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“While the corpsman made sure that the IV fluid was properly attached, [Lieutenant] Reid thought back to the number of wounded in his platoon....They had all, including him made decisions based on the information they had at the time. There were some things no one could control: how hard the wind blew, whether the Iraqi pulled the trigger, whether the enemy mortar was bubbled up or not. Everyone had done their best but some things were just not known....His one hope was that one day, the truth about that day would come out, regardless of egos, so that everyone could learn from what went wrong. If the Marine Corps learns and becomes stronger, then my men did not die in vain."

—Tim Pritchard, Ambush Alley: The Most Extraordinary Battle of the Iraq War, New York: Presido Press / Random House, 2005.

On March 23, 2003, eighteen marines of Task Force Tarawa were killed in action in the southern Iraqi town of Nasiriyah. Thirty-five were wounded. It was the single heaviest loss suffered by the U.S. military during the combat phase of Operation Iraqi Freedom. 

The route through Nasiriyah (a route known as "Ambush Alley) was secured and, the next day, the 2nd Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion pushed through Nasiriyah to spearhead the 1st Marine Expeditionary Force's attack toward Baghdad. (On April 1st, marines from Task Force Tarawa participated in the rescue a soldier from the Army's 507th Maintenance Company, Private Jessica Lynch.)

Tim Pritchard was an embedded journalist in Iraq but it was only after he left that country, months later, that he met the marines of 1st Battalion 2nd Marines at their base in Camp Lejeune, North Carolina. There he pieced together this extraordinary narrative through interviews with some 50 marines.

This is a gripping and emotionally-wrenching narrative that reads like a novel. Most highly recommended.