As a former service Marine during the late seventies, Koopman had an excellent background to understand the story as it unfolded around him. Part battle history, part biography, part memoir, McCoy's Marines makes for exciting and moving reading. Book jacket. The war was over and Koopman returned home. Shortly afterwards McCoy's Marines did too, and Koopman was there to record the return of Three-Four Marines to Twentynine Palms, California, their Mojave Desert home base. However, this was not the end of the saga of McCoy's Marines and the newspaperman they called Paperboy. A year later the battalion returned to Iraq to new challenges of the occupation, and Koopman returned also to chronicle the lives of his Marines for the people back home. From the initial surge across the border on the 20th of March to the fall of Baghdad, 3rd Battalion, 4th Marines, or more informally Three-Four Marines, was in the thick it, often leading the way. In fact, Three-Four was one of the first American combat units to enter Baghdad. When electrifying pictures of jubilant Iraqis pulling down Saddam Hussein's statue in Firdous Square were broadcast around the world, McCoy's Marines were pulling along with them. occasion was under fire himself. San Francisco Chronicle reporter John Koopman was embedded with McCoy's Marines during Operation Iraqi Freedom. From this vantage point he was able to observe one of the hardest charging outfits of Gulf War II. Koopman initially rode with Lt. Col. Bryan McCoy (callsign Darkside) in the battalion commander's Humvee. Later he switched over to ride with Sergeant Major Dave Howell, the battalion's senior enlisted man. The battalion saw plenty of action and Koopman had a ringside seat and on On March 20, 2003, at 5:34 a.m. as the city was beginning to stir, Baghdad was rocked by a tremendous aerial strike led by F-117 Nighthawks and including dozens of cruise missiles. The waiting was over; the invasion of Iraq had begun. By late afternoon elements of the 1st Marine Division were advancing on Basra. Among them was the 3rd Battalion, 4th Marine Regiment: McCoy's Marines.