01x01 - Charlie Platoon and The Story of Marc Lee

Sometimes I get asked, "What does it take to win?"

And that is, will.

You have to have the will to kill because you cannot win without killing the enemy.

And the other side of that coin is that you have to have the will to die.

If you're gonna go to war, you've got to make sure that you have those two types of will in the deepest part of your soul.

But if you believe in what you're doing, and the will is there, then victory is always possible.

And in fact, if you have the true will and the true belief, victory is imminent and undeniable.

Reporter: Insurgents and Jihadists have found a home in Iraq's sprawling Anbar Province. and have turned it into a hotbed of violence.

My name is Leif Babin. I was a lieutenant, a platoon commander of Charlie Platoon that SEAL Team 3 Task Unit Bruiser.

Right away, we wanted to take our performance to the next level, and so we trained harder than anybody.

Every, every type of operation you could think of out in the deserts, you know, shooting our weapons, patrolling on foot, jumping out of planes, and we had an awesome group of guys that, that were just fired up, ready to go get after it.

We just had a, a solid level of trust across the board, up and down the chain of command.

It's not about actually doing the skills and all the, the tactics perfectly.

It's about knowing each other, and that's where, where everything really gels.

When you're with these guys 24/7, for months at a time, it's, it is family, it's the same thing.

It's a group of friends that hang out together, live together, work together, work out together, go out together, and do everything together.

That's, that's what a SEAL platoon is.

Leif Babin: Marc Lee joined our platoon after we'd been working together for about six months.

Right away you could tell he a presence about him.

You knew he was a smart guy, a hard worker, a very strong Christian guy. His faith was very important to him.

He came in, and he's just a big dude, quiet, humble and pretty fun loving, you know, liked to have a good time.

Me and Marc, we were in the same boat crew going through BUD/S and Hell Week and all of that stuff.

You really get to know people when people are mad and tired and hungry.

He would always be making jokes.

Didn't matter how much we were hurting.

He was just absolutely hilarious.

He liked to push the envelope on stuff.

Marc showed up to Charlie platoon, he very boldly stated that, uh, "I've never been choked out before."

And so Chris Kyle and a couple of other guys immediately helped him out to make sure that that, that was not the case.

Marc immediately was one of us and a big part of our platoon.

We did a trip, where we were up and around Las Vegas.

And when he would gamble, he would get everyone all riled up.

He would always be the loud one at the table.

Jocko Willink: You know, when you're playing Blackjack, the dealer busts, and everybody else wins.

If the dealer busted, Marc would just throw up his arms and, "Everybody is a winner! "

Everybody is a winner!

Everybody's a winner when, you know, when the dealer busts.

Then they bring in another dealer because like, oh, we're winning, we gotta bring another dealer in.

And he was like, "Oh, they're bringing the iceman in."

He would start clapping and cheering, and he would get everyone all riled up, and people would start betting more money, and it was just create, create a lot of fun.

And, that's, you know, that's kind of what Marc was like.

Debbie Lee: I remember so much Marc trying to explain to me the brotherhood.

Like "Yeah, yeah, I get it, you're close to these guys.

But as close as your brother you grew up with for 28 years?"

"Yeah, mom, I'm that close."

Maya Elbaum: You know, Marc had a thing about him.

Everybody loved Marc.

He was completely compassionate to everybody.

Debbie Lee: He was that personality that was bigger than life, not that, you know, we didn't go through our share of trials and tragedies, but he could just take a situation in life and make it funny.

Two years in a row his friends voted him Class Clown.

He always brought joy and humor into the people that he knew.

Maya Elbaum: He had a lot of layers.

He was funny and silly. He was very serious at times, athletic, like he, he looked like a Greek god.

He loved soccer. He actually played professionally before he blew out his knee.

And then he went to school to become a pastor.

So, he was a very religious man.

And then he realized, "no, I want to become a Navy SEAL."

We were completely in love. We knew we wanted to spend the rest of our lives with one another.

I remember when he told me that he was going to Ramadi, Iraq.

It was just this feeling of, of sadness.

It's a six-month deployment, and the truth of the matter is, is that they're gonna be in harm's way.

But he believed so much in what he was doing.

And as much as Marc felt invincible, there is always this back, back, you know, burning, burning feeling of, of like as, you know, is this gonna be the last?

