitely felt that in Fallujah.
♪ ♪ >> There was another reporter with him, whose name was Ashley Gilbertson.
>> Ashley's like a kid.
(chuckling): He was like so young, but he's immensely talented, and really fearless and very enterprising, so, you know, we got along really well.
>> I thought Dexter was amazing.
There was almost nowhere that he wouldn't go and the same went for me.
>> No journalist likes to embed with the military.
It's too confining.
You know, imagine you're walking through an Iraqi village, and you're... you know, I'm a journalist.
I want to know what's going on inside people's heads, in their hearts, like what are you feeling over there, you Iraqis?
And you're standing with a group of 19-year-old Americans with giant guns, um, and you ask an Iraqi guy, "Hey, you know, how's it going?"
You're not going to get a real answer.
But what happened in Iraq was it became essentially impossible to work unless you embedded with the military.
For the simple reason that you would get killed.
>> If you could picture young buck warriors, we're very tribal, and anybody who is not in our tribe is basically the enemy as far as we're concerned, you know, just to varying degrees.
Sure enough, when the press starts showing up, we didn't like 'em.
It turns out they're sleeping in our squad bay with us.
And when I first saw Ashley, he had one of those... sleep things that covers your eyes.
Like a sleep mask?
He's got long curly hair.
I was just like, "Really?
(chuckling): Who is this guy, and why is he even here?"
And you see Dexter, Dexter looks like a frat boy who just woke up from the biggest party ever, you know, he just kind of this blown-away look on his face all the time.
So, we were all just like super judgey and like, you know, "Oh, look at these guys, you know, I'm not talking to them."
>> If you see right here I'm standing on a train model of our battle space.
>> Whenever like something changes, or there's gonna be like a significant operation, the military gets a briefing from a legal officer who will tell you essentially, "Here are your rules of engagement," which is to say, "Here's when you can pull the trigger, and here's when you can't."
And I had never been invited into one of those.
I think they brought us in because they thought we're going to be killing a lot of people, so we're going to want the reporters to kind of understand what the rules are here.
>> So normally, rules of engagement would be don't shoot unless you're being shot at.
That's a general conflict rule of engagement.
These ones were really different.
>> The rules were like... dialed really far back.
Like really loose, you know?
Guy picks up a cell phone, you can kill him.
If, you know, you fire like one warning shot at a car, if it doesn't... if it doesn't stop coming at you, you can kill.
>> You were able to engage anybody within the city because we were... we had instructed civilians to get out of the city.
As long as you felt there was a threat, you can engage.
>> Hey, (indistinct), how you doing?
(soldiers barking in agreement) How you doing soldiers?
(soldiers saying "yeah") How are you doing sailors?
(soldiers saying "yeah") (on recording): This is a whole can of whoop butt.
All combined, okay?
And I gonna tell you one thing, it is an honor for me to be able to serve with each and every one of you hard chargers.
I mean, I look out here, and it's no difference than when we took the damn war over in Korea.
(on recording): We raised the flag at Iwo Jima.
It's no difference.
>> I'd go to Fallujah right now after hearing that speech.
I mean that stuff was, uh, it was motivating.
But it's disheartening at the same time looking at it now.
And, you know, one part they don't show is, oftentimes they start off with the speech and saying, "I want you to look to your brothers from, you know, "the left and the right and behind you, "and realize that some of them aren't gonna make it out of there."
And you don't really look, right?
Like it's part of the speech, and you're just sitting there like "Okay, you know, we get it."
And I just watch that video now and I can point out everyone that was killed.
And they were almost in every clip.
>> Kick some butt, all right?
(crowd shouting in agreement) >> You're always worried about your child, but knowing that he's in a war zone is a different kind of worry.
But it's not a worry that you can-- at least I couldn't-- allow myself to overwhelm me.
>> Being a police officer for 32 years, you have to live every day at a time as you live it.
And you can't worry about it.
If you worry yourself, it'll just worry you sick.
>> The order had come down to attack.
A trip carrier's doors opened, we all got out, and as we were assembling, they opened fire.
(multiple gunshots) It was just like a symphony.
(rapid gunfire) And then the, the voices came over from the mosques, (man shouting in Arabic) which, which were in Arabic, "Come, come to the fight," you know "Come, defend the city."
