Monday, April 5, 2010

The Manhattan Mercury

Here is a recent book review from a regional newspaper in Manhattan, KS.

Naval (1)

Monday, November 2, 2009

Wharton Magazine Feature

The University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School of Business publishes a magazine and I happened to have a featured article in it--pretty cool.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Museum of Contemporary Art: Guest speaker

I had the privilege to take part in "It is what it is: conversations about Iraq" this past weekend. The exhibit is currently showing in the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago. I highly recommend the show.
Here is some information on the exhibit:

Speaker bios

The show's website

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Effective ways to learn Iraqi Arabic

General principles for efficient/effective/tactical learning of Iraqi Arabic (or at least what worked for me):

1. Forget writing (unless you have tons of extra time) and focus 100% on speaking IRAQI Arabic and nothing else--you have limited time/resources and need to maximize time spent since you also have to know weapons/job stuff

2. Focus on basic grammar rules for I, you, and we forms for males (one of the ppt's im sending has this info) need to get fancy and learn various forms and female rules--you'll sound like a 4yr old, but you will learn quickly and Iraqis will understand you easily. If your time allows you can focus on other areas

3. Use tactical Iraqi is BAR NONE the best training device available--absolutely amazing if used properly and the student is disciplined. It is very focused on learning the basic grammar rules, knowing the proper vocab, and focused on iraqi arabic. I spent 1-2 hrs a day for 6 months using that program--progress is VERY slow in the beginning and it seems impossible, but if you stick to it you will be successful--I promise.

4. Waste no time/taxpayer resources on Standard Arabic, DLI teachers, or Rosetta Stone, etc...use Tactical Iraqi and focus on Iraqi Arabic exclusively--the other stuff is great, but I'm operating under the assumption your troops have limited time and resources

5. If DLI instructors do come to train your troops, ensure they come in with a defined mission and understanding that your troops need to start off with BASICS, and learn how to speak like a 3yr old first (ie VERY basic grammar rules, pneumonics, and how to get the basic point across--nobody cares if you leave of a dangling modifier--better to know how to piece together 'muhammed run there' as opposed to 'mr mohammed needs to run to a location in that far corridor which is far far away'. In my experience as a student and course designer, the DLI folks come into training with NO plan, and act like the troops are all linguist PhDs.

6. Put the DLI mp3's on your ipod/mp3 player and just listen to it on runs/pt...I still remember the nouns from those disks almost 2.5 years later because they are burned into my mind from listening to those tapes over and over again

7. When you get in country , grab a terp or an Iraqi with a decent grasp of English and force yourself to speak Iraqi Arabic--you will learn very quickly

8. Keep a notebook of nouns and new words--you will reference it for the first few months, but will gradually not have to use it.

Also, I have a TON of stuff that I used to train Marines. If you are interested in this material just email me gray56508 At gmail dot com and I will arrange to send it to you.

Semper Fidelis,


Wednesday, September 2, 2009

News Channel 8 Interview with Beverly Kirk

Here is the interview for all of those who are not located in the Washington, DC area. This aired at 7:30pm on September 1, 2009.

Monday, August 31, 2009

China Times Book Review,5047,11051801+112009082300053,00.html

I'm not sure what it all means, but here is a rough translation:

Is born because of the human stupidity the war literature, has been the spiritual civilization which the humanity consoles oneself. At the beginning of century war literature, either record war both sides cultural difference, either becomes the soldier to cure the wound the memory to express.

 The disaster is frequent, the man-made disaster is unceasing, the 21st century's first 10 years, and are inferior to the people anticipated like that happy. Often is neglected, even lets the fact which the human becomes accustomed to is: The US in 2001 started the Afghan war and in 2003 entered and was stationed in Iraq, until today now progressive form. Writes the testimony war, then smooths the wound, also benefits obviously urgently. Actually "Asia and "Morocco Has scolded Husband's mother Luo since Iraq In" To reach", this batch of births from the stupidity war literature, already become the spiritual civilization which the humanity consoles oneself.

 " flood and field second lieutenant's cultural observation

 In April publishes "Ambush" (Embedded), the author was in 2006 has treated 210 day-long United States Marines Second Lieutenant Gray in Iraq (Wesley Gray). He initially to join the army interrupts University of Chicago's curriculum, now the official does obeisance captain, also returns to the campus to study for doctorate. Because can hold Iraq's Arabic, Gray can understand the bilateral cultural difference compared to the fellow officer. "Ambush" a book issue document is freely relaxed, is actually the rare field record.

 For example in the book a Kurdis's interpreting on refers to the core straight, questioned the US military moves validity: Iraq's army organization is this national mainstay, once has been destroyed, is equal to all paralyses. Not only all bases, the bank, the cultural relic nobody control, can only degenerate into robbers and bandits' it's in the bag, the massive weapons flow in the folk, even falls into the terrorist in the hand, instead endangers US military own security. In addition, the US military everywhere randomly explodes, has complete disregard for human life, but actually a group protects the drill tubing, certainly makes the person impression to be greatly bad, the freedom and the democracy high-sounding talk also collapses of itself.

 "Ambush" also touches in the sex and the authority consciousness difference. For example some Iraqi colonel believed that hits the wife is because the woman has the attraction, must let them know that who is boss. What is surprising is the Iraqi military on the scene nods assent identically, although all people put to implement by no means. In dines in the order, US-Iraqi both armies also unfold the different leadership rein thought. After US military military officers always eats, because the soldier is the genuine worker, the military officer responsibility is the attendance soldier, guaranteed that the work carries on smoothly. But the Iraqi military is actually the military officer first dines, sometimes the soldier even can only eat the leftover dish, if because waits the subordinate to be too good, cannot set up the prestige.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Military Writer Society of America 2009 Book Award Nominee

Next week the Military Writer Society of America will be announce on at 9am EST on September 12 who is the winner.

