Gold Award Winner in the Military Writers Society of America's
2009 Marine Corps Category
In 2006, 1st Lt. Wesley Gray was deployed as a U.S. Marine Corps military adviser to an Iraqi Army battalion in the Haditha Triad. For 210 days, he lived and fought beside Iraqi soldiers in the most dangerous and austere province of western Iraq. Al-Anbar was filled with an insurgent population traumatized by a recent massacre of twenty-four men, women, and children shot at close range by U.S. Marines in retaliation for the death of one of their comrades in a roadside bombing. Despite the high tensions created by the shootings, Gray was able to form a bond with the Iraqis because he had an edge that very few U.S. service members possess—the ability to communicate in Iraqi Arabic. His language skills and his understanding of the culture led the Iraqi soldiers to call him a brother and fondly name him "Jamal." By the end of his tour he was a legend within the Iraqi Army.
Gray draws on the brutally honest and detailed record he kept during his tour, including extensive interviews with Iraqi soldiers and citizens. He offers a comprehensive portrait of the struggles of the Iraqi people to make their country a nation once again and includes a compelling report on the status and prospects of the U.S. government's strategy for success in Iraq.
Wesley Gray served as an active-duty U.S. Marine officer for four years, interrupting his studies at the University of Chicago's Booth School of Business, where he is working on his PhD. In addition to his deployment in Iraq, he developed and taught a culture and language-training program for the embedded Marine adviser program in Afghanistan and served in various intelligence positions in Asia.
Praise for EMBEDDED
"In this illuminating memoir, Marine Corps 2nd Lt. Gray recounts his eight-month tour as part of a Military Transition Team, working as an advisor to the Iraqi Army on location. Gray was fluent in Arabic prior to deployment, giving him enormous insight into the culture and worldview of Iraqis as citizens and soldiers and obvious advantages over colleagues (and competing memoirists) relying on translators On many occasions, Gray encounters an Insh' Allah philosophy, a mantra of 'If God wills it' or 'God willing' can strike Americans as lazy or unmotivated. Among other startling lessons, Gray discovered that loyalty to tribe supersedes duty to the state; the Iraqi Army soldiers he was training were spending their monthly leave in the ranks of local tribal militias. Gray details the cultural nuances and interpersonal relationships of occupied Iraq with such care and clarity, it's a must-read for anyone interested in the reconstruction, especially those set to deploy." —Publisher's Weekly
"Embedded presents a tale not often told among the growing collection of memoirs by former company grade officers who served in Iraq and Afghanistan. Marine Capt. Wesley Gray served as an embedded combat adviser with an Iraqi battalion in Haditha, Iraq, during 2006. Gray deserves great credit for shining the spotlight the critical effort to develop competent Iraqi security forces. For those who have never had the pleasure of closely working as an embed, Gray's narrative reveals the herculean challenges that most combat advisers face. Although limited in scope to his location and time in Iraq, the situations he encounters are common to most advisers in Iraq. Gray's account of his learning curve is the strongest aspect of the book." —Maj. Neil Smith in Small Wars Journal
"A superb account of the Iraq War from a truly unique perspective. Wes Gray gives us an insightful view from inside the Iraqi military as it prosecuted its missions in this complex and controversial conflict." —Gen. Anthony C. Zinni, USMC ( Ret.)
"This is an insightful work about the most important part of the war in Iraq. If we are ever going to get out of there, it will be because we listen to people like Wesley Gray." —Thomas E. Ricks, author of Fiasco: The Amwerican Military Adventure in Iraq
"Wes Gray has captured at the hard street level the essence of the strategic blunder that the Bush administration made in Iraq—the destruction of the Iraqi Army." —Dr. Roby C. Barrett, Middle East Institute
"Wes Gray's Embedded is a raw yet thoughtful account of his profoundly interesting experience, told from an honest and intelligent perspective. This is a book for anyone who wants to see Operation Iraqi Freedom from the point of view of our "main effort," the Military Training Teams, a perspective we have lacked for too long." — Gabriel Ledeen, The National Review