And there was so many mosques, and so many loudspeakers, the intensity of their voices-- they were screaming into the loudspeakers.
"God is great, God is great, "come to the fight.
They're here, the Americans are here."
(shouting and chanting over loudspeaker) >> I could see the tracers coming out.
Okay, they're shooting at us, just kind of spraying machine gun fire at us.
You know, and it felt a lot like, I don't know if you've ever seen "Star Wars," where they're attacking the Death Star, where they're flying through this trench and there's, like, laser guns just shooting at them from all over the place.
(gunfire) (loud blast) >> It never looks or feels like what you imagine, (chuckling): but in this case, it looked remarkably like a movie.
(loud rumbling) I was on the ground, and I was kind of looking up, and I thought, "You know that looks like a bottle rocket, "you know, it looks like fireworks (chuckling): from 4th of July."
(faint explosions) >> And then from out of nowhere, we hear these pops above our head.
(faint popping) And you look up, and it's these shells that have exploded, and it's like... it's like an octopus and tentacles coming down from the sky.
(popping) >> This bright white light, with a trail on it like a comet, comes sailing in and then it explodes right above us.
And... and these flaming sort of chunks of rock were coming off, and, and they were... people were just scrambling and like trying not to get hit, and, you know, what the hell is that?
I got hit in the back in my pack and it just burned right through my pack.
It burned through my sleeping bag.
♪ ♪ As I learned later, it was phosphorous, white phosphorous, and those are our-- meaning American-- rounds.
I mean those were fired by American guys.
Like at what?
Uh, at whom?
Like I had no idea.
>> We go from there, still on this road like 200 meters into Fallujah.
We're right on the edge of the city and it's, it's a big city.
And then they get to this road that they called Phase Line Cathy, and it's this big east-west road that crosses Fallujah.
And just to get to that road, it took them all morning, hours and hours of fighting, like every step of the way they had to fight.
>> Spread out, (indistinct), spread them out!
>> Like you're running down the street and you can hear the bullets ricocheting around you, like bouncing off the street, coming off the concrete.
(rapid gunfire echoing) And then it stops, and you, you get up to this area that the fire was coming from, and there's a marine scout team up there and three dead insurgents in the road.
♪ ♪ (soldiers shouting) >> Whoa!
(loud explosion, glass shattering) >> First house we cleared was a little bit of chaos.
A lot adrenalin rushing.
Fortunately, there was no insurgents in the house, but it wasn't exactly how we planned.
There was a lot of people in there, we were congested, and that's not how we do things, but we wanted to make entry and... in Fallujah, the safest place you can be is inside a cleared house.
>> And now we're in this house on a corner, and we had to cross this road to get to the cultural... what they were calling the cultural center-- this big, like, five-story, four-story building on the other side of the street.
And so, one of the lieutenants stands at the gate and says, "All right, go, first platoon go."
And these 40 guys like, stacked, stream out and just run across this street and then it begins.
(rapid gunfire) All of this gunfire starts.
A guy falls on the street.
Second platoon goes out.
Some guys drag this guy out of the street and another guy gets dropped.
♪ ♪ And then I'm with this last platoon sitting in the house, and I remember saying to Dexter, like, "I really...
I don't know if I can do this."
Like you're running straight into gunfire.
And I don't...
I don't remember what he said but, I remember them just shouting, like, "Third platoon, go, go, go!"
So I watched everybody go out and then just ran.
And like they say time slows down, but it really, it really does.
Like you can feel every step that you're taking.
You can see everything taking place in slow motion around you.
♪ ♪ I saw so many bodies, and I saw so many Marines go down, but I never saw an insurgent.
Like I never saw an insurgent alive with a gun.
They... but they were ghosts.
They blended in with this environment so perfectly.
(rapid gunfire) >> Where is it?
>> Where they at?
(indistinct shouting) (gunshot, soldier cries out) (rapid gunfire) >> Is he inside?
(rapid gunfire) Watch out!
(indistinct shouting, gunfire) >> Hey, you got him?!
(rapid gunfire) >> Hey, he's wounded in between these two houses.
(gunshot) >> He's done.
>> Hold on... (indistinct shouting) ♪ ♪ >> Our mission was to clear the city of insurgents.