From Iraq tonight, we have an exclusive look at what has become the single most dangerous city in that country for US forces.

An hour west of Baghdad, terrorists hold the city of Ramadi in a deadly grip, fueling the insurgency and taking a terrible toll on the several thousand American troops who are trying to hold them at bay.

In 2006, Ramadi was the worst part of Iraq.

It's the capital of Al Anbar Province, the biggest state in Iraq.

It was a total war zone.

Leif Babin: We were facing, in what I would deem, as evil an enemy as the US has, has ever faced.

Back then, the enemy was identified as AQI, Al-Qaeda, Iraq.

Leif Babin: You're talking about, you know, some of the same people who are now ISIS.

When you see the kind of things that they do to people and, and just the torture and rape and murder, talking people into becoming suicide bombers.

Anyone that stood against them, I mean, they're gonna cut their head off and make an example out of them, and, and they're absolutely brutal and ruthless.

And Ramadi was kinda the epicenter of their insurgency.

The Marine Corps and Army units that were there, they were doing their utmost to beat back insurgent attacks and defend their bases, but they certainly took a huge amount of casualties.

I think they had 94 guys killed in action and several hundred wounded, you know, in the 15 months that they spent there.

The guys that were there fighting before us, they had kind of surrounded the city. but there was no major combat outposts inside the city.

Tony Eafrati: The conventional forces, all the things they wanted to do building COPs, you know, combat outposts.

And forging relationships with the local populace and the sheikhs and all that, that's kinda hard to do when you have an untouched enemy force who is just running rampant throughout that area.

Jocko Willink: The other problem is the urban environment.

The enemy can fade in and out of the populace in a split second.

All they have to do is put down their weapon, and they're a civilian.

The IED threat is completely, you know, horrible.

( explosion )

Improvised Explosive Device. It's a roadside bomb.

Jocko Willink: In an urban environment, everything is man-made, so anything could be an IED.

They would make IEDs look like curbs and look like brick walls and look like mailboxes or whatever.

Among military commanders, there is a growing sense that defeating the enemy there may be impossible.

Leif Babin: There was a Marine Corps intelligence report that was leaked to the press in the spring of, of 2006.

US forces are militarily incapable of defeating the insurgency in Ramadi and Al Anbar.

It was described as a, as an unwinnable situation.

Leif Babin: What other people see as impossible is possible with the right folks who believe in the mission.

Guys like Marc Lee really believed in this mission, that we can, we were trying to liberate the Iraqi people from an evil insurgency.

I, I totally believed in what we were doing there.

I mean, you know, somebody has to kill the bad guys.

And I think we were the best suited for that.

Leif Babin: When we showed up, Ramadi, was a violent terrorist stronghold, a total war zone.

TIME Magazine had called it, I think, the most dangerous place in the world at the time.

Tony Eafrati: It was bad there, but I remember the smell a lot.

Physically, it stinks.

But in the same breath it's kind of like that...

( sniffs )

It's kind of war, you know, so it... it's the slap in face that kind of feels good.

Jason Hogan: It's just a whole different world.

Driving down the streets, it was almost like being in a movie.

Jocko Willink: There would be machine gun holes in all the buildings and walls rubbled down, and that's what it looked like.

That's where I wanted to be my whole life.

When I was a little kid I wanted to be some kind of a soldier, some kind of a commando, and I realized that there was guys that were fighting and dying, and I wasn't with them.

And so I immediately figured out how to get in.

I heard that the SEALs was a tough organization and hard to get through, and that made me want to do it.

It was just one of those things that I was, you know, I had inside my, my...

I guess inside my head or soul or whatever, for lack of a better word.

It's what I always wanted to do since I was, since I could remember wanting to do anything.

Jason Hogan: Jocko was a task unit commander.

He was an intimidating guy.

Um, I never saw that man sleep.

I, uh, he, I remember any time I woke up in the morning, he was already up. I went to bed at night, he was still up.

Jocko Willink: If Ramadi would have fallen, you would have a very secure area for the insurgency to grow.

You can't have it fall to the enemy.

That's all there is to it.

Leif Babin: The Ready First Brigade strategy of seize, clear, hold, build was about going into the worst enemy held areas, seizing those areas, building a permanent combat outpost, and then moving out into the enemy territory from there, taking them back one neighborhood at a time.