My book was nominated in the memoir category along with these other works:

The Lady Gangster, Memoirs of a Sailor by Del Staeker
Cat Lo, A Memoir of Invincible Youth by Virgil Erwin
Immeasuarable Spirit: Lessons of a Wounded Warrior by Latoya Lucas

Let's hope I win!

Monday, August 24, 2009

CNN Interview

I was on CNN's "Situation Room" program this evening. I'll post the clip ASAP. Look for the clip to be replayed on different segments over the next few days.

Here is the clip:

Here is a transcript from the clip:
CHRIS LAWRENCE, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Well, Wolf, U.S. troops could be on the move. And just today, the Iraqi prime minister ordered more checkpoints, random searches and tougher vehicle searches -- all to improve security there.


LAWRENCE: (voice-over): The families of Baghdad's bombing victims came to collect their remains Thursday after the deadliest day of coordinated attacks all year. Now, Iraqis are blaming their own.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): We warned the security forces not to be lax, but those troops didn't carry out their duties.

LAWRENCE: The American commander in charge of training those Iraqi forces admitted... LT. GEN. FRANK HELMICK, U.S. ARMY: Clearly, there was a lapse of security.

LAWRENCE: The bombs killed nearly 100 people and came less than two months after U.S. troops left Iraq's cities. The Americans are only minutes away, but must wait until Iraqis ask for help, which may not come until well after.

HELMICK: They did request some intelligence surveillance and reconnaissance. In fact, we provided that. They've also requested some medical assistance, which we provided, as well.

LAWRENCE: Some blame Prime Minister Nuri Al-Maliki for pushing the Americans out too soon.

WESLEY GRAY, FORMER ADVISER TO IRAQI ARMY: He's telling the Iraqi people, hey, I'm the guy that freed you from the bonds of American occupation.

LAWRENCE: Wesley Gray is a former Marine officer who spent more than 200 days living with and mentoring Iraqi forces. He says they can do basic patrols and combat missions, but could fracture if religious tensions rise. Gray says Al-Maliki's strategy gives the opposition good reason to make his security forces look ineffective.

GRAY: The disenfranchised Sunni groups have huge incentives to -- to force him to have to go crawling back to the Americans, because then they can say, hey, look, this guy is weak. He couldn't do it.


Saturday, August 22, 2009

Lars Larson Show

I'll be a guest on Lars show this Monday at 730pm EST, 430pm PST.
Here is where you can listen live and find a local station.

Alex Martin Book Review

Alex, currently a Force Recon Marine and total stud, wrote up a review for the book. It's not your typical review, but very creative and well done--bravo!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Friday, August 14, 2009

WOKB 1680 AM Interview

If you live in Florida, tune into 1680AM and listen to my latest interview on EMBEDDED: A Marine Corps Adviser Inside the Iraqi Army.

Friday, July 31, 2009

Hollywood Venture Capital Review

via a friend who just released his blog "Hollywood Venture Capital."

He's bias, but that's why we love him...

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Time to go home?

The New York Times has an interesting piece on the status of the Iraqi military.

Here are some comments from Col. Reese that 100% corroborate what I saw:

2. The military culture of the Baathist-Soviet model under Saddam Hussein remains entrenched and will not change. The senior leadership of the ISF is incapable of change in the current environment.
a) Corruption among officers is widespread
b) Neglect and mistreatment of enlisted men is the norm
c) The unwillingness to accept a role for the NCO corps continues
d) Cronyism and nepotism are rampant in the assignment and promotion system
e) Laziness is endemic
f) Extreme centralization of C2 is the norm
g) Lack of initiative is legion
h) Unwillingness to change, do anything new blocks progress
i) Near total ineffectiveness of the Iraq Army and National Police institutional organizations and systems prevents the ISF from becoming self-sustaining
j) For every positive story about a good ISF junior officer with initiative, or an ISF commander who conducts a rehearsal or an after action review or some individual MOS training event, there are ten examples of the most basic lack of military understanding despite the massive partnership efforts by our combat forces and advisory efforts by MiTT and NPTT teams.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

NPR Weekend Edition with Scott Simon

Scott Simon liked my book (EMBEDDED: A Marine Corps Adviser Inside the Iraqi Army) and decided to interview me for his "Weekend Edition" radio show.

You can listen live via your local station

Here is a link to the show.

...and here is a link to a story on the book

Here is the actual interview

Thursday, July 23, 2009

San Diego News Network Feature

Jarred Powell, a former Marine, wrote an article on EMBEDDED: A Marine Corps Adviser Inside the Iraqi Army.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

KDWN 720am, Heidi Harris Show Interview

This morning I did a live interview with Heidi Harris.

I will post the playback once it is available.

Friday, July 10, 2009

University of Chicago Magazine Spotlight

National Review Online Book Review

"This book’s value lies in the uniqueness of Gray’s experience, and his remarkably clear-eyed recognition of that uniqueness."

"The conversations Gray recounts are priceless and make a fascinating study for anyone trying to understand the war, the Iraqis, or Iraqi society."

"Wes Gray’s Embedded is a raw yet thoughtful account of his profoundly interesting experience, told from an honest and intelligent perspective."

Gabriel Ledeen is a senior fellow with the Vets for Freedom Educational Institute. He served two tours in al-Anbar, Iraq, as an officer with a Marine infantry battalion.