Marine Corps investigating questionable decade-old photos from Fallujah

TMZ posted a warning on eight photos posted on the entertainment website this morning. The photos appear to show Marines burning Iraqi corpses. (Associated Press)

TMZ posted a warning on eight photos posted on the entertainment website this morning. The photos appear to show Marines burning Iraqi corpses. (Associated Press)

The Marine Corps is looking into several photographs posted on an entertainment gossip website on Wednesday that appear to show Marines burning Iraqi corpses.

TMZ posted eight of 41 photos they were told were taken in Fallujah in 2004. They show what appear to be Marines pouring fluid onto corpses and burning them. One photo shows a Marine appearing to go through a corpse’s pockets and another posing next to a skull on the ground.

The remaining 33 photos were too gruesome to  post, TMZ reported.

Marine Corps Times obtained copies of the published photos from TMZ. Our staff reviewed the photos and opted against posting them until further clarification on the nature of the Marines’ behavior has been determined.

Capt. Eric Flanagan, a Marine spokesman at the Pentagon, said they’re reviewing the accuracy and circumstances surrounding the photos. They’re also trying to identify the service members involved, he added.

The findings from this investigation will determine whether we are able to move forward with any investigation into possible wrongdoing,” Flanagan said. 

Posing with human remains to obtain “trophy photos” violates the Uniform Code of Military Justice. Several Marines scout snipers, including former Sgt. Joseph Chamblin, Sgt. Edward Deptola and former Cpl. Rob Richards, who were filmed urinating on Taliban corpses during a 2011 deployment to Afghanistan, faced charges in connection to inappropriate photographs with casualties in the war-zone.

In the case of the burning corpses though, Col. Steve Warren, a Defense Department spokesman, told Stars and Stripes that it’s not immediately clear whether that’s a UCMJ violation.

“On the burning, you know, it’s hard to tell [whether it’s a violation],” Warren told Stripes. “While we don’t routinely burn human remains, there are circumstances when that might be necessary for hygiene, health — things like that.”


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  1. I am sorry but you people are so stupid. You prepare these Marines for the most horrendous kinds of situations, and nothing prepares anyone for it really. These murderous Islamic people will kill you and cut your heads off just for not agreeing with them and because they have a pagan god telling them to murder little girls and rape 4 year olds as it is acceptable, then have the gaul to want justice from men subjected to such horror because most of those who have an issue with this could never do what we Marines do. Stop trying to be the moral police from your liberal position and your $400,000.00 home in your nice quiet neighborhood…….you are the problem. You send us to kill people and tells us they are evil, yet questions us for doing to them what they always do to us……….you are pathetic. Strap on your helmets and pick up a rifle before you start questioning what we go thru……

  2. Jack Beauregard on

    Hey Joseph says: Keep blaming everything on Bush. He hasn’t been in office for 5 years and he did it with the express approval of the libs in both houses of Congress, so don’t go around blaming Bush anymore, or at least grow up and place the blame where it squarely belongs.

  3. What I see are Marines burning dead bodies. I see bodies that look like they have been there for some time. I will wait for the out come of the investigation before I make any judgment’s against these Marines. The yahoo with the skull is in clear violation of the UCMJ. Going thru pockets is common looking for any Intel on the enemy. And I don’t give a rats hinny who sent us over there, its time we were brought home!

  4. Good idea to wait for an official report To blame anyone for something that isn’t confirmed is just spreading gossip. To use the word Islamic and Killers together infers all those that of the Islamic Faith are and that is not the case. These are KILLERS that happen to claim to be Islamic. True followers of a holy faith life are good people and don’t deserve those kinds of inferences. Peace and Love go a long way – it’s starts at home and it starts with each human being – making a change – choosing to make the better choices – and help through positive examples to pass that good light on to others. Peace !

  5. Please remember – we are all ONE – we are all the SAME – each of us is the same! WE are all Brothers and Sisters –

  6. I walked the streets of that city as the battle was winding down… it smelt of death. We saw bodies like these everywhere, even a part of one that had been buldozed up in a pile of rubble to clear the street. Some of the bodies had been there a couple of weeks. The dogs had been feeding on bodies, and then would come up to us with bloody muzzles. I would be surprised if it came out that there was any malice in this, if it was anything other than for hygiene and disease vector control. Wait for the official outcome.

