Author Interviews

Echo In Ramadi

Author – Major Scott A. Huesing USMC (Ret)

About the book – Huesing transports readers to the deadly streets of Iraq in this visceral, gripping portrayal of urban combat. Bound together by honor and surrounded by chaos, they battled on the frontlines of a war without rules against an elusive, ruthless enemy who wore no uniforms and showed little mercy.  Page after page, Huesing brings the resilience and bravery of the Marines brilliantly to life and shows how the devastation and terror of combat left indelible scars on these heroes’ bodies, psyches, and souls. Like earlier classics about men at war–Helmet for My PillowWe Were Soldiers Once and Young, and Generation KillEcho in Ramadi is an unforgettable portrayal of war that will leave readers amazed and, at times, moved by the author’s masterful way of capturing the experiences and emotions of combat.

Q: Tell me a little about your book Echo in Ramadi.
A: Echo in Ramadi is not just a war story – it is a story about people. It’s about leadership, teamwork, and overcoming adversity under some of the harshest conditions.

Q: What is the backstory behind your book?
A: I wrote this story to honor the men and women and families who sacrificed so much. It’s as important to share their stories as it was for me to capture one of the most significant and deadliest battles in the Iraq War.

Q: How has writing helped you personally? And changed the way you think?
A: Writing has always been a very “portable” way for me to express myself as an artist. Being able to capture stories and share them to help others drives me to keep writing. Keep sharing stories. I think writing is a way to give back. At the end of the day whether it is through writing, or charity, or whatever – I think that if I am not helping others, I’m not helping myself. That brings with it a lot of responsibility, discipline, and thought, but there is also a great reward when you get feedback from total strangers who’ve been impacted by what you share as a writer.

Q: Is there one short story from your book you would like to share?
A: Echo in Ramadi is full of stories, and it is hard to say one is better or more worthy of sharing than another. Through the process of writing the book, I will say that it allowed me to become a better listener. Why? When I finally asked the question and shut up – I was amazed at all of the things I learned. Something I never knew from the hundreds of interviews I did with my Marines, the soldiers, and families who made this story possible.

Q: Is there anything that you had to edit OUT of the book that you wished was kept in?
A: No. The original manuscript was up to around 125,000 words, and then I had to tell myself, “Stop writing!” That was the point when I found my freelance editor, and she took it from good to great and down to just over 100,000 words or thereabout. Once it sold, the book got shorter. That’s not to say that the deletions weren’t important stories or content, but the reality is you shouldn’t strive for more words thinking it’ll make it better. What you want is “Less but Better.”

Q: What books would you recommend for a Junior Officer ready to go to his or her first operational command?
A: To listen to your people. Learn who they are and what makes them great. It was only through my understanding of all of the little things my Marines were great at that allowed us to succeed and win in combat. That, for me, has been a thing I’ve had to actively work at, and I wish someone had taught me that earlier on in my career – earlier on in life, for that matter.

Q: What is the biggest takeaway that you hope a reader will learn from your book Echo in Ramadi?
A: I want readers to be inspired. Inspired by the selflessness, compassion, courage, and love exhibited by those I was surrounded by in combat. How they took care of each other and me, better than anything I ever experienced. I owe them my life—young men, most no more than eighteen years old, who faced certain danger while surrounded by complete uncertainty.

Q: What lessons can a Junior Officer take from your book?
A: I want young leaders to find the words not written in my book. I want them to understand that there are dozens of words written about leadership characteristics and principles, but some words are not taught in the school’s professional warriors attend – words like; love, compassion, caring, and understanding. If you can find those words between the lines, that is where great leaders come from.

Q: This year’s class of 2021 earns their commission and heads to their first command. What specific recommendations do you have for them as they embark on this lifetime of leadership?
A: I can teach a lot of things to young leaders. How to run faster, endure longer, [and] shoot straighter. But, I could never teach one thing — to care. If you don’t care—honestly care and have a passion for what you are doing; it’s all WORTHLESS. You must place others before yourself to truly be held as one who leads. That is the power of human connection I still enjoy to this day.

Q: What books do you recommend which influenced your thinking on leadership?
A: That is an exhaustive list, but I’ve probably given the following books as gifts to newly-promoted Marines more than any other:

  1. Once an Eagle, Anton Myrer
  2. Tribe, Sebastian Junger
  3. Matterhorn, Karl Marlantes

Q: Why is reading important for our Military and/or the Nation?
A: I’ll try to quote Gen Jim Mattis to answer this one because I firmly believe this. “If you haven’t read at least a hundred books in your lifetime, you’re functionally illiterate.”

Q: What are you reading right now? Are there any authors (living or dead) that you would name as influences?
A: I just finished re-reading Man’s Search for Meaning, Viktor E. Frankl. It reminds me to stay grounded, be grateful, and know that everyone endures challenges in life. If you asked me this question in high school, it would have been a moot point — I was a horrible reader. But if there is one author that I really enjoy learning from, it might have to be John Steinbeck from a stylistic standpoint. I’m no Steinbeck, but he was great.

Q: Give us three “Good to Know” facts about you. Be creative. Tell us about your first job, the inspiration for your writing, any fun details that would enliven your page.

