Photo by NBC Television/Fotos International/Getty Images.

It’s not often that western Iraq evokes memories of long-defunct 1980s sitcoms in warfighters, but when one Marine colonel considers Anbar province, his first thought is... “Cheers.” Yes, the TV show.

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Fifteen years of war have turned Iraqi cities such as Ramadi, Fallujah, and Mosul into ruins. Iraq remains as divided as ever along sectarian lines, despite the deaths of more than 4,500 U.S. troops and untold numbers of Iraqis.

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U.S. Army photo by J.D. Leipold

Eight years ago, Walter B. Jackson was a newly minted officer in the U.S. Army, fresh out of West Point, serving as the fire support officer for Company A, Task Force 1st Battalion, 36th Infantry Regiment in Anbar province, Iraq.

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Screenshot via YouTube

What follows is a heartfelt letter to a fallen Marine, Lance Cpl. Randy L. Newman, originally written on the 8th anniversary of his death, Aug. 20, 2014. Randy was killed Aug. 20, 2006, while conducting combat operations in Anbar province, Iraq. He was assigned to 3rd Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion, 1st Marine Division out of Twentynine Palms, California. He was 21 years old.

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