The Marlboro Marine


The Marlboro Marine, that’s what they called him.

The photo was taken after almost 12 hours of non-stop fighting during one of the bloodiest battles of the Iraq war, the battle of Fallouja. It was published on the front-page of over 150 newspapers and has been republished countless times. The soldier was Marine Lance Cpl. James Blake Miller and the effects of war were etched clearly on his face. Miller and his squad had just survived one of the longest nights of their lives, pinned down on a rooftop under heavy enemy fire. The sun was just rising at the end of that long sleepless night, as the young Corporal reached over and lit his first cigarette of the day. Suddenly a camera shutter opened and shut immortalizing the moment.

Lance Cpl. Miller’s photo has become iconic of the war in Iraq. His camouflage smeared, his nose bloodied, and a cigarette dangling from his lips he looks every bit the battle hardened warrior. Yet the look in his eye tells another story. His eyes seem to scream, reflecting the pain of an entire generation and the horrors of an unjust war.

A year after the photo was taken The Marlboro Marine was honorably discharged by the Department of the Navy, after being diagnosed with a severe case of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). So what’s next? What happens after the last bullet has been let loose and thousands of miles are put between you and the heat of battle?

The L.A. Times has published a powerful account of life after war for this U.S. Soldier, with the collaboration of the Times photographer who originally shot the image, Luis Sinco.

Watch it here: Battles After the War

~ by Alberto Ramos Cordero on November 15, 2007.

34 Responses to “The Marlboro Marine”

  1. […] You can read the rest of this blog post by going to the original source, here […]

  2. ok.. first.. thats not the was taken right after he called in fire support…

    Second. He is a marine.. any medical discharges come from the dept. of the navy..

    as for the rant about war is horrible.. Hello Genuis, Its a war.. the first war in US history lasting this long and fought by an ALL VOLUNTEER FORCE.. I am so tired of hearing crap like “unjust war”

    Heres a sign, that all americans should pay attention to..


  3. You wrote genius wrong.

  4. MARINES!!!! not the fucking army dumbass

  5. I feel the need to make the same correction. That is the Marine not a soldier. Marines HATE being called soldiers. There is nothing wrong with the Special Forces Soldiers. However there is plenty wrong with the rest of the Army hence why Marines do not like being compared to them.

  6. And what is wrong with the rest of the army? Get off your fucking high horses, Marines and Marine fanboys. A few weeks longer in basic to get brainwashed doesn’t make you ‘better’ than anyone else.

  7. And what is wrong with the rest of the army? Get off your fucking high horses, Marines and Marine fanboys. A few weeks longer in basic to get brainwashed doesn’t make you ‘better’ than anyone else.

  8. marines army is the same shit

  9. the fu<king army and marines are not the same shit….you’re probably saying that because you couldn’t hack the marines so the army was a last resort

  10. You ladies should take a minute / shut the Fu(% up, and think about what that devil dog would say to you if he could hear your mindless bullsh!t.

    Semper FIdelis

  11. Whooosh…..the sound of the point, mostly missed, flying right over your heads. I just read an article about the Marlboro Marine. I have a tremendous amount of respect for the individual he is and what he represents. Now, let’s bring them all home.

  12. The Marines and the army are not the same, thats why not everyone can be a Marine. The Few and the proud! First to fight and always faithful. Semper Fi.

  13. i feel so sorry for you!

  14. fuck you all the war is awesome and i wanna kill me some marines…fuck all of you i wanna suck some toes


  16. This war is about oil, accept the fact and move on.

  17. Marines, Army, Navy, Air Force, whatever. Technically we are all soldiers by definition, i.e. a soldier is a professional voulenteer as opposed to say a conscript or a serf who is impressed into service. That is the definition, there are however different classifications of that definition. They are quite simple or used to be; Army, land based combat operations, Navy, sea based combat operations, Air Force, air based combat operations, Marines, land based combat operations from sea paltforms. Granted these divides have been skewered over the decades, i.e. the Navy technically has more aircraft than the Air Force, the Marines and Army also have their own pilots, and everybody has forces on the ground in Iraq and Afganistan, oh well. Essentially we are all the same, we do what we do because someone who makes more money than us tells us to do it. But this is all irrelevent and it doesn`t mean anything. It is a cool picture though, simple yet powerful and provokes the mind. Good on you Lance Cpl. Miller.

  18. It’s like the anonymous individual said… It doesn’t matter if you’re a marine or in the army. You all bleed and die so folks back home can fill her up. Nothing else! Think about that the next time you pull up into the gas station, and ask your self how much US blood had to be spilled for the gallons you put in.

  19. navy and air force dont bleed for shit. We have such a technological advantage over our enemies to the point where all these branches do is push buttons and bomb terrorists who have no possible way of retaliating. Navy seals certainly get into a lot of action but the average air force or navy servicemen only has to worry about losing their life in an occasional suicide bombing and not a firefight

  20. I like what “some guy who is actually in the military” said.I think we should respect what marines,army,etc are doing for the world and not arguing who is better and who is not.I RESPECT U GUYS FOR WHAT U ARE DOING.

