About Bing West
Bing West has written eight books on national security. A graduate of Georgetown and Princeton Universities, in Vietnam he was a member of the Marine Force Reconnaissance team that initiated Operation Stingray – small unit attacks behind enemy lines in the jungles. He also saw action with the Combined Action Platoons in the villages. While serving as Assistant Secretary of Defense under President Reagan, he chaired the United States Security Commissions with El Salvador, Morocco, Tunisia, Egypt, Jordan, Oman, Pakistan, South Korea and Japan.
His books include The Village, a narrative of 485 days of combat in Vietnam that has been on the Marine Commandant’s Reading List for 40 years; The Strongest Tribe, a history of the Iraq war that was a New York Times Bestseller; and The Wrong War, a history of the Afghanistan war. He is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and the Infantry Order of St. Crispin He is the recipient of Marine Corps Heritage Award, the Colby Military History Award, the General Goodpaster Prize for Military Scholarship, the Free Press Award, the Marine Corps Russell Award for Leadership and the Veterans of Foreign Wars National Media Award. His articles appear in The Wall St. Journal, The New York Times, The Atlantic, The National Review and The Washington Post.
He is co-authoring a book with Medal of Honor recipient Marine Corporal Dakota Meyer. Due out in June of 2012, it is entitled Into the Fire: A First-Hand Account of the Most Extraordinary Battle in the Afghanistan War.
About Owen West
Owen attended Harvard University on an ROTC scholarship and rowed for the nationally ranked varsity heavyweight crew team. He served for six years in the Marine Corps and led an infantry platoon, an infantry company, and a reconnaissance platoon before departing as a captain to attend Stanford Business School. Upon graduation, he joined Goldman, Sachs as an energy trader, and is presently a Managing Director and co-head of the firm’s veterans’ network.
Owen has taken three leaves-of-absence in his 14 years with Goldman. In 2001, he attempted the North Face of Mount Everest, turning back above 28,000 feet. In 2003, he took a leave of absence and joined 1st Force Reconnaissance Company for Operation Iraqi Freedom. In 2004, he visited the Marines outside Fallujah as a reporter. In 2006-2007, he led a small U.S. advisor team to an Iraqi infantry company on an outpost in Anbar Province.
Owen is an endurance athlete who has completed Ironman Triathlons, week-long adventure races, and 100-mile ultra-marathons. He has represented the United States six times in the Eco Challenge, a 350-mile expedition labeled “the world’s toughest race,” and has finished as high as 2nd, most recently navigating three Playboy Playmates to the finish line in Borneo.
His writings have appeared in The New York Times, Playboy, The Marine Corps Gazette, Proceedings, Slate, the Wall Street Journal, Men’s Journal, Popular Mechanics, and Topic. His first novel, SHARKMAN SIX, won the Boyd literary award for best military novel of 2001. His second novel, FOUR DAYS TO VERACRUZ, was published in 2003. In 2005, he won the Marine Corps Leadership Essay contest.
Owen is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations. He serves as a director of the Marine Corps Scholarship Foundation.