The story behind this image of the Second Battle of Fallujah

Battle of Fallujah

Operation Phantom Fury of the Battle of Fallujah

The whole operation was named Operation Phantom Fury and Operation Al-Fajr (The Dawn) by keeping the main two goals in mind: retake the city from the capture and the insurgents of Abu Musab al Zarqawi, a notorious al Qaeda leader as well as the potential founder of Daesh (ISIS).


The estimated number of insurgents peaked at approximately 4,000 insurgents, including religious extremists and ex-Iraqi Army veterans. On the various other sides, the Coalition forces had about 13,350 troops (US 10,500 troops, Iraqi security forces 2,000 soldiers & UK 850 troops). USA Forces started the fight by closing all the city’s exits to ensure no insurgents could escape and established different roadblocks and checkpoints.

The insurgents in Fallujah then initiated their defense perimeters and barricades in fear of the Coalition Forces intending to strike the city. The last assault was left for the Marine Expeditionary Force.

Uncommon Valor in the Battle of Fallujah

Uncommon Valor, probably the most iconic picture set of the next Second Battle of Fallujah, was taken on November 9, 2004.

One of the Marines was shot by an enemy sniper. While he was lying down on the street, Gunnery Sgt. Ryan P. Shane, the platoon sergeant of US troops, carried the rare Valor during the ensuing Battle of Fallujah.

It was probably the most lethal undertaking during the whole battle and perhaps the most dangerous sustained urbanized combat for US troops in the Iraq War. Ryan P. Shane had been an infantryman since he was 18 years old

With sparks kicking up near him, Shane ran to the severely wounded Marine. Grabbing him by his collar, Shane tried to pull him to safety, but the enemy shot him in the next seconds. He fell right there, 

The fire that then came in was intense. “Men down, men down!” The radio crackled. Everyone was shocked by what just happened. Marines returned fire at the enemy’s location within minutes, and a group of Marines rushed to the downed marines.

In the next few hours, severely wounded Ryan P. Shane pulled through. The Marines took him to the hospital on time, and he survived. But sadly, Lonny didn’t.