On November 8, 2004, Marines entered Fallujah, Iraq for the second time to bring peace and democracy to its citizens. Now, about two years after withdrawing from Iraq, they're dealing with the enemy taking over again.
Sgt. Marquel Curtis was part of the fight, where U.S. and Iraqi forces teamed up to rid the city of more than 1,000 insurgents.
"We're the rough, tough, green, mean machine, but deep down inside, there's fear there," Curtis said. "It was very eerie because we enter it -- it was dark, it was like you couldn't see anything."
These insurgents spread violence and fear.
"We have to do what we have to do to help the Iraqi people gain freedom and peace."
But after years of relative stability, Al Qaeda has raised its flag.
"It hurt because I had some of my closest friends -- a couple of my buddies -- die right before my eyes," Curtis said. "How could they let this Al Qaeda take back Fallujah after we fought the biggest battle of the century?"
Blood, sweat and tears -- it's what Curtis says he and his team gave, in the most agressive fight of their careers. He says they did their job, they did their best, and they felt accomplished.
"It was the stronghold at the time in Iraq, so we defeated the enemy at that time," Curtis said.
In the past two weeks, dozens of Iraqi forces have died, trying to take back Fallujah. Curtis has faith that their training with the U.S. will pay off.
"They're going to rise up against Al Qaeda, and they're going to fight Al Qaeda, and the insurgents themselves," Curtis said.
Some may wonder if Marines who gave their lives in the war did it for nothing. But to Curtis, it was for everything that matters most.
"We know that they lost their lives for the men to the left and the right of them," Curtis said. "It was no other way. They were watching our backs, we were watching theirs. So I don't think they lost their lives for just anything. They lost their lives for me, and they lost their lives for their family back home."
Video courtesy of DVIDS. Photos courtesy of Sgt. Marquel Curtis.