Ramadi is the capital of Al Anbar province in Iraq. In 2006 it was the location for some of the bitterest fighting in Operation Iraqi Freedom as insurgents and Coalition Forces fought for control of the strategically important city. Into the middle of this cauldron of devastating urban warfare was thrust Echo Company, 2nd Battalion, 4th Marines led by then-Captain Scott A. Huesing.
Though well trained and leavened with a cadre of Iraq war veterans, the Echo Company Marines were still shocked by the ferocity of violence that greeted them during the height of the insurgency, something that never let up during the unit’s deployment.
Echo in Ramadi joins other books on the subject as an excellent account of the Battle of Ramadi. What sets it apart, and gives it a particularly gripping veracity, is that it’s a story of the unit told from the point of view of its commander. Huesing spares no detail, nor himself, in the telling of Echo Company’s effort to wrest neighborhoods from insurgent control. The result is a war with no quarter asked or given—one where, as he graphically details, rules of engagement are callously manipulated by the insurgents and turned into weapons against Coalition Forces.
Huesing’s narrative covers the gamut of Echo Company’s experience, from the bonding that began with training to the fellowship that grew stronger when the Marines went into battle. Huesing reveals the complexity of company command, from basic leadership to the stress of chaos of urban combat. The many interlocking layers of command responsibility are vividly recounted, no more so than when Huesing makes a satellite phone call from his command post to comfort the mother of a Marine under his command who had been wounded.
Huesing pulls no punches in revealing the physical and emotional cost of their deployment. The tally of the butcher’s bill paid by Echo Company did not end when they left Iraq, but continued after they returned to the States and later, after discharge. Along with the physical wounds were the psychological scars of post-traumatic stress that contributed to the suicides of some men from the company and to Huesing’s own brush with death in a single-vehicle automobile crash.
Echo in Ramadi is one of most powerful accounts of the Iraq war. Its page-turning narrative reveals the stark, gut-wrenching triumph and tragedy that is the human cost of war.
Review by Dwight Jon Zimmerman (May 2019)
"In war, destruction is everywhere. It eats everything around you. Sometimes it eats at you." —Major Scott Huesing, Echo Company Commander From the winter of 2006 through the spring of 2007, two-hundred-fifty Marines from Echo Company, Second Battalion, Fourth Marine Regiment fought daily in the dangerous, dense city streets of Ramadi, Iraq during the Multi-National Forces Surge ordered by President George W. Bush. The Marines' mission: to kill or capture anti-Iraqi forces. Their experience: like being in Hell. Now Major Scott A. Huesing, the commander who led Echo Company through Ramadi, takes readers back to the streets of Ramadi in a visceral, gripping portrayal of modern urban combat. Bound together by brotherhood, honor, and the horror they faced, Echo's Marines battled day-to-day on the frontline of a totally different kind of war, without rules, built on chaos. In Echo in Ramadi, Huesing brings these resilient, resolute young men to life and shows how the savagery of urban combat left indelible scars on their bodies, psyches, and souls. Like war classics, We Were Soldiers, The Yellow Birds, and Generation Kill, Echo in Ramadi is an unforgettable capsule of one company's experience of war that will leave readers stunned. About the Author Scott A. Huesing is a retired USMC Infantry Major with over 24 years of service, both enlisted and as a commissioned officer. His career spanned 10 deployments and he conducted operations in over 60 countries worldwide. During his deployments to Iraq, Afghanistan, and the Horn of Africa he planned, led, and conducted hundreds of combat missions under some of the most austere and challenging conditions. He had the privilege to command Echo Company, 2nd Battalion, 4th Marines as part of the 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU), Special Operations Capable (SOC) while attached to 1-9 Infantry Battalion ("Manchu"), 1st Brigade Combat Team (1 BCT "Ready First"), United States Army (USA) as part of the Surge Strategy in Al Anbar Province, Iraq.
ISBN/ASIN: ISBN-10: 1621577341, ISBN-13: 978-1621577348
Book Format(s): Hard cover, Kindle, Audiobook
Review Genre: Nonfiction—History
Number of Pages: 256