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The Sheriff of Ramadi is first book written about the courage and success of the Navy SEALs in Ramadi. The Battle of Ramadi was the most sustained and vicious engagement fought by Navy SEALs since their inception in 1962. Never has a conventional commander fought a battle using Special Operations Forces as an intricate part of his battle plan. The operational and intelligence-gathering capabilities of a SEAL Task Unit produced startling and unprecedented success on the battlefield and in this urban battlespace. The book is an account of the Navy SEAL Task Unit in Ramadi from October 2005 through October 2007. The text follows the Battle of Ramadi (often called the Second Battle of Ramadi) and the deployment of the SEAL Task Unit in that battle. The book is based on extensive interviews with Army, Navy, and Marine command and operational personnel who fought in this battle, and the author personally spent time in Ramadi in 2007 for a first hand assessment of the situation. Couch considers the Battle of Ramadi to be the most significant military engagement in the Global War Against Terrorism since 9/11. The Battle of Ramadi and the Battle for al-Anbar Province was the first battle where SOF/Navy SEALs and conventional forces fought side by side to achieve victory. The Battle of Ramadi and the lessons learned provides a template for future joint combined Special Operations Forces and Conventional Forces cooperation in the new battles pace in the war against al-Qaeda and their allies. The lethal component SEALs can bring to an active, insurgent battle space. The Battle of Ramadi was fought with 5,500 soldiers and marines, 2,300 soldiers from the new Iraqi army, and 32 operational SEALS. Of the 1,100+ insurgents killed in the Battle, Navy SEALs accounted for a third of them.
Dick Couch is a graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy and served with the Navy Underwater Demolition and SEAL Teams in Vietnam. He is the author of twelve other books, including The Warrior Elite, Chosen Soldier and SEAL Team One. A resident of Ketchum, ID he is a frequent guest on radio and TV talk shows. He has lectured the Air Force Academy, the Naval Special Warfare Center, the JFK Special Forces Center and School, the FBI Academy, the Naval Postgraduate School, The Joint Special Operations University and The Academy Leadership Forum. Recently he served as adjunct professor of Ethics at the U.S. Naval Academy.
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Events and Conferences
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Dick Couch achieves several things with Sheriff of Ramadi. He gives the lay person in the form of an enjoyable read, insight into the complexities of conducting counterinsurgency operations in a profoundly different and diverse culture, and describes how well the SEAL teams adaptet to a totally different mission,integrating with other forces, both coalition and Iraqi. He also provides a detailed analysis and chronology of those forces' growth and amazing accomplishments, both military and humanitarian. Sheriff of Ramadi should be required reading for politicians and "talking heads" whose sound bites provide so little and often distorted information compared to this erudite account of such a positive period in our Iraq experience.
SOF/ GPF integration at its best!
Tuesday, May 26, 2009
By: LT Robert Ramirez
Driven from strongholds in Fallujah, Al Qaim and Haditha; in 2006 Al Qaeda in Iraq (AQI) and Iraqi insurgents had reconstituted in the Anbari capital of Ramadi, ceasing power from the tribal sheiks, holding the population hostage through murder and intimidation and AQI?s strict interpretation of Sharia Law and setting the stage for the Battle of Ramadi, the tipping point in al-Anbar. In this insightful book, former Navy SEAL Dick Couch gives a credible and historical narrative of the pitched battle for Ramadi through first hand accounts from Naval Special Warfare Task Unit operators and their Army Brothers, who together fought, sweat and bled for the relative peace and rule of law that now presides in al-Anbar, Iraq.
Couch opens with ?Frogman History 101? and explains how the role of the Navy SEAL has evolved since their predecessor?s, the Underwater Demolition Teams, cleared obstacles for major amphibious assaults in both the Pacific and European theatres in World War II. Fast forward to 2006, Couch is in the middle of the desert, far from the traditional operational environment of the Navy SEAL, interviewing the SEAL Squadron Three, Task Unit Ramadi Commander (CDR) who revealed that there was a battle brewing when he arrived and his SEALS were going to fight. This SEAL Task Unit CDR simply approached Colonel Sean MacFarland ?the Sheriff of Ramadi? and asked, ?How can we help?? The real story in the Sheriff of Ramadi is how Special Operations and Conventional units put differences aside and cooperated and enhanced each other?s capabilities to defeat AQI and win over the tribes and ultimately the population in Ramadi.
At the heart of this book is a question that the Special Operation Forces (SOF) Community is grappling with currently: What role does SOF play in a counter insurgency? --- Supporting or supported. Couch begins the book with the premise that Anbar was a losing fight but admits that in writing The Sheriff of Ramadi, he learned that the fight was being won from the bottom up. As for the SEALS, in Ramadi their adaptability, aggressiveness and tactical proficiency allowed them to meet and destroy the enemy in the seams of the battlefield, between contested battle spaces where the enemy had taken advantage of holes in the conventional army?s coverage. In this case, SOF?s role was to support the conventional COIN strategy. Ultimately Couch doesn?t address the question at large and it will remain a contested subject, at least in the SOF community.
In all, The Sheriff of Ramadi was an insightful look at how Ramadi was won and how US SOF supported conventional forces to help win the peace in al-Anbar province. This book is recommended to all SOF personnel, Marine Battalion Leadership and Army Brigade Combat Team leadership who anticipate working with each other in the Sand Box. The lessons learned in Ramadi should not be ignored and never be forgotten.
Great case studies on counter-insurgency Ops
Thursday, April 16, 2009
By: Joel Rudy, Maj, USAF
Dick Couch expertly documents the contributions of the Navy SEALS during the Battle for Ramadi between 2006 and 2007 with some mention of the SEALs other operational contributions in western Iraq in 2005. The book offers fantastic primer case studies in Coalition operations; foreign internal defense operations; integrating command and control between special operating forces and conventional forces; and counter-insurgency operations.