It was a radical strategy. There were people that thought that was crazy.

Of course for us, we initially thought, how can we get into those areas, right?

'Cause if that's where the bad guys are, that's where we can have the most impact.

To be able to go into the worst enemy held areas to build a combat outpost, we had to bring a massive amount of firepower with us.

Jocko Willink: Marc Lee was a machine gunner.

And a damn good one.

Leif Babin: When you're under attack, and a dozen bad guys are trying to overrun your position, it's the machine gunners that keep you alive.

Jason Hogan: I was the same as Marc.

I did the Mark 48, call it 60 gunner.

If you don't have a 60 gun on your team there, you're not moving anywhere, really.

Jocko Willink: They had to lay down suppressive fire and keep the enemy head down, so that we could maneuver to safety or maneuver to a more aggressive position.

Marc was just absolutely fearless.

He'd stand out there in the middle of the street with rounds ricocheting all around him, and just lay down fire, running through the streets with that big automatic weapon.

Tony Eafrati: You know, being a machine gunner, if you're really good at it, man, you're such an asset.

Guys like Marc, who were like big, rugged frogmen who can really carry a lot of rounds and really lay it down, they're well worth their weight in gold.

Going into these neighborhoods involved bad guys shooting at us, us exchanging some fire with those bad guys, being able to beat them back, and us coming back home and, you know, with everybody intact.

Jason Hogan: Leif and Jocko, they were always pushing it, uh, getting us ops.

They did a good job getting us in the fight.

Combat Outpost Falcon, or COP Falcon was, uh, was right at a key intersection in this really bad area.

It was a total Al-Qaeda battle space.

That's where the bad guys are, I mean...

So when they wanted to go in there and put a Combat Outpost there, we were overjoyed.

We thought it was great.

That, that was kind of a, kind of a big operation we did, and it was pretty cool, too.

Leif Babin: We were gonna be the lead element to support the guys coming in.

So we saw right away that us being come from the water, the river's right here, let's go in our boats.

Tony Eafrati: There's a canal back there off the Euphrates, and they didn't IED any boats.

We'd slipped in on the riverbank and patrolled in.

Chris Kyle was actually our point man.

I was right behind him as the patrol leader.

Chris kind of halts the patrol for a second, and he starts changing his battery out on his laser, on his weapon.

I was like, dude, what are you, what are you doing, man?

We, we gotta keep moving.

He doesn't have a working laser, and we come to the end of a, kind of a dark alleyway, and I see Chris just kind of freeze.

Not 25 yards away from us, there's a bad guy.

A Mujahideen fighter is standing there with a keffiyeh wrapped around his face and AK-47.

I mean, he's 25 yards away.

Chris can't accurately shoot him because he doesn't have a laser.

I had to come up and take that shot over his shoulder.

( gunfire )

Chris had 101 confirmed kills from our deployment, and yet he never forgave me for taking that away from him.

So, we smoked that bad guy.

Smoked, that means killed, eliminated.

And then we moved on to COP Falcon.

We went in and cleared this building.

Put snipers up on the rooftop and in windows, and then we covered the movement for all the big heavy equipment that was coming in to build the Combat Outpost.

It's about working together as a team.

Snipers can only stay for maybe two or three hours maximum before they get fatigued.

And so guys like Marc, who's a machine gunner, and wasn't a sniper, but he'd rotate in and man those positions.

I think there was something like 50 tanks involved in this and probably, probably 800 to 1,000 soldiers.

It was, it was a huge, huge operation.

And, I was proud that we were the lead element on it.

Leif, Leif Babin.

We just kinda hit it off.

We had the same goals that we set for, for the platoon and where we wanted to go.

Leif was our OIC, Officer in Charge of our platoon.

Leif Babin: I spent 13 years in the Navy, nine years as a Navy SEAL.

I grew up in the piney woods of Southeast Texas, playing with my Army men, G.I. Joe figures out in the sandbox.

I always knew I wanted to be a combat leader.

That's what I wanted to do with my life.

My dad served in the Army and the Air Force.

I'm one of five siblings, but I'm the only one that decided that that's what I wanted to do.

I went to the Naval Academy to pursue that dream.