It's not right to use the term seek and destroy, but it was a full-on frontal assault into the city of Fallujah, and you don't stop until everybody stops shooting.
♪ ♪ (gunfire) >> When you have a thousand of them moving into a town like that with all their firepower, it's a terrifying force.
Just a massive killing machine.
(explosion) (rapid gunfire) (whooshing sound) (loud explosion) ♪ ♪ >> Target!
(loud blast) (loud explosion, rapid gunfire) ♪ ♪ >> (speaking Arabic): ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ (distant blast) ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ >> (speaking Arabic): (chanting playing over speaker) (loud explosion) (ringing sound) >> (speaking Arabic): ♪ ♪ >> (speaking Arabic): ♪ ♪ (bomb bursting) (gun striking metal, glass breaking) ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ >> Ashley and I were in Fallujah with the Marines for several days, and we were getting shot at like every step of the way.
(gunfire) >> Once you start getting shot at, it all changes.
Once you start getting shot at and don't run for the hills, then you start building trust really quickly.
Because they realize, and I heard this from multiple different military units, they think that the way we work as journalists is we have a template, an idea of what they're doing, and we're going out there to show how bad they are.
But once you cross the wire with them, then they start saying "Ah, okay, you're here to see how it really is."
And I think that as the war dragged on, the marines, they realized nobody gave a (bleep) what they were doing in Iraq.
So when we would come out and actually tell stories, their stories.
>> I mean these guys were like, in the thick of it, terrified just like we were.
We'd been trained for it; we have weapons to defend ourselves and body armor and, you know, that type of stuff.
Those guys were just... thrown right into it, like, "Go get 'em."
(laughing): You know, "Go tell the story."
>> Ashley and I just... it was so hard, trying to file our stuff, you know, like, I'm trying to write my story and Ashley is trying to file his pictures, and I was always looking for electricity.
And so I remember, like, the first day, I don't know what I was thinking, but I ran into the street because there was a car out there, and, you know, pulled the lid up, and tried to put my little battery clips on the car battery.
I, I don't want to think about that, because there were snipers everywhere.
>> I remember thinking, like, this dude is insane.
That is crazy.
Like, he's in the middle of... Like...
So many guys have just been shot on this exact corner.
The insurgents are everywhere.
And Dexter is out there trying to pull out a car battery out of a burnt-out car.
Of course the battery doesn't work.
'Cause it's a (bleep) bombed burnt-out car.
(laughing): But it...
It was a classic Dexter.
(laughing): Like he will file no matter what.
(gun firing) (gun fires) (gun fires) >> When I was 13 years old, I killed this deer in Centerville, Texas, and it was a real long shot.
(laughs) 17 steps!
>> Why don't you go hunting anymore and fishing anymore like you used to?
>> I don't know, it just doesn't do anything for me anymore.
And after Billy died, I just lost a lot of, um... get up and go.
This is a Corsican ram.
Billy killed that one.
And Billy killed this one here.
(indistinct talking) (indistinct talking) >> Look here, Billy.
Look at him again.
(deer bleats) Billy.
>> (laughing) ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ >> Fallujah is this weird town; it looks like a movie set, and so there's these very defined borders, and then after those borders it's just desert.
And so we went from the top of the city all the way to the bottom, one end to the other, and we got to the... we got to the end and, like, the street ended and then the desert started.
(rapid gunfire) (glass breaking) >> Fallujah is the city of mosques; it's called the city of mosques.
And the insurgents knew that; the Americans couldn't go into the mosque.
So, they would use them to stage and attack the Marines 'cause they knew they had more safety there than they did in a regular place.
So, this mosque, just short of the southern edge of Fallujah, a tank fired a shell through the minaret.
(booming) And they apparently killed the insurgent who was inside.
And I said "I've got to go and see that."
I needed a photograph as evidence as a reporter to show that these mosques were being used as staging grounds.
A picture of a dead insurgent inside a minaret showed that without question, these spaces were being violated and were therefore no longer protected by the Geneva Convention.
So, we went to the captain and said "Hey man, "can you please, you know, radio everybody, "tell them that we're gonna be running up the street to this mosque, and just tell everyone not to shoot us."
(inhales) And this time Reed said no.
"If you wanna go, "this time you've gotta go with the squad, because it's too dangerous out there."