  21. Gentlemen. I am an Army infantry captain for the 1st Infantry Division. I have been to Iraq and back twice. I served side by side with Marines and even Navy coremen. I’ve seen men die all around. Your branch doesn’t determine how tough you are, we all do our duty and we all are willing do die to preserve this country, its citizens, and they’re way of life. Any way you put it, we chose this, we chose to enlist. Don’t shed a tear for the man who gave his life for this country, because he is proud to do it.

  22. I think it’s sad that people are arguing so passionately about something so petty as to ‘who is better’. Fact of the matter is, whether the Marines are tougher than the Army or not (and I’m not saying they are or they aren’t) both forces put their lives on the line on a daily basis to defend our freedom and so all should be treated with the same absolute respect and honor. Who is tougher is irrelevent. Both are willing to die for us. Isn’t that enough?

  23. The army serves its purpose. The marine corps is an attack force and the army is an occupational force. And for the guy that said just a few weeks to brainwash doesnt matter. Its not brainwashing. Its simply eye opening. Basic training isnt shit. All that matters is the training following ITB.

  24. Going on runs saying “kill kill we will kill” call it whatyou like dsay ts brain ashing

  25. I read all the comments, and I want to make a general reply to them.

    You speak as if Iraq threatened your freedom … That word “freedom” has become so weighted when Americans use it. The armies of the nations of the world, and the US especially, go around killing who they please and screwing with people, and then call it “giving freedom” or “protecting freedom” or else use their other favorite word, “terrorism,” to justify their actions.

    As for the gasoline comments, don’t ask yourselves how much “blood” it costs to put gasoline in your tanks. As how much blood it costs to set up puppet gov’ts to control the oil instead of just accepting the fact that it’s not on your soil and that you have to buy it, or else exploit your own natural resources.

    About the voluntary soldiers as justification for the war, don’t mistake people who have volunteered for the military with people who want to go to war. And don’t kill yourselves of the “marine” vs “soldier” debate. Ask yourselves whether the soldiers are where they need be, and whether they are currently serving for freedom or greed at the hands of their superiors.

  26. BTW, I don’t mean to say that I’m American or that I’m not, but that “we” or “you” or “they” should be able to look upon our(your-,their-)selves and recognize our(your, their) own faults. Don’t dismiss my comments as the opinions of a biased foreigner.

  27. ur all nuts!

  28. I completely agree that arguing about who is better is completely pointless and infantile. My father is a retired Army Major, was a Ranger in the 101st Airborne for over twenty some years. I respect him, as well as ALL who serve and have served our country. I’m sorry but at the end of the day, Marines, Army, Airforce or Navy, they all bleed red, white and blue. Hooah! to all our servicemen out there.

  29. hell yeah nigga

  30. I am a Master-at-arms in the Navy who has fought and served side in Iraq with Marines, Army, Air Force and coalition forces. For all of you who have commented about this war being about oil, or politics or saying anything negative about the services I ask you what have you sacrificed? What price have you paid for the greater good? No one service is better than the other. Each service is designed and tailored with their own specific mission. Therefore they are all the best at what they do. I invite you civilian cynics to sit down with a member of the armed forces and ask him what his politics are. I guarantee you every one of them will tell you the same thing. That they wish there brothers can come home but they will go for you. That my friends is true patriotism, true sacrifice. None of us want to go but we do because we believe in something greater than ourselves. We believe in the American dream and we would bleed on the flag to keep it red. I say God bless everyone and their families in every service and God damn every one of you who stand on the streets and protests us.

  31. You are all wimps and rich aholes. You should go fight in iraq if you think it is so easy. What was the reason we are in there? I forgot. lol.
    quit smoking folks…it does no good.

  32. Well, the majority of these posts seem to be somewhat misguided and probably only put something on this space so that they feel like they are important. The ‘United States Sailor’ should probably re-evaluate his principles and ask himself whether he is truly satisfied with the post he put up. The American dream is bogus and comes at the cost of countless others through economic and political exploitation, backed by a trigger happy mentality that the American public endorse as cultural. The fact that people sign up has probably more to do with the fact that like many others, these young soldiers are brainwashed into believing that what their leaders decide for them is right, and that their serving their agenda will bring them glory, and others peace. Perhaps those who believe that should take a quick glimpse into the world that so many of us in the third world know as reality, and get up from their TV dinners and their daytime television. I am not saying I know the realities of active combat, but I know about politics and how it works. And I know that people who fight a war based not on necessity but on greed that is the American dream, are sorely mistaken if they believe they are bringing anything else but pain to the world. After all, it was America that put Hussein in power.

  33. […] titled The Form and the Concept), then continue with Naomi Klein’s analysis of a famous Iraq war photograph of the Marlboro Marine. Also read Approaches to Media Literacy, Chapter Four (Mythic Analysis). […]

  34. […] taken from a blog post on “The Marlboro Marine” on Panacea911. Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies, in the […]

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