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Popaditch: From Fighting in Fallujah to Freedom in Iraq...

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Popaditch was medically retired from the Marines in 2005 at the rank of Gunnery Sergeant. He lost an eye in the battle at Fallujah and told viewers Iraq is better prepared to self govern than many would think. That accomplishment, he says, was no easy feat. "To build a democracy in that part of the world is not an overnight process, a lot of hard work got us to where we are today."

"The Iraqi people are very proud of who they are. So, when it comes time to stand up for this democracy, they're not going to roll over for anybody. They're strong, we've trained them right, they appreciate this democracy, and they're going to fight to maintain it."

Popaditch continued with the reminder that the U.S. Military and its allies will be long remembered for their dedication to freedom. "These are going to be the patriots of the Iraqi history books someday. Our men and women stood beside them for seven-and-a-half years to get us to where we are today. What a great day."

Popaditch was awarded the Silver Star for gallantry for his actions on April 6 and 7, 2004, while commanding a tank in Fallujah, and was also awarded the Purple Heart.

Popaditch is the author of the book "Once A Marine," and is the Republican candidate for congress, challenging Democratic incumbent Bob Filner in the 51st Congressional District of California. Polls say Popaditch has a shot at unseating Filner, who sits at the helm of the House Veterans' Affairs Committee.

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