The military unit that toppled the statue of Saddam Hussein at Firdos Square was the Third Battalion Fourth Marines, based at Twentynine Palms, California and led by Lt. Col. Bryan McCoy (who is now a full colonel, based in Tampa with Central Command). During the invasion I was what the military called a “unilateral” journalist, driving unescorted into Iraq on the ?rst day of the invasion in an S.U.V. rented from Hertz in Kuwait. A few days into the war, I happened to meet Col. McCoy at a staging area in the Iraqi desert north of Nasiriya, and he agreed to let me and a number of other unilaterals follow his battalion to Baghdad. I have written two previous pieces about the battalion; the first, titled “Good Kills,” was published in the New York Times Magazine in 2003 and told of the battalion’s capture of a key bridge over the Diyala canal, a feat that unfortunately left a number of civilians dead. I also wrote a long piece for Outside magazine about my strange journey through the invasion; it was titled “The Race to Baghdad.” For “Good Kills,” click here. For “The Race to Baghdad,” click here.