Throughout the SEAL teams, I think, no matter how tough things got, I think having the attitude of, thank God I'm here, You know, I actually got the chance to do what I wanted to do and what I dreamed about.

The reality is, yeah, there's some tough stuff, but you just gotta look in the mirror hard and say, "this is what I want to do, and I'm gonna overcome any challenge necessary to do that."

And in what became known as the Battle of Ramadi, we would be truly tested.

COP Falcon gave us a foothold into this worst enemy held area of south central Ramadi.

Jason Hogan: We just ran operations out of there after that, just because it was easier than going back all the way to Camp Ramadi.

Leif Babin: The whole time that the US Marines and soldiers were building those Combat Outposts throughout the city, we had sniper teams in place supporting those guys.

We formed a huge relationship with them, because they realized how we could protect them, and of course we relied on them when they, you know, we needed them to come out and help us.

I mean, that happened very often.

Jason Hogan: We did work hand-in-hand with the Army, and we just would keep pushing forward, pushing forward, pushing forward.

It was my first time going overseas like this, uh, first time in combat, and from the time I joined the Navy to the time I actually got to go over there was three years.

Three years of training and I was just thinking, "man, finally, I get to do my job now, why I signed up."

When I decided to be a SEAL, I was bored with my life at the time.

I was just going to college playing football.

It's just a small little school.

I just wanted something more to do, something that was challenging.

September 11th happened.

That was some stuff I had talked about with my dad, like I wanted to be part of something.

I wanted to be part of doing good.

I wanted to go do something that I thought mattered, and I thought that was it.

I thought joining the, becoming a Navy SEAL was it.


Tony Eafrati: Jason was a new guy.

A lot of them guys are new, and, uh, they came in with a really good attitude that, you know, whatever it is, we'll do it.

And we did some crazy ( bleep ).

We did over watch operations.

An over watch operation is going into an area, 99% of the time over there in Ramadi it was a building.

And just sit there on the scopes and watch and watch and watch.

So anywhere there are insurgents trying to lay in an ambush, we'd get 'em.

Leif Babin: So much of the Iraq war was fought on the defensive.

For us, sniper over watches were a way to take the offensive and really take the fight to the enemy.

( gunshot )

Leif Babin: When we'd go in our sniper over watch positions, we'd go in under cover of darkness at 2:00 or 3:00 in the morning.

The first early morning call to prayer, is it happens just before daylight, and so, you know, those are, you know the city is gonna awaken.

And we're kind of waiting to hear that because that's kind of a signal that the enemy might rally to that.

Marc Lee, he was very good at imitating those.

He would be like-- ( mimics call to prayer )

And he'd kick that thing off, and you'd be like, "Dude, is it-- what time is it?"

And you realize, "Oh it's you, dude, shut up," you know.

So he'd, he got the best of me a few times on that, definitely.

Jason Hogan: Marc, he always had a good attitude, even when things were horrible.

Leif Babin: As daybreak comes, first call to prayer went off in, in, in the early morning, and the city kinda comes alive, and we started seeing bad guys moving around.

Our snipers start taking shots and hammering enemy fighters.

And then, you know, they start shooting back at us.

We got thousands of rounds shot at us.

( gunfire )

I think it was Marc and some of the other guys were just looking at each other, just laughing.

I remember crawling into the room there and be like, "hey, you guys all right?"

It's like rounds are just coming in and just shattering glass, and literally inches over guys' heads, and they were just like, "Damn, these guys can shoot."

And Tony's standing in the corner, and rounds are bracketing him coming in two different windows, and he's kind of just up against the concrete, and he just looks at me as, like, gives me a smile, like a thumbs-up, was like, "This is, this is crazy."

So you're in a war zone. It's combat, it sucks, it's hard, you know, and fun at the same time.

But I was very fortunate to be in a leadership position in that platoon at that time.

Tony Eafrati was the platoon chief, so he was the senior enlisted guy.

Tony Eafrati: I wanted to be a SEAL.

I wanted to go in the Navy since I was like a teenager.

My grandfather was a B-17 pilot in World War II.

My dad was in during the Vietnam War, and my brother was in the Air Force.

I went over 20 years in the Navy, and then I made Chief.

As an enlisted frogman, that's what you want to be.

