At the time, CBS didn't even know his name. But he became an instant symbol of the brave American servicemen who risk their lives every day in Iraq and Afghanistan.
"To us, it was a photograph we had to share," reports CBS' Dan Rather. "A U.S. Marine on the front lines of Fallujah."
"I was just sitting on a roof top on my down time, just talking with my staff sergeant. We were having a cigarette. Taking a break from war," the Marine said.
For his mother it was everything.
"Time stood still. I couldn't breathe," said Maxie Webber.
And underneath the dirt, the blood and the exhaustion - a mother recognized her son.
"I was just waiting for a sign, and that was just the greatest sign I could ever have, to know he was OK and that was my son," she said.
Now we know the name behind the face: Lance Corporal James Blake Miller, of the First Division, Eighth regiment of Charlie Company, First Squad, First Platoon.
"Couldn't ask for no better Marines to the left and right of me, to be watching my back along with me while I'm watching theirs," Miller said.
Known as Blake, he joined the military right after high school graduation in Kentucky. He misses his two younger brothers, hunting and homemade peanut butter pie. Only 20 years old, he's already a combat veteran.
"Shots flying overhead, numerous times, quite a few close calls. Pinging off rails, poles on top of roofs. At certain points to the extent where Marines could not raise his head up. I mean -- it's war, sir," he said.
His mother's got two messages for him: First, quit smoking.
"And I just want him to know that we love him, we miss him, we're so proud. Just stay safe and come home," she said.
And he's got a message for his family:
"I'd just like to tell everybody that I love you all and I can't wait to make my way home."