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I'm Oliver North welcome to war stories.
During the first phase of Operation Iraqi Freedom columns of army and Marines -- Marines toward Baghdad.
After the fall of Saddam's regime the nature of combat change.
Flooded into Iraq -- themselves -- formal review -- Wallace instigate the insurgents.
I would hear soldiers sailors airmen Marines refer to this phase of Operation Iraqi Freedom it's the second semester of the war.
Just like school astonishing number of them are returning.
Veterans of the race to Baghdad.
This is their story.
But those young Americans serving.
The front lines in the war on terror.
In April 2000.
-- -- made my third trip to Iraq since operation Iraqi.
This time I was initially embedded its second battalion fourth Marines heavily decorated combat infantry battalion.
Earlier this year war stories followed some of these Marines during their pre deployment training Camp Pendleton California.
That's where we are in this is our own and operate.
It's valuable if you make it you don't make it realistic.
It's not going to be.
It's been a long journey which would take them to post him -- over Iraq.
And as you'll see tonight.
In this special edition of war stories a path to democracy is not always whom I transfer authority to a magnificent combat unit.
And 24 march 2004 these Marines along with the rest of the first marine expeditionary force or IMF.
Assumed responsibility for the western part of Iraq from the army's 82 airborne division.
This part of Iraq is known as the Al Anbar Province.
-- makes up a large portion of the so called Sunni Triangle.
And it's seen some of -- was violent insurgencies.
Over the past few years could give us a sense for what the mission first marine expeditionary forces.
Commissioner William up for the next twelve months basically provide security stability and allow him -- problems for its developer of the land -- of Iraq.
And when you say that of security for exactly what kind of security we talk.
Or trying to do set the stage for conditions necessary to transition back direct control so.
First off we need to ensure that -- an appropriate security apparatus in place we have programs that are training Iraqi Security Forces across him of those that are necessary.
Run a country local police.
-- political aboard a pool and take of all the way out of the borders saudis review.
Jordan Syria gives a sense for what you got out that.
We do have -- Always have a decent -- we got treatment what we're looking at here is.
What is the security situation -- -- the borders of the border control than necessary things in place the oil country correct stand up.
Sacred home -- bud securities people involved would what would have some of these places like out here on the edge of the border.
Well some of our Marines -- strikes -- -- places this kind of like Pacino Star Wars the force and others have described.
In other terms but essentially these are areas that traditionally have been.
Less populated less subtle.
And they have some unique.
Coalition forces secure Baghdad.
After just 43 days of ground -- air attack.
Just three days later Saddam's hometown of Tikrit fell along with his regime.
Eight months after the fall of Baghdad US soldiers battled the disheveled dictator hiding in a hole in the ground just miles from his hometown.
Despite Saddam's capture.
Pockets of resistance and massive amounts of munitions remains scattered throughout the country.
Securing Iraq's 2000 plus mile long border has been problematic.
Machinery of insurgency.
Has come across the border -- jazz is a foreign affairs and terrorism analyst for Fox News.
We have done a very poor job of shutting down the borders on both sides -- Syrian border and here on in Iraq War and -- over those borders that foreign terrorists have flooded into post Saddam Iraq to use the weapons his army abandoned.
In an effort to quell the growing insurgency the transfer of sovereignty in Iraq became official -- ended June 2004.
Days ahead of schedule.
They also marks a proud moral achievement.
For members of our coalition.
We pledge to -- a dangerous regime.
To free the oppressed.
And to restore -- -- As the new government prepares for the trial of Saddam and the country's first democratic elections only time will tell what Iraq's future holes.
With the future of the second battalion fourth Marines and the rest of the 140000.
US and 25000.
Coalition troops remains the same.
Provide security and stability as the struggle for freedom continues.
Some of the fiercest fighting -- third and April 5 sixth.
Seventeen lives were attacked by dozens of insurgents -- the governor's palace a whole lot.
An -- -- -- -- -- -- relatively.
It's been said floors 95%.
-- and 5% stark terror.
Those days it was terrorist.
That was a dramatic change from the climate we've been operating here's -- -- This or the day before we were -- -- -- information pamphlets.
That people with different projects throughout the community.
Playing with the children and then out of nowhere we get it pretty violent -- the -- and we declare war on us and we -- sponsor.
We'll just gets ratified it and -- -- affiliated.
And I really knowledge of doing rounds confident we'll try to follow particulars on the phone.
It's edited ten 11 -- Suppressing fire we've thought through the streets -- Six if you don't there's won't mind yeah it was that if squad.
This is exclusive footage and brings him down and relied -- on April 6 play navy medical corpsman Alfred blue.
The battle and a lot of raged on for three days over 250.
Killed and twelve Marines made the ultimate sacrifice.
For marine expeditionary force.
Experience -- number dad both killed wounded.
In the last few days have been chilly waters echo company was hit the hardest.
Guys we're we're experts in the way that they've set up -- ambush site how -- police cleaned up program which side.
And the fact that they hit is near simultaneously.
In three different areas.
Us we were patrolling the streets -- the model.
No better friend no worst enemy cover that day.
Now that I look back the streets were pretty empty and their body on -- street was enemies -- -- And Easter Sunday the Marines remembered their fallen Brothers who despite the losses captain herself his -- greens would prevail in ramadi -- really took control.
Back out and -- my area.
We have fought hard for this area we have fought hard for the local -- peace loving civilian Iraqis in the area.
And I'm not a lot of I'm not about alleged thugs are criminals terrorists the fact that so we -- right back up the very next morning.
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