Welcome to the premiere post of Meet the Author! I am very pleased to have e-interviewed Dick Couch about his latest work, The Sheriff of Ramadi: Navy SEALs and the Winning of al-Anbar.

What inspired you to write The Sheriff of Ramadi?

I became interested in The Sheriff when I learned of the intensity of the fighting in Ramadi/al-Anbar, and that the SEALs were taking to the streets to fight with the Army and the Marines. This is the first time SEALs have ever done this. Early on, I felt it would be the story of courage in the face of certain defeat as things were very bleak in the summer of 2006. The courage was there, more than I would have imagined, and it turned out to be a pivotal victory in Iraq.

How did you convince the Navy SEALs to talk with you?

That’s not hard for me as I have a good reputation for respecting privacy issues and telling an accurate story. And they forgive me for my oversights. It also helps that I’ve, been there, done that, and have a drawer full of T-shirts–most of them very old T-shirts.

Who should read The Sheriff of Ramadi?

I think its a good read for anyone who wants to understand the role of a direct-action force in a major counterinsurgency battle. It’s also revealing look at the role of snipers in urban battle. And of course, it’s a good text for the multi-dimensional role of Navy SEALs in an insurgency. And finally, on a macro scale, the lessons of Ramadi will be most useful as we turn our attention to Afghanistan.

You have written 6 fiction books and 6 non-fiction books. Which type is easier to write?

Without question, fiction. When I write novels, I get to go hang out with my imaginary friends for a few hours every day. Good fun. Non-fiction requires research, travel, and the responsibility of getting someone else’s story right. It’s a 110,000 word term paper.

Any future books in the works?

I have a short, non-fiction work on tactical ethics which I’m finishing up; then perhaps another book on SOF training–maybe the Rangers this time.

Dick Couch is a rare find. He is a scholar and practitioner having served on active duty with the Navy Underwater Demolition and SEAL teams for five years.

Posted by Jim Dolbow in Books

You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

  • Good stuff! Let’s get more USNI Press folks out here to do some book promoting.

  • Byron

    I’ll see if I can get the boss(wife) to pick me up a copy this weekend. (snark alert!) Of course, if USNI were to publish Lex’s “Rhythms”, I’d buy one to read, and the autographed one to hang 😉

  • Dick is a good writer. Glad to see this on the blog.

    He used to live up here in my neck of the woods. Like many of the SEALs, looking at Dick you wouldn’t imagine him be a real tough cookie. Well respected in the community.



  • Byron,

    Did the boss pick up a copy yet? You got yourself a good boss!

  • Anon

    She had left the bookstore by the time I found time to call her from work (yes, Yardbirds work many a Saturday and Sunday so we can keep the Navy haze grey and underway)

  • Byron

    See if you can get an interview John Ringo about his book, “The Last Centurion”. It’ll make your eyes water.

  • I read it, good info.
    I’d like to see Mr. Couch find many of the warrior commanders in Al Anbar; aside from those in Fallujah, during the 2004 – spring 2006 period. People like Huck, Davis, Gronski and battalion commanders like Smith in Ramadi and Alford in Al Qaim. There were supporting efforts such as the P3 Program that validated the police transition team concepts and combat civil affairs teams outside the wire “making it happen” daily. I have yet to find a writer that has put out anything to support that period. I’ve seen and read “sound byte” attempts to suggest what may or may not have been shaping actions by the Muj and/or coalition forces but nothing on the real day to day grind; tactics at the fireteam and squad level, rapid response operational planning and execution at the company level and driving strategy that eventually created what is now stability and security in Al Anbar coordinated with the tribes and appointed Iraqi leadership out there. I can tell you first hand WE learned a lot during this period of time.

    MSgt. USMC (Ret.)

  • Paul

    Where can I send an email or mail to the author? And any info on where a future/current book signings are located? Thanks.

  • UltimaRatioReg


    Ditto your comments. Lots of hard work and fighting by all sorts of folks (Feb-Sept 2004). I would like to see some comprehensive stuff regarding 82d Abn and 1st MarDiv, USA TF 1-16 INF, Gen Mattis, Kelly, Col Dunford, etc., whose dogged determination to keep control was executed by the soldiers and Marines and sailors during those days. Lots of what they did and the sacrifices that were made shaped conditions for later success.

    But this one is a gotta read for me. Goes to the top of the tall stack.


  • Joe Velkavrh (RD2)

    I served with Dick on USS MANSFIELD 66-68 It was a pleasure to serve with Mr. Couch and the crew of the Mansfield, it was a true westpac tin can and Mr. Couch was a pro.