And then I said no, I've got a policy against-- like this non-intervention policy where, like, stuff shouldn't happen on account of me.
(deep breath, objects shifting) So, the captain said "Well, you can't go."
And I said, "Well, I need the picture."
And then Dexter and I agreed to it.
That we would go with the squad.
>> I was chosen to lead a patrol, along with my lieutenant, out down to this minaret that was 400 meters away maybe that had this dead sniper in it.
>> What did you think about doing this job?
>> I was angry.
I did not want to do it in the first place, because we were pretty much done with the city, so for me it was like that one last patrol thing, and I was just like, I don't want to do this, you know, it's just... so he could take a picture?
You know, all right, if that's the job and that's the mission then that's what I'll do, but I don't agree with this at all.
>> (whistles) >> I remember the moment I thought maybe this isn't a good idea.
We were walking towards the minaret and... you know, Fallujah had been so violent, so destructive, smoke and ruin everywhere.
And we were walking to the minaret, and the first time in a week, it was quiet.
There was nothing.
♪ ♪ >> If you could picture, you kind of enter a compound, and the main mosque is kind of to your direct front and left.
The minaret is to your direct front and right.
And there's two groups of auxiliary buildings.
So, we clear out these auxiliary buildings, we clear out the mosque, and the last building left is the minaret.
So, we're going to go clear the minaret, see if we can get up and finds this sniper, dead sniper.
♪ ♪ >> And we got to the base of the minaret, Lance Corporal Billy Miller was stacked at the door, and he said, "Hey Dominguez, come stack on me."
"Stack" means get behind me and let's go up there together.
Ashley Gilbertson was there, and with his Australian voice he was trying to tell us, "Hey, you, stay back, I'm just going to go run up there and take a quick picture."
>> I wanted to get the picture and just leave.
Get out of there as soon as we could, so that nothing happened.
Before we went there, a marine stopped me and said, "I've got to go ahead and clear it."
So, that was Lance Corporal William Miller.
He went up first.
He was followed by Christian Dominguez, then me, then Dexter was apparently behind me.
I didn't turn around to see.
(muffled booming) >> Itself, the minaret was scary.
It was dark, the stairs were creaky, you know, the bricks were... it just seemed like the whole thing was going to fall apart anyway.
>> We're climbing, and it's just the sound of rubble... (debris falling) And crunching concrete under our feet.
>> There was a whole bunch of rubble on these stairs, and it was such a confined area.
>> I mean, it wasn't much wider than this chair.
And we're walking up there, and... the steps were pretty big, in that Billy Miller was going up and he was almost a full step ahead of me.
And we kept tripping, and he almost said something.
He almost said "(bleep)."
♪ ♪ >> And just as you start to get a little bit of light through a hole in the wall, from where the tank shell went through and killed this insurgent... And I'm thinking, "This is almost over, get my picture and get out."
Then there was a gunshot, maybe multiple gunshots, (booming, echoing) And I felt water all over me.
Immediately I thought, "(bleep), somebody released their rifle by accident and shot these CamelBaks that they all wear, it's like these backpacks filled with-- little backpacks filled with water.
Then I heard Dominguez screaming.
♪ ♪ >> We basically walked into this guy's muzzle.
I saw a guy's hand laying down, and he was laying down the stairs, and we basically walked right into his gun.
He shot Miller in the face, and then Miller's body kind of turned, and then he shot-- and at this point Miller kind of fell down, and I was standing in f... just below Miller, and the shots... (gunfire echoing) This guy was lighting up the wall, shooting relentlessly, and the rocks were exploding in my face, and it was so loud because of how confined the area was.
>> And then I just remember, like, all of us starting to run down these stairs.
And I remember falling, and just rolling.
(animals chittering) We rolled out of this minaret.
And I looked down at my camera, and my hands.
And it wasn't water.
It was blood.
And brain, and...
It was Billy, like just... All over me.
>> Ashley was just like in a complete state of shock.
I just remember him sitting there, kind of mumbling to himself.
His helmet was on crooked, and he was just saying "My fault, my fault, my fault, my fault, my fault."
>> I couldn't breathe.
And Sam Williams was down there, and he said, "Dominguez, what happened?"
And out of some...
