In his November 19, 2005 presidential address, President George W. Bush summarized U.S. military policy as, "Our situation can be summed up this way: as the Iraqis stand up, we will stand down." EMBEDDED offers a firsthand account by a young Marine military advisor serving on the frontlines with the Iraqi Army of the effectiveness of America's efforts to help the Iraqis stand on their own.
In 2006, 1st. Lt. Gray was deployed as a Marine Corps military advisor to live and fight with an Iraqi Army battalion for two hundred and ten days in the Haditha Triad, a small population center in the dangerous and austere al-Anbar Province of western Iraq.What he encountered was an insurgent fire pit recently traumatized by the infamous"Haditha Massacre," in which 24 Iraqi civilians - men, women and children - were shot at close range by U.S. Marines in retaliation for the death of a Marine lance corporal in a roadside bombing. Despite the tensions triggered by the shootings, Gray was able to form a bond with the Iraqi soldiers because he had an edge that very few U.S. service members possess 3/4 the ability to communicate because of his proficiency in Iraqi Arabic. His language skills and deep understanding of Iraqi culture were quickly recognized by the Iraqi soldiers who considered him an Arab brother and fondly named him "Jamal." By the end of his advisor tour, he was a legend within the Iraqi Army. During his time in Iraq, Wes kept a detailed record of his observations, experiences, and interviews with Iraqi citizens and soldiers in vivid and brutally honest detail. Ranging from tension filled skirmishes against the insurgents to insights into the dichotomy between American and Iraqi cultures, he offers a comprehensive portrait of Iraq and the struggles of its people and soldiers to stand up and make their country a nation once again. His book is a Marine intelligence officer's compelling report about the status and prospects of America's strategy for success in Iraq.
After a four-year stint as an active-duty U.S. Marine officer, assigned to the Iraqi Army, Wes Gray returned to the University of Chicago's Graduate School of Business to finish his Ph.D. dissertation. He also serves as a portfolio manager and managing member of Empirical Finance, LLC. He currently lives in Chicago.