  7. Hey Joseph: why don’t you tell us how many service members have been killed in Afghanistan since Obama’s “surge” of 2010??? Better yet just tell us how many have been killed in Helmand Province alone. Fucking moron.

  8. I took a peek at those photos and the bodies are so old. The Marines just speeded up the decomposition through burning it. If they took over that house for the night and needed to push forward later, the best method of ridding that stench is to burn it all away. Thats heck of a lot quicker, barely any work involved, and more sanitary then to have to dig a deep grave and bury them all.

  9. The Marine Corps trains men to be sociopathic killers and then wants to bring charges against them for exhibiting sociopathic behavior…. it war get over it.

  10. When will the media and the higher ups STOP the insanity of harrassing our warriors? No one can imagine what they went through, the absolute horror that they live with daily. I know it first hand. Please LEAVE THEM ALONE! These warriors were asked to do their job, they did it despite what they had to endure. They served honorably only to come home and now read in the news every other day that benefits they earned are being cut, or some new dumb investigation has started. I’m so upset I can barely type this. Please. My Marine is a warrior in every sense. He is brave and courageous. He took care of his Marines and despite being injured twice in combat, would do his job all over again to defend this great nation and our freedom. Why must all these people dig up the past and what anyone went through in war. Are you so cruel you cannot let these guys heal and try to deal with their daily lives. My Marine fought in the invasion and nonstop deployments after that to both Iraq and Afghanistan. He continues to serve today but the effects of war have started to show. Everytime one of these stories comes out and he catches wind of it I see the hurt in his eyes. How can they ever try to continue on with life and heal from their war wounds if this insanity is nonstop in the media. The fact that any one in the military higher ups even allows this garbage to take place..these so called investigations is a slap in the face to every single Marine that has served honorably. Sorry to sound harsh but if this story is true.. WHO CARES! No one seems to care what those monster people have done to our Marines, Sailors and Soliders. Why on EARTH do we give a damm about what happened to them. War is war and bad things happen. I can’t stand this anymore to watch him try to deal with the war, and then have to see stories like this. He never watches the news but it’s hard to avoid when everyone is talking about it. I feel so bad for him. It breaks my heart. I almost can’t wait till he retires so we can live in peace to some degree from this BS. Our Marines have given beyond what any human being can give in these wars and this is how we say thank you. Instead of letting them heal we INVESTIGATE them all. It’s disgusting! I can only imagine how the Marines in these so called pictures must feel. To have survived that horrible place and the things that war forces a man to do and then come home and be haunted by ghosts is terrible. If that is not enough, you can always count on the higher ups in DC to dig up more ghosts of the past to make you feel ever worse. They wonder why suicide is up? It’s hard to believe that any of the higher ups have an ounce of education because they sure act like a bunch of inconsiderate uneducated heartless souls! I’m deeply proud of My Marine and each and every one of them that has fought in these never ending wars and given so much for us. I will forever be indebted to them all. I know I can never repay them for all they have done for me and our country but I will never stop looking for ways to help them or do anything I can to make their lives better! For the Marines that will now be part of this next installment in HQMC WITCH HUNT. I’m so sorry you have to go through this. So sorry they are doing this to you. I’m praying for you all. SEMPER FI!

  11. PS: My family has already paid a high price. I’m the sister of a fallen Marine, and I’m also watching my Marine daily who has given so with the aftermath of war. This past fall we attended the Marine Corps ball and it was a very emotional one for us both. We attended it for my brother that was never going to attend another Marine Corps Ball. We attended it as our way to honor the Marine Corps traditions and all those that came before us. It pains me so deeply to see these stories when I know the cost of freedom more than anyone, and our family continues to pay a high price for it all. We’d do it again if we had too but things like this just slap us all in the face. LEAVE THESE MARINES ALONE! Let them be. Let them live their lives. Have we not destroyed enough warriors with all these stupid stories and investigations in the last few years? Honestly, it’s shameful!

  12. This is none of your Damn business. If you want to know what war is like and what they have to do then go enlist and go to war. Why don’t you investigate why Obama have Al queda Fallujah back. The city my brother helped free. War is war and stop trying to punish our troops for defending your rights.