Best job I ever had.

Especially when you got a really good team, you know.

You just, you're really part of something special.

Leif Babin: The strength of SEAL teams is our team.

You know, it's, it's, it's our brotherhood.

The reality is, in combat, yeah, there's some tough stuff, but most of it was an absolute blast.

We were fighting a very evil enemy, and, and we knew we were making a difference, we knew we were having an impact.

We stirred up the hornet's nest, but it was right where we wanted to be.

Tony Eafrati: To me the strategy for defeating ISIS is one ISIS guy, put a bullet in his head.

That guy is done, onto the next one.

How many of them, a hundred thousand of them?

Okay, get 100,000 bullets. Job done.

That's our part of this mission.

Leif Babin: Throughout the months that Charlie Platoon spent in Ramadi, we were a part of probably at least five or six major Combat Outposts.

Jocko Willink: We could feel the progress.

I mean, there's a finite number of bad guys that are willing to martyr themselves, and so we dug in to try and see where that bottom was.

But you gotta realize there's gonna be risk on every operation you do, and that's one thing that, you know, we definitely had to deal with.

I always had, like, this thing that we're invincible.

Just like the other units thought we were invincible, I thought we were, too.

I don't know how the older guys were, 'cause they'd been there and done that before.

You actually know that somebody's gonna get killed or wounded.

I mean you-- It's, it's, you--

I mean, I actually knew it.

There's no way you could stop it.

You know that it's gonna happen.

I mean, we can only be lucky so many times in a row.

And you can only mitigate the risk so much.

And you roll out there with all those threats and all that evil that's there.

And you know that at some point it's gonna happen.

Leif Babin: Uh, we were conducting a big operation with the Army's Team Bulldog.

We work very closely with these awesome soldiers that we'd formed a tremendous brotherhood with.

And we were doing a cordoned search operation with Iraqi soldiers.

Basically moving, like, block-by-block, house-by-house, through an area.

On August 2, the bad guys decided that they were gonna, they were gonna fight for this territory in a way that we hadn't seen it before.

Marc was with me and the clearance team with Iraqi soldiers.

We were moving through and house to house.

We had a sniper team on the rooftop.

Chris Kyle was there as our sniper.

Ryan Jobe was our machine gunner with Chris and a couple of other SEALs and some Iraqis that were with them.

We were about to move down into another building, and so as I walked down the stairs, I just hear a gunshot, a single gunshot.

( gunshot )

And I just, I just could hear Chris Kyle's voice.

( shouting )

He came up over the radio and told us that we had a man down and we needed a corpsman on the roof right away.

Jason Hogan: I was in the next building over... and we had heard somebody got hit on the radio, and we didn't-- I didn't know who at the time.

Didn't know the extent of it.

Leif Babin: We rushed to the rooftop, me and a couple of other guys, and immediately got to Ryan.

He had been hit, hit in the head, and, and it was-- It just looked horrific.

You know, there was no way we thought he could even possibly survive that.

I just grabbed his hand, I said, "Hang in there brother, we're gonna, we're gonna get you out of here."

Tony Eafrati: I was on an opposite building.

I mean, we were all in the same group doing this like huge operation.

We called in the ground medevac to get him out of there.

And meanwhile, we got an enemy sniper out there, we got one single round that had hit a guy and put him down.

So, one of the most courageous things I ever saw anybody do was Marc Lee grabbing his machine gun and stepping right up into the very position where Ryan just got shot, and just laying down suppressive fire for us.

So we got Ryan onto, you know, to help and got him evacuated.

So after that, all hell broke loose.

There were just people coming out of the woodwork, insurgents shooting at soldiers, as well as us.

We figured we got a sniper out here.

We gotta move back to Combat Outpost Falcon.

( gunfire )

Jason Hogan: After Ryan was hit, people were a little shaken by that.

It hadn't happened before.

We hadn't taken any casualties.

We had always been the people killing, really.

It was a first time for any of us for that.

Leif Babin: But when we got back to COP Falcon, we hadn't finished our cordoned search operation, but the Army troops were still out in the midst of that, and they were getting shot at from all directions.

We could hear the gunfire, and they asked for our help.

They said, "We need some help out here."

And so, you know, for me as a platoon commander, that's a tough decision to make, you know.