I remember hearing my voice was weird and saying, "Miller's dead," and the look of confusion on his face like, "what?"
(men yelling indistinctly) >> Everybody came running out of the building.
(men yelling, weapons firing) >> Hey!
>> Except Billy.
(men yelling) So, obviously we were going back in to get him.
I don't care about that... picture or anything at this point, we've gotta get Billy out of here.
We've gotta get our wounded out of here.
(gunfire) >> And it was a relentless effort to go up there and retrieve Miller's body, and take out the threat that was up there.
(explosions) (deep breath) They tried to go up there a couple times, um... and on like the second or third time, they were able to go up there and get his body out.
>> They dragged Billy out.
They put him onto a stretcher, and I remember thinking "Don't look.
You can't look."
>> He said, you know, "Please tell me he's not dead, "please tell me, please tell me, please tell me he's not dead."
And so, it fell me to tell him that, that he was.
>> I had stashed Dexter and Ashley in the mosque, because it was the most secure building.
I tell the lieutenant, "Okay, we're getting out of here.
The mission's over, we're going home."
I've got Billy's weapon in my hand, and my weapon is slung, so I come around the corner into the mosque, and I was like "You're gonna take this and hold it."
And I said, "When I count to three, "you and you are gonna run out this door and stay right behind me."
(distant gunfire) >> And we ran down the street, back to the home base.
The second we started running, a machine gun opened fire from insurgents behind us.
(gunfire) >> Go!
(explosion booming) >> Go, go!
>> And at that point I felt like we were surrounded.
(gunfire) There were shots coming from everywhere.
We had been there for a little bit too long.
And I remember our tactics not living up to what they should have been at that moment, and we kind of lost a little bit of discipline.
(men yelling indistinctly, gunfire) >> We made it back to the base.
Nobody else was shot.
Sam... told us... (swallows) That this is what happens in war.
That it wasn't our fault.
We went to the lieutenant.
I said, "I'm sorry it's my fault, I know."
He said, "Yeah, it's your fault."
(inhales) (wavering exhale) And then I called my editor and I said, "I have to get out of here."
>> (speaking Arabic): >> (speaking Arabic): ♪ ♪ >> Dad's here!
(ball bouncing) >> Get ready now.
>> Get ready.
You better get ready.
>> Get ready, here it comes.
This is... >> Whoa!
>> (child exclaims) >> Okay, so, can you ask Mustafa to watch me?
>> (woman speaking Arabic) >> Hey!
(laughing) >> (speaking Arabic): ♪ ♪ >> A private graveside service happening now with the closest of family as they bid their final farewell to their patriarch President George H.W.
And now... >> Let future generations understand the burden and the blessings of freedom.
It means that all the people in this country that don't understand what the men and women are dying for, they need to understand it.
My son was one of the ones who didn't come back.
But in some ways, he's better off, because he doesn't have to live with the guilt that so many of them are living with, because they did come back, and their buddies didn't.
I know that Ashley has a lot of guilt, but... he was doing what he was supposed to do, and Billy was doing his job.
He loved being a Marine.
He really, really did.
>> I waited so long; I was so scared to call the Miller family.
I thought that they would be understandably really angry with me.
So eventually I called and saw them.
Lewis... and Susie were absolutely beautiful.
They... Amazing people.
I mean, I still love talking to Susie.
Emailing with her, calling her.
And I wish it would be easier than it is, but, I feel like I owe her... her son.
♪ ♪ >> At the time we took over the city and we did what our mission told us to do.
On paper, it's a success.
'Cause I hold on to my friends.
And the ones that were killed in our memories.
And you look at, back at the instability of what's going on in Fallujah...
I'd take my friends back.
♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ >> (speaking Arabic): Yeah.
>> (speaking Arabic): ♪ ♪ >> Go to pbs.org/frontline for more on the making of this film.
>> By the time I got to Fallujah, you know, I thought I'd seen it all >> I mean what we didn't realize was, the invasion wasn't the war, the war was to come.
>> And for all our coverage of the Iraq war... Visit the "Frontline" archive where you can stream more than 300 documentaries.
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♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ >> For more on this and other "Frontline" programs, visit our website at pbs.org/frontline.
♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ "Frontline's" "Once Upon a Time in Iraq: Fallujah."
is available on Amazon Prime Video.