David Gurfein

David Gurfein is an American military veteran. He retired as a U.S. Marine Corps lieutenant colonel. Gurfein is currently the CEO of the American nonprofit organization United American Patriots (UAP).

David Gurfein
EducationSyracuse University (BA)
Harvard University (MBA)
Military career
Allegiance United States
Branch United States Marine Corps
RankUS-O5 insignia.svg Lieutenant Colonel

Early lifeEdit

Gurfein attended Great Neck South High School in Long Island, New York. He was the school's quarterback from 1980–1982. He proposed and led a successful campaign to change the school's mascot from a Confederate rebel to an American Revolutionary War rebel during the 1981–82 school year.[2]

Military careerEdit

Gurfein joined the U.S. Marines at the age of 17.[3] Through the Marines' Delayed Entry Program, he attended Syracuse University and graduated with a bachelor's degree in communications and political science.[4] After fighting in the Gulf War, he left active-duty in the military to get an MBA from Harvard University but he remained in the reserves. After the September 11 attacks, Gurfein was sent to Afghanistan, where he was awarded the Bronze Star. At the end of that tour of duty, he re-enlisted and was deployed to Kuwait. He was part of the I Marine Expeditionary Force, which led the assault into southern Iraq at the start of the Iraq War.[3]

On March 21, 2003, Major Gurfein was photographed pulling down a poster of Iraqi President Saddam Hussein in Safwan, Iraq.[5] The photo, which was taken by American war photographer Chris Hondros,[6] is considered one of the iconic images of the war.[5] Gurfein said the marines removed portraits of Saddam in Safwan because, "We wanted to send a message that Saddam is done... People are scared to show a lot of emotion. That's why we wanted to show them this time we're here, and Saddam is done."[1]

After 25 years of service, Gurfein retired from the military in 2007.[4]

Post-military careerEdit

In 2016, Gurfein ran as the Republican candidate for New York's 4th congressional district against Democratic incumbent Kathleen Rice.[4] Rice won the election 59.6–40.4%.[7]

Gurfein is currently the CEO of the American nonprofit organization United American Patriots (UAP).[8]


  1. ^ a b "U.S. Marines Tear Down Saddam Portraits". AP. March 20, 2003.
  2. ^ "Long Island High School Alumni Recall Connection to the Confederate Flag". The New York Times. June 26, 2015.
  3. ^ a b "L.I. Mother: My Son, The Hero". New York Post. March 24, 2003.
  4. ^ a b c "Voters' Guide: David Gurfein". Newsday. Retrieved November 26, 2019.
  5. ^ a b "Fifteen Iconic Images From The War in Iraq". The Daily Beast. March 20, 2018.
  6. ^ "A New Documentary Honors the Work and Life of Photojournalist Chris Hondros". The Atlantic. March 6, 2018.
  7. ^ "New York U.S. House 4th District Results: Kathleen Rice Wins". The New York Times. August 1, 2017.
  8. ^ "Nonprofit pushes new appeal for Army lieutenant convicted of war crimes murders". Army Times. 27 December 2018.