LAS VEGAS, Nev. — Christopher Gallagher, 26, U.S. Marine Corps corporal, 3rd Battalion, 4th Marines, served in Iraq three times: In 2003 during the invasion; in 2004 at Haditha Dam; and in 2005 in Fallouja. This post contains an archive of letters he wrote home and photographs he saved. Included are his “final letters” — the messages Marines write for their families in case they don’t make it home alive.
Gallagher, a Las Vegas resident, wrote three final letters — to his parents, older sister Shannon and younger brother Matt. He survived the war, so these letters were never sent. They offer insight into his state of mind before deployment.
Apr. 2, 2003: “I am writing this letter from a fighting hole, behind my machine gun. I am fine for now. How is everyone back home? The first couple of days the Iraqi soldiers were surrendering by the hundreds. I have heard reports of American POW’s being murdered. What have you heard? The first hundred hours of this war I was awake. It is hard finding time to sleep out here.”
A postcard bearing the image of the Apr. 11, 2003 front page of the military newspaper Stars and Stripes. The headline “Baghdad falls to U.S. forces” ran large down the right-hand side, set against a photograph — an iconic image — showing the statue of Saddam Hussein being pulled down.
A letter from Gallagher to his brother Matt.
Memories of Iraq.
Gallagher, back row, far right.
Information gathered in 2008.