Gunnery Sergeant Nick Popaditch
United States Marine Corps
"The Cigar Marine"



The picture above left came into worldwide prominence when 1st Tank Battalion successfully entered downtown Baghdad and yanked down the famous statue of Saddam Hussein. This picture captured the success of a nation and symbolized the military victory. Here is what the caption said at the time:

09-April-2003 Staff Sgt. Nick Popadich, of Indianapolis, Ind., with the 3rd Battalion, 4th Marine Regiment, enjoys a cigar atop his tank as he arrives at a crossroad in downtown Baghdad.

If this was the end of the story, it would be heart-warming enough but it's just the beginning. As what often happens in war, noteriety does not guarantee safety and the fight continuted. Unfortuately, the Gunny was wounded in an attack. He luckily survived and was able to come home but true to the Marine Corps spirit, he wanted to go back with HIS Marines. Here is the rest of the story.

But I'm still not finished. When researching this story, I found some other things that made me laugh, sigh, and yes, weep.

The 4-Part Story:

Part 1: Marine's Celebration Cigar Had Dual Meaning

Part 2: 'We regret to inform you'

Part 3: Coming Home To Uncertainty

Part 4: Wounded War Vet Starts Life Anew

For more pictures, look here.
Here is Corporal Chambers' account
Read this great story of how the Gunny was invited to Las Vegas to see a championship prize fight and became the star of the evening.
Ms. Popaditch, the Gunny's wife, thanks everyone for their strong support and well wishes.
The country sounds off in reaction to the Gunny's story.
This was the posting of how the good people on the Freedom Republic Message Board came to know of Gunny Popaditch.
A letter to the Gunny from a fellow Tanker

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