TODAY   |  March 25, 2013

Marines reunite 10 years after bloody Iraq battle

Veterans of the 2003 invasion of Iraq who fought in the Battle of Nasiriyah, when 18 Marines were killed in what became known as Ambush Alley, reunited for the first time in a decade, talking about the battle that bonded them forever. NBC’s Kerry Sanders reports.

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>>> ten years ago today u.s. marines were engaged in the first serious battle of the iraq war . nbc's kerry sanders was embedded with them at the story and has the story of their emotional reunion.

>> good morning as marines will tell you there's no such thing as an ex-marine. while those who fought the battle are now civilians they shared a bond forged at the battle of naz rhea. 18 marines were killed in what became known as ambush alley. they're together again, a decade later, marines who fought in the battle of nazahiya, some a little heavier, some starting to gray, say in many ways the battle and the war defined them. they were young. like 25-year-old carlos rodriguez . i was at his side in the sand as we pushed forward.

>> it's like a movie that you actually lived it.

>> reporter: he's now 30 and a prison guard . what did you think about the fact there was a live television camera there with you?

>> we knew that we was making history .

>> reporter: why so many like devlin rib i don't knowson still carry pictures on their phones. lance corporal jose torres was hit behind from a sniper.

>> got medevaced flat lining three times and spent four and a half weeks in a coma and they told me i would never walk again.

>> reporter: here you are walking at the reunion. how does it feel?

>> amazing.

>> reporter: this was the first war with embedded reporters who shared their phones with the wounded.

>> i'm okay.

>> reporter: also jamie used his phone to call his mom.

>> i said i wanted to let my mom know i was alive.

>> reporter: many did die. at arlington national secretary hugs and tears. for the first time marines who fought together grieved with the parents of their marine brothers who did not come home. we can rest in peace as we are the chosen ones

>> that trace adkins song was written for patrick "pat" nixon who died. that battle is in the history books and required for every marine officer who goes forward.

>> you were there, kerry sanders thanks for bringing the story of their reunion. appreciate it.