Chance Phelps grew up the son of Vietnam US Navy veteran John Phelps, and on September 11, 2001, Chance knew he was going to become a United States Marine. Chance, then 19, and his fellow Marines shipped off to Iraq.
On April 9, 2004, outside the city of Ar Ramadi, Iraq, Chance and his convoy fell under attack. Despite being wounded in the firefight, he refused to be medevac’d and continued to fight until he was fatally wounded. He was escorted home by LtCol Michael Strobl, whose accounts of the escort were recorded in an article he wrote entitled “Taking Chance,” which was later adapted into the iconic film of the same name produced by HBO. After his funeral, Chance was posthumously promoted to Lance Corporal.
Chance’s legacy lives on today not only through the HBO film, but also through the twin “No Man Left Behind” monuments at Camp Pendleton and Camp Lejeune – statues that his father John created in honor of Chance’s heroic actions and life.