Fallujah Awakens: Marines, Sheiks, and the Battle Against al Qaeda

Naval Institute Press
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The cradle of an insurgency that plunged Iraq into years of chaos and bloodshed, Fallujah conjures up images of the brutal house-to-house fighting that occurred during the 2004 U.S. invasion of the iconic city. But attacks in the area actually peaked two years later, when American and Iraqi government forces struggled with a reinvigorated insurgency and the prospect of premature withdrawal by U.S. forces. Fallujah Awakens tells the story of the remarkable turnaround that followed. Journalist Bill Ardolino explains how local tribal leaders and U.S. Marines forged a surprising alliance that helped secure the famous battleground. It is one of the few books to recount events from both American and Iraqi perspectives.

Based on more than120 interviews with Iraqis and U.S. Marines, Ardolino describes how a company of reservists, led by a hospital equipment salesman from Michigan, succeeded where previous efforts had stalled. Circumstance combined with smart, charismatic leadership enabled Americans to build relationships with members of a Sunni tribe—once written off as dangerous and intractable— who pushed al Qaeda and other insurgents from their notoriously rebellious area.

Accidental killings, intertribal rivalries, insurgents, and intrigue all conspired to undue the tenuous alliance forged between the Americans and tribesmen on Fallujah’s Peninsula. But the partnership was cemented after a Marine commander’s risky decision to welcome nearly 100 injured civilians onto a secure American facility after a ruthless chemical attack by al Qaeda.

The book’s gripping storyline will appeal to readers of historical nonfiction. Its exhaustive documentation will prove valuable to military students, analysts, and historians and will help policy makers better understand what is possible in counterinsurgency. Photographs and maps further enhance the reader’s understanding of everything from tribal dynamics to the geography of firefights.
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About the author

Bill Ardolino is an Associate Editor/Overseas Correspondent for The Long War Journal. His reporting includes embeds with the US Marine Corps, the US Army, the Iraqi Army, and the Iraqi Police in Fallujah, Habbaniyah, and Baghdad in 2006, 2007, and 2008. He traveled to Afghanistan in 2010 to embed with the Marine Corps, the Afghan Police, and the Afghan Army in Helmand province, and with the US and Afghan Air Forces in Kabul, and returned in 2011 to embed with the US and Afghan Armies in Khost province.

His reports, columns and photographs have been published in The Washington Examiner, Wired, Small Wars Journal and The Weekly Standard. His reporting has focused on combat operations, the development of indigenous security forces, civil affairs work, and Iraqi politics. He has also been a guest on The Dennis Miller Show, the John Batchelor Show, the Charles Adler Show, and Al Jazeera English (TV).

Ardolino’s work has been cited by the Center for Strategic and International Studies, the RAND Corporation, and Defence R&D Canada, among other academic institutions and think tanks. He was an Adjunct Fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies from 2008-2011, and was among the first group of bloggers to meet with and interview the President of the United States in 2007. Prior to writing professionally, Bill was profiled in the 2004 best-seller The World Is Flat: a Brief History of the Twenty-first Century, by Thomas Friedman, for "citizen journalism," including work exposing CBS News' use of fraudulent documents in a report on President George W. Bush's Air National Guard service. He lives in Washington,DC.
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Additional Information

Publisher
Naval Institute Press
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Published on
May 15, 2013
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Pages
320
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ISBN
9781612511290
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Language
English
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Genres
History / Modern / 21st Century
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Dillard Johnson
Amid ferocious fighting that many times nearly took his life, Sergeant Dillard "C. J." Johnson and his crew are recognized by Pentagon reports to have accounted for astonishing enemy KIA totals while battling inside and out of the "Carnivore," the Bradley Fighting Vehicle Johnson commanded during Operation Iraqi Freedom. After miraculously beating stage-three cancer (caused by radiation exposure from firing armor-piercing depleted-uranium rounds during combat), he returned to his platoon in Baghdad for a second tour, often serving as a sniper protecting his fellow troops. Today, Johnson and his men's story is the stuff of legend—earning them a cover story in Soldier of Fortune and a display in the Fort Stewart Museum. But only now is Johnson telling his full story: reviewed and approved for publication by the Department of Defense, Carnivore is the gripping and unflinchingly honest autobiography of a remarkable American warrior.

"The estimated enemy KIAs for Staff Sergeant Johnson’s BIFV [Bradley Infantry Fighting Vehicle] during this fight [22 March, 2003] was 488. The informal estimate from the troop was that Johnson and his crew killed at least 1,000 Iraqis on 23 March. Later in the move north, Johnson engaged and destroyed 20 trucks and tallied 314 KIAs in the vicinity of An Najaf. At Objective FLOYD, Johnson’s platoon fought yet another bitter fight against what they claim was a thousand paramilitary troops. … Events were corroborated by separate interviews with the remainder of C/3-7 CAV, to include the troop commander." —On Point: The United States Army in Operation Iraqi Freedom, the official study of the 2003 invasion commissioned by the U.S. Army Chief of Staff

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