On Apr. 22, 2008, two Marine infantrymen stood in place as a suicide truck bomber came barreling toward them. Six seconds later the truck exploded, killing them both.

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U.S. Marine Corps photo by Sgt. Courtney G. White

An infantry Marine’s combat heroism in Iraq is getting an upgrade this afternoon.

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25-year-old Marine 1st Lt. David Russell wasn’t expecting a fight in the moments before the battle that’d ultimately earn him the military’s third-highest award for valor. In fact, he was shaving his face when the first grenade exploded just beyond the wall of sandbags that stood between his platoon’s command-and-control building and the embattled streets of Ramadi, where hit-and-run attacks on American troops frequently occurred. But the sound of heavy-machine gunfire told Russell this attack was of a different nature. The enemy was determined, and close.

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In a new video, Article 15’s Mat Best and Vincent “Rocco” Vargas recount a deadly mission in Iraq in 2006 and lingering feelings of survivor’s guilt.

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