  1. I barely graduated high school. I squeaked out with a stellar 1.24 GPA and hence, my enlistment into the Marine Corps. I wound up doing much better in college.
  2. I have found that I have to be more disciplined to say “NO” to things that don’t really serve me. That’s not to say I don’t love helping others — I do, to a fault. But saying yes to everything dilutes the energy that ultimately makes one successful.
  3. I never want to stop leading. There is no expiration date on leadership — I think it drives me to keep going in everything I do. Especially when I have to lead myself.

Q: What are your likes and dislikes, your interests and hobbies, your favorite ways to unwind?
A: I hate wasting time and those who don’t respect other’s time — it is the most valuable commodity we have. I have an interest in people and telling stories, their stories. I like to think that my faith is in people. People to be good — even knowing that there are a lot of bad ones out there. I would like to think that I have gotten better at taking the high ground. Nonetheless, I am an emotional person. I used to think I had to stifle that part of me, but as I have grown, I know that it is just part of who I am, and I’ve stopped trying to suppress it — maybe I’m just more aware of it.

If you ask me how I unwind? I don’t. I’m not a massive stress-ball, but I like to have a thousand things going at all times. Whenever my calendar starts to look empty, those are the days that probably cause me the most anxiety. I try to balance that through things I can control, like diet and exercise and making time for myself.

Q: Writing a book is tough, were there any surprises as you set out on that journey?
A: Writing and creating is the fun part. I had to quickly learn to be successful as an author, you’d better be prepared to turn your hat around and become a publicist, marketing expert, social media guru, and polished speaker if you want your story to be heard. You can write the best book in the world, but if you aren’t willing to tell people about it, then it will never be read — period.

Q: What is next for you?
A: A thousand things. Front burner is a full-length, feature documentary that I am working on with my friend and world-renowned producer Anthony E. Zuiker, creator of C.S.I., and a host of other supremely talented folks. I am writing two more non-fiction books. I co-host The Break it Down Show podcast with Pete A. Turner (US Army veteran), and we’re coming up on episode 1,000. I am the Executive Director of a veteran non-profit, Save the Brave, to help veterans with PTS. I have a working ranch in southern California — and I am a soon-to-be pizza franchise mogul as an investor with a fantastic restaurant, Fly Pie in Las Vegas.

Q: What are you most quoted saying?
A: “There is no such thing as combat leadership — just leadership.” And “Your book is brand new to everyone who’s never heard of it.”

About the Author

Scott A. Huesing is a proven combat leader. He is a retired United States Marine Corps Infantry Major with 24 years of honorable service, both enlisted and as a commissioned officer. His career spanned 10 deployments to over 60 countries worldwide. Throughout his numerous 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.

Scott is a published author since 2005. His award-winning, bestselling book, Echo in Ramadi, (Regnery, 2018) is a snapshot in time that changed the face of operations on the battlefield; a captivating story of Echo Company, 2d Battalion, 4th Marines during the Second Battle of Ramadi in support of the Multi National Forces Surge Strategy in 2006. His true-life account provides keen insights into what may be an unfamiliar world to readers, but very familiar to those, like Scott, who lived it and endured this historic fight. Echo in Ramadi was written to honor the sacrifices and spirit of his Marines and the families they supported. It not simply a war story—it is about the people and the power of human connection that speaks about leadership, team-building, and overcoming adversity under the toughest conditions.

Scott is an expert contributor and has featured articles, editorials, and scholarly pieces for USA Today, Fox News Channel, Entercom, The Marine Corps Gazette, Military Times, Townhall, and The Daily Signal. He authored U.S. Marine Corps doctrine that shaped the future of training within the world’s most elite branch of service. He is the creative author for the standard operating procedures for Marine Expeditionary Units, America’s first response force, with The Lightning Press. He is a co-host and producer of The Break it Down Show Podcast which has featured world-renowned talent on over 650 episodes.

Scott is a formally trained public speaker with 25 years of experience in both the military and private sector. He has spoken to audiences over 8,000 conveying his thoughts, intent, and goals to motivate listeners. Scott’s natural, outgoing style allows him to connect with audiences to share his experience.

Scott dedicates his time to travel to military bases, colleges, veteran groups, non-profit organizations, corporate leadership conferences, Gold Star Family events, and a multitude of venues to share the story of his epic journey and struggles. He is continually sought out to speak on leadership and his combat experiences—and the importance of writing about them.

Scott is the Executive Director of Save the Brave, a certified non-profit that connects Veterans through outreach programs—their mission is staying proactive to the needs of the Veterans they serve. He is also the President of the 2d Battalion, 4th Marines Association, a non-profit that helps Veterans and active duty Marines.

Scott has been a featured guest on Fox & Friends, C-SPAN, One America News Network, NBC 7, KTLA 5, KUSI San Diego, KTVU Fox 2, The Hugh Hewitt Show, Brian Kilmeade Radio, The David Webb Show, Frank Buckley Interviews, and over 300 local and nationally syndicated radio shows and podcasts. He has been a guest speaker at the Reagan Ranch Center, The Nixon Library, UCLA, USC, USD, UCSD, The Citadel, Chapman University, The Lion King in NYC, and The Marines’ Memorial Club. Scott currently lives in Southern California.

Scott can be reached at:
Facebook: @echoinramadi
Instagram: @echoinramadi
Twitter: @echoinramadi
LinkedIn: @scotthuesing

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