Coley Tyler grew up in Western North Carolina and decided at a very young age to pursue a career in the military. He writes about that in his new book “Ghosts of Fallujah” — but I already knew that part.
I grew up with Coley, and while I didn’t have a clue what I wanted to be when I grew up, we all know what Coley would be doing: He was going to go to West Point, and he was going to serve his country. We knew it just like we knew that picking the stop-sign pizza in the cafeteria was a pretty good idea, that getting on Mr. Shields’ bad side was a very bad idea and that the cross country team was probably going to win state every year. It was just part of our collective local knowledge. It was known.
The part of the book that was news to me was just what he was doing after West Point. And let me tell you: He’s done a lot.
Coley served with the Second Battalion, Seventh Cavalry, in the Second Battle of Fallujah, which was the largest engagement of the Iraq War. His recounting of the battle itself and the days leading up to it give the reader a clear understanding of what a complex undertaking a U.S. military operation is and what the personal cost of it can be.
Coley’s respect for the military at large and for his battalion, commanders and fellow soldiers specifically is obvious throughout the book. I would recommend “Ghosts of Fallujah” to anyone looking to gain a deeper understanding of modern military history.