  13. I love how simple-minded and petulant some of you are. You can’t blame Bush because he’s been out of office for 5 years. Yeah, but we’re talking about 2004 and Bush was President then. Bush, Cheney, and Rove just got their way with Congress. Just look at the makeup of Congress in 2002 when it authorized use of force. The Democrats who voted to authorize use of force were mostly Blue Dog Democrats, not Marxists as you would love to claim.

  14. Your timeline is correct. Your automatic assumption there was wrongdoing isn’t. Your blame Bush attitude would be correct if his successor had stopped or slowed one single policy of his, has he?

  15. Dear “Hey Joseph”,

    Your posts regarding this issue are dull, lack any thought, are only judgmental and seem callous towards the military. I do want to applaud you for using your right to free speech in this forum as the very people you ridicule are the ones who provide it daily for you, so it is good to see you are using it. However, you should take caution in your tone Sir as you call these great Americans “simple-minded” and “petulant”. As your posts are the ones that are clearly simple-minded. By reading these posts, it is obvious that they have gone out and done some research, then applied critical thinking regarding the subject and came to a conclusion, whereas you simply saw a picture and then felt the need to jump to conclusions. You seem to only care about blame and not take into account that you too bare blame for all of this, for ten plus years of war. See, as a freedom loving person, you are a part of the 99% of America, the part that gives nothing but receives everything. These Marines are a part of the 1%, the part that is prepared to and often does, give everything in exchange for nearly nothing. These Marines, Airmen, Soldiers, Sailors, etc. simply ask for your respect in exchange for a lifetime of freedom. Part of respecting someone is to give them your support and let facts be facts, which if necessary will be dealt with by a Court Martial or UCMJ preceding and NOT by you. Your prejudice against the military is really better served on some other forum, perhaps you should find one with other simple-minded people who care only what they think and are typical sheep and will believe what they are told through the media and lack any real life or real world experience of their own. Maybe if you were to post to a website that caters to people who lack the intestinal fortitude to raise their hand and commit to a life that demands the best; maybe you could post on that comment area how nice it is to do what it is you do, while looking down your nose at people who are grossly underpaid, overworked and say nothing about it other than to ask for more, as this is a life, not a “career” like the 99% have. So the next time you feel the need to disparage these OUTSTANDING Americans maybe you should move to Iran, Iraq, Somalia, North Korea or any of the other glorious locations that promote these same feelings you have, you might fit in better there than here on this site. Finally, while your pompousness and vanity clearly shine in your posts, don’t forget, politics and policy stop when you face the working end of an enemy assault rifle, nobody gives a crap about who said what or what policy they passed or any of that. So please feel free to regurgitate your narrow-minded and boring arguments, but do it somewhere else. Do us all a favor, at the end of each one of your aristocratic lemming-like posts, please put the following phrase: “This post is courtesy of the brave men and women in the Armed Forces who have ensured through their personal and their family’s sacrifices, that you and I can say and read whatever we want because we are free.”

  16. The bottom line is simply this, when a Marine looks in the mirror at the end of his tour or mission, he can be proud to see the warrior that was asked to give his life if need by for the freedoms of others…can all of you who have negative comments and feelings say the same? I doubt it very much. God Bless America and God Bless our Marine Corps.

  17. Fortunately, the Statute of Limitations on all crimes other than murder and rape is 5 years — the photos are too old to form the basis for a criminal prosecution!

  18. I am a former marine during Vietnam. But more importantly the son of a chosin marine who was buried in December with a 100% disability rating. We want our brothers to kill these vile representations of the human race. Kill them, bury them , burn them but don’t glorify these kills like you were hunting at home. Hate them while they are alive. But let them be when they are dead. You, in the end, will have to live with EVERYTHING you have done when you walk from that battlefield. You’re supposed to be better than them….Don’t dishonor your corps by giving into that which makes them evil …

  19. Marines should hold themselves and others to a higher standard. Marines are killers yes, but they should strive to be professional killers. Much like the star running back who scores the touchdown; Although you may feel a desire to celebrate and rub it in your opponent’s face, it is better to act likel you’ve been there before. Any normal person in those horrific circumstances may understand how someone could act this way in response, but Marines have been there, done that and should act professionally.

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