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Chance Russell Phelps was a Private First Class — posthumously promoted to Lance Corporal — in the United States Marine Corps. He served with 2nd Platoon, Battery L, 3rd Battalion, 11th Marine Regiment(3/11), 1st Marine Division, I Marine Expeditionary Force, during Operation Iraqi Freedom.
Phelps was killed in Iraq as the convoy he was escorting came under heavy fire. His story is the subject of the movie Taking Chance, which will be screened at the Forged From Honor Artifact Dedication Event on March 24th.
Phelps was born in Riverton, Wyoming, and moved to Colorado, where he graduated from Palisade High School in 2003. He was motivated to join the Marines by the events of September 11, 2001. After attending recruit training at MCRD San Diego, he attended artillery school at Fort Sill, Oklahoma. He was finally assigned to 3/11, with which he deployed in February 2004.
On April 9, 2004 outside Ar Ramadi, Iraq, Phelps' unit was conducting convoy escort when they came under heavy small arms fire, including rocket-propelled grenades. Despite being wounded, he refused to be evacuated, and instead manned his M240 machine gun to cover the evacuation of the rest of his convoy. Upon withdrawal, was killed.
Phelps was buried in Dubois, Wyoming on April 17, 2004. His remains were escorted home by Lieutenant Colonel Michael Strobl, whose accounts of the escort were recorded in an article he wrote entitled "Taking Chance". Phelps was officially awarded a posthumous promotion to Lance Corporal.
Phelps' family has donated his metal Lance Corporal insignia, Enlisted Dress Insignia, and his Rife Expert Marksmanship badge for inclusion in the metal used to cast The Honor Bell.