Date of interview: 25 March 2019
LTC Coley D. Tyler is an Active Duty US Army Officer and former member of the Second Battalion, Seventh Cavalry Regiment (2-7 CAV). He was the Battalion Fire Support Officer during the Second Battle of Fallujah. LTC Tyler has served in many capacities during his service as an Artillery Officer in the First Cavalry Division, Physical Education Instructor at the United States Military Academy, Space Operations Officer in Korea, and Space Integration Officer to the Maneuver Center of Excellence at Fort Benning, GA. He is married with four children.
MWSA: How did you find out about MWSA?
Coley Tyler: Deeds Publishing as a primary publisher of military books recommended joining the organization for the benefits of a welcoming writing community, an honest review process, and help spreading the word about my book.
MWSA: What was your inspiration for your book Ghosts of Fallujah?
Coley Tyler: I was a participant in the Second Battle of Fallujah in Iraq 2004. I felt the historical significance of the battle, our unit (2nd Battalion, 7th US Cavalry), and connections with previous conflicts and leaders [World War II, Vietnam, and LTG (R) Hal Moore, etc.] was a story that deserved to be told. Writing Ghosts of Fallujah was also a cathartic process for me personally to help me deal with my time in Iraq and Afghanistan.
MWSA: How long did it take you to write Ghosts of Fallujah?
Coley Tyler: I started researching, outlining, and putting the Ghosts of Fallujah story together in 2009. It was finally published in 2018, so the process spanned almost a decade. The whole last year alone was for completing the Department of Defense review and approval process. Good things come to those who wait!
MWSA: What do you hope to accomplish with the publishing of Ghosts of Fallujah?
Coley Tyler: Very simply, to tell the story of some of the finest soldiers I have every served with and to encourage other combat veterans to share their story also. It is also a legacy piece for my family. Ghosts of Fallujah puts into words thoughts and feelings I have a hard time sharing verbally in hopes I may be better understood.
MWSA: What advice would you give others contemplating writing a book?
Coley Tyler: Go for it! Put your fears of rejection, someone not liking your work, or your ability to communicate in written form aside. I struggled with this kind of apprehension for many years, constantly trying to perfect what I had written. I finally took a leap of faith and only good things have come from doing so. It is not an easy process and it does take perseverance to the utmost, but nothing worth doing is easy.
MWSA: What has been the number one criticism Ghosts of Fallujah has received to date and what would you say about that?
Coley Tyler: The biggest criticism so far has been that there are details of the battle missing from my recount and this is true. Ghosts of Fallujah is my personal experience of the Second Battle of Fallujah, the intricate delicacies of destiny and fate in my life that brought me to that battlefield, and how it has impacted my life. I was not and could not be everywhere, but that was not my purpose for writing the book remember. I want others to fill in those holes with their personal experience. I think much more good will come from that for both the writer and the reader.