But I had to make that decision and say, "We can sit in the camp here, or we can go out and help these guys."

Tony Eafrati: Well when Ryan got shot, Marc was just getting after it and laying it down.

I remember when we came back, and I'm like, "Hey, Marc, you did a good job there, chum, you know, real good."

And he's like, "Yeah, thanks, Ton."

And I went, "Well, what are you waiting for?

Reload your ( bleep ), you know, 'cause we're gonna go back out."

He's like, "All right," you know, and he just, "Roger that," and just carried on.

But, that's the last thing I said to him.

Leif Babin: After Ryan was wounded, the Army, they gave us some reports of, we're getting shot at from this building.

So we loaded our guys up and vehicles to go out and, and try to get those bad guys.

Jason Hogan: We got in some Bradleys, went to the first house and cleared it.

No problem there. Got back in the Bradleys.

Then we went to the next place.

Marc looks over at me and he's like, "Hey, I'll race you to the door."

So we raced to the door. I end up winning.

I go in the first room, and he goes down to the end of the hallway.

Leif Babin: And as we moved into that building, we started taking fire from an adjacent building.

( gunfire )

Jason Hogan: Bullets start flying down the hallway, right when I was coming out of the first room.

Leif was standing right in front of me.

He jumped into me, hit me, knocked me back into the room.

He may have saved my life, I don't know.

If I had walked out in that hallway, I might've gotten hit because he ended up getting hit in the lat by one of those rounds.

And so Marc stepped up in a window to, you know, engage enemy fire and protect the guys behind him and was struck.

( gunshot )

Leif Babin: We evacuated him as a casualty, sent our corpsman with him, you know, corpsman tried to do his best, utmost to work on him, but he had been shot in the head and killed instantly.

And there was nothing anybody could do about it.

And it was, it was horrific, absolutely horrific.

I was in the Tactical Operations Center that morning.

Leif got on one of the COP's radios and called.

With so much emotion in his voice that it almost sounded emotionless, said "We had another casualty.

I think he's KIA.

Killed In Action.

This radio net was monitored by the entire brigade, so we were both doing our best to remain professional.

To prevent names of casualties from leaking out, we do not use names on the radio.

'Roger, who is the casualty?'

There was a pause, and then he responded, 'Charlie 1-4.'

I looked up at the board slowly.

I didn't want to see the name, but there it was, Charlie 1-4, Marc Lee.

I couldn't believe it.

Our pillar of courage and faith."

He was my best friend in the platoon, by far.

I'd been with him since the day when I lived with him for two years, and he's gone now. It's like, just like that.

I just went over and sat on my rack, and I put my head down, and I just, I just cried.

A couple of guys came over and gave me hugs, you know.

The other guys were feeling it too, for sure.

I felt like we were invincible at the time, and all of a sudden you're like, "wow, it can happen to us, too."

Jocko Willink: After Marc got killed, Leif, who had made the decision to go back out onto the battlefield after Ryan had been wounded, came to me, you know, like the next day.

I mean, he was crushed.

And he said, "Hey, you know, I'm questioning the decision that I made."

I said, you know, I said to him, "Leif, you were out there on the battlefield, and our Army brothers were out there and needed our help."

I told him there was no decision to make.

You have to figure out, like, what did we do wrong?

And sometimes there is no answer for that.

So why, why did he get killed?

You know, probably could've been me.

It could have been anybody.

You know, he just was there, doing his job like, like a good frogman, you know, and that's it.

I always wonder what would've happened had he gone in the door first.

Would I have had the courage to, you know, do what he did?

Put himself in harm's way to protect his guys.

I want to say yes, but you never know until you're there.

It's a crazy thing to think about, for me.

Leif Babin: A few days later we had a, we had a memorial service on Camp Ramadi, and just hundreds of people came out of the woodwork.

The soldiers that we worked with, Marines that we worked with.

The loss of anyone would've been horrific, but for Marc in particular, he was just such a beloved guy, and interestingly enough, our Iraqi soldiers were devastated as well.

Uh, we stood down the troops for a couple days, and then we started planning operations to go out and execute.

What I told my guys, because I said, "I don't know any other way," is, "I'm gonna work. I'm gonna work, and we're gonna do what we came here to do."

