Army Colonel's Book
Details Battle of Ramadi
Iraq War Veteran Tony Dean Says He Was Driven To Write About The Experience Because It Is An Example Of On Post-Millennium Warfare With A Successful Ending
Retired Army Col. veteran Anthony E. Deane author of Ramadi Declassified.
By Karen Weil
Modern Times Magazine
May 30, 2017 —Retired Army Col. Tony Deane was no stranger to the Middle East, and all its complexities, when he arrived in Ramadi, Iraq in May 2006.
In charge of the First Battalion, Thirty-fifth Armored Regiment, Deane and his troops fought in what is a considered a pivotal battle in that controversial war.
What Deane saw there is the basis for a recently released book, Ramadi Declassified: Roadmap to Peace in the Most Dangerous City in Iraq (Praetorian Books).
His book begins: “As a rule of thumb, when the battalion commander is firing his personal weapon things are going badly; and at this moment, things were generally bad all across Iraq, particularly in Iraq’s Anbar Province, especially here in the city of Ramadi, and specifically at Entry Control Point 3.”
When the unit arrived in Ramadi, things “were much worse than were being painted,” Deane said in a recent interview.
The Battle of Fallujah was in 2004, “and all the terrorists went from there to Ramadi,” he added. “When we got there … we didn’t have a lot of forces. The order was, ‘Take back Ramadi, but don’t make it a Fallujah.’”
By May 2007, Ramadi was the most peaceful place in Iraq, he said – the kind of city where citizens could run in a 5K race. “The turnaround was just incredible,” Deane said, crediting his fellow soldiers “for their diligence and even-handed attitudes, giving people a way to solve their own problems.”
Deane said his book tells the story “of how [U.S. forces] forged a success in that country. It tells what worked in Iraq – and it could be duplicated again. You’ve got to get people on your side.”
Kirkus Reviews describes the book as “a detailed, compelling account of a little-known chapter in the Iraq War.”
Ramadi Declassified also details Iraq’s extraordinary, complicated history. “I didn’t know that going in,” Deane said. “Had I known that before, I would have not been so confident that we could change things.”
Deane, who enlisted in the Army Reserve 35 years ago, said responses to his book have been overwhelmingly positive.
His fear, he said, was that “the toughest reviews would come from vets.”
“The guys are just happy we told the story,” Deane said. “The military, at the end of the day, is just people.”
Since 2003, hundreds of books have been written on the Iraq War, some of them best sellers. One was even made into an Oscar-nominated film (American Sniper), which was a box office smash in 2015.
Two books Deane cites as favorites are A Soldier’s Story by William Doyle and A Chance in Hell, by Jim Michaels.
Deane said it took him a year and a half to write Ramadi, and then find a publisher. After U.S. troops formally began withdrawing from Iraq in 2011, not many publishers were interested, Deane said. Then he found Praetorian, which got “100 percent behind it.”
Probably the person “most surprised that I wrote a book would be my high school English teacher,” Deane said, laughing.
Deane said he was driven to write
From a long-term perspective, what lead to the 2003 invasion of Iraq is relevant, “but we need to get ISIS out of there and convince the Sunnis to quit supporting them, allowing Iraq to move towards a more peaceful existence,” Deane said.
“Sadly, we’re gonna find ourselves in this situation again -- there will be more Operation Iraqi Freedoms than Desert Storms,” given how combat is changing, he added. “If you overthrow a regime, you’ve got to get a government running.”
An Omaha, Neb., native – whose father fought for the U.S. Navy in World War II – Deane was already an experienced veteran long before U.S. troops were in Iraq early in the 21st century. He’d served in Operation Desert Storm in the early 1990s.
He was commissioned as a second lieutenant from the University of Nebraska in 1985 and served in Germany; Fort Stewart, Ga.; Kuwait; and other locations.
His efforts and service have earned him numerous honors, including the Legion of Merit, Bronze Star with Oak Leaf Cluster, Parachutist Badge and the Combat Action Badge.
Deane and his wife Debora, a nurse, live in Melbourne, Florida. have two adult daughters: Allison, an Army nurse and Ashley, who is a social worker specializing in mental health.
The married couple also have a Chihuahua dog.
Deane gives talks on leadership as a side career and jokingly describes himself as a “trophy husband.”
When there’s time, Deane likes going to the beach. “I just try to enjoy life,” he said.
For more information on or to purchase the book, go to http://www.coltonydeane.com/
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