Jason Hogan: I actually went back with Marc and went to the service.

The close family and friends went and actually buried him and put our tridents into his casket.

Yeah, and put him in, put him in the ground.

Maya Elbaum: I thought with Marc, there was no way that he would ever die.

I always thought he was gonna be with me for the rest of my life.

I felt so lost. I felt like I lost my other...

I lost my other half, and I remember, you know, just feeling like I was being swallowed.

Debbie Lee: One of the things that gives me hope, that young man was redeployed to Heaven.

I will see him again one day.

Marc's tombstone, the words that are on there are perfect.

It says, "Deeply loved, loved deeply."

And that definitely describes Marc, the friend that he was, the husband that he was, the son.

Maya Elbaum: He loved his family, his friends and his country.

He was the most beautiful person in the whole entire world.

Debbie Lee: He loved very deeply, and because of that he was deeply loved.

And I think that's one of those things that's reflected in his last letter home.

Male voice: Glory is something that some men chase and others find themselves stumbling upon, not expecting it to find them.

Either way, it is a noble gesture that one finds bestowed upon them.

My question is, when does glory fade away and become a wrongful crusade, or an unjustified means by which consumes one completely?

I have seen war. I have seen death.

The sorrow that encompasses your entire being as a man breathes his last.

I can only pray and hope that none of you will ever have to experience some of the things I have seen and felt here.

That letter has impacted millions and millions of lives around the world.

I've gotten letters from our troops who had thrown a tarp in their garage and were gonna take their own life, and said, "I read Marc's letter, and I decided I want to live."

And because of that letter, I founded "America's Mighty Warriors" to make sure that our troops and the families who have given their very best for this nation, their loved one, know that we will never forget them.

Tony Eafrati: That whole effort in Ramadi, people that lost their lives there and got wounded and killed, you know, I knew, I knew who they were, you know.

I can't get back Marc Lee.

He's my brother, just like all my other brothers that died in Iraq and Afghanistan.

But we made an impact.

When we left towards the end of October, we had COPs all over the place now.

So they had, they had a really good foothold.

We won in Ramadi, and in a place that nobody thought we could win.

Ramadi was one of the safest places in Iraq.

For almost seven years it remained that way.

And, and we know the formula.

We can win again.

Marc Lee was absolutely one of those guys who knew that he could get shot and killed at any time, and he went out and did his job every single day, knowing that could happen any time, fearlessly, because he knew he was making a difference and believed in what he was doing.

I've learned that that determination that Marc had, it's something that every SEAL has, in their own way.

Jason Hogan: If you're not willing to die, you shouldn't be there.

I think that, that will is either in you, or it's not.

I don't know if you can develop that.

I think it's just, you're just born with it, or you're not.

I'd die in a second for any of my bros.

Not even think about it.

Jocko Willink: It's not in everybody.

Guys like Marc had that will, not only to take the fight to the enemy but to make the ultimate sacrifice.

Nothing could have prepared me for how horrific that burden is.

And, but, you know, every time I stand there at Marc's grave, I mean, there will never be a time when I stand there and don't wish that I wouldn't be lying there in the ground, and not Marc.

Definitely... definitely tough to... a tough thing.

Jocko Willink: When you are lucky enough to experience war, you can get very jaded because you can see that human beings can be... abhorrent creatures.

And you can begin to question if there's really any good at all, and it can become... dark.

Especially when it is your job... to, in some sense, grow that darkness.

Marc proved that there was light and good.

And... maybe... it was hard to see that in his life, but for some unknown reason, or reason that's beyond understanding, I saw it in his death.

Man's voice: To all my family and friends, do me a favor pass on the kindness, the love, the precious gift of human life to each other.

So that when your children come into contact with a great conflict, like the one we are faced with here in Iraq, that they will be people of humanity, people of pure motives and of compassion.

This is our real part to keep America free.

Happy Fourth. Love you, Marc Lee.

Man: If I was a bomber, living anywhere around here, this is exactly where I'd place a device.

They were prepared and waiting for us.

And they ambushed us.

We lost radio contact, immediately I hear all this gunfire.

We had men down and we have to get up there to help.

Man #1: I'm a warrior.

I'm here to make sure that all my brothers come back alive.

I wasn't gonna let them die.