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Red Zone Baghdad

My War in Iraq

Authors: Marcus Fielding
(13 customer reviews)

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“I was there at the start and Marcus was there at the end. Because of this, I found Marcus’s book fascinating. I congratulate him. He was in the middle of it all, and he had enough nous to write about it.” Major General Jim Molan AO, DSC, (Retired)

Colonel Marcus Fielding provides a rare glimpse into the contentious Iraq war, one of the most controversial conflicts of our time. An experienced soldier, he paints a vivid picture of the conditions for Australian troops and provides fascinating insights into the complexity of rebuilding a nation against a backdrop of Sectarian violence.

Marcus worked in the senior coalition headquarters in Baghdad, which managed coalition forces on a grand scale and laboured to rebuild a country of 26million people. From his ‘office’ in Saddam’s former al-Faw Palace, Marcus deals with the vital issues associated with rehabilitating this war-torn nation during the introduction of democracy and several crucial elections.

Red Zone Baghdad covers Marcus tour of duty during the final days of the Australian presence in Iraq. His personal experiences of everyday life set against a backdrop of violence: the heat and dust, attending meetings in the Red Zone, the camaraderie of the cigar club and visits to orphanages; allow access to a little understood war and a soldier’s life, far removed from the peace and certainty of life in Australia.

Marcus Fielding

Marcus Fielding

Marcus Fielding was born and raised in Melbourne. He joined the Australian Regular Army in 1983 and graduated from the Royal Military College Duntroon as a Lieutenant in 1986. In the following decades of military service Marcus held a broad range of senior appointments in Army, defence and interagency organisations in a number of locations […]

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13 reviews for Red Zone Baghdad

  1. I was there; he tells it as it was Format:Kindle Edition I served with Col Fielding in Baghdad. This book describes what it’s like to serve in a headquarters unit at war. I highly recommend it for anyone preparing for a similar experience in, say, Afghanistan. Thank you.

  2. COL Marcus Fielding accurately portrays the highs, lows and daily grind of serving as a “Embedded” Australian Army officer in the major Coalition / US Headquarters in Iraq. He brilliantly gives close insights into serving, working, living and earning his place amongst the Four Star HQ and life in the Green Zone, Baghdad, Camp Victory and around Iraq. Few Aussies have written about their personal military experiences, but Fielding has penned any easy to read personal account during the post-Surge period in Iraq and provides a first-hand account of the tempo, battle rhythmn and major events throughout 2008-2009 of the Iraq War. A must read for military professional or anyone with an interest Australia’s participation in the Middle East Area of Operations, you will find this a great read

  3. I greatly enjoyed reading of the service of a new generation of Australian soldier, facing challenges and decisions that no doubt weigh greatly upon their shoulders, but which by Colonel Fieldings example are shown as ably bourne. The daily grind of service counterspaced with the fast paced incident and its need for acurrate information amoungst the fog of war are both explained with great realism. A must read for military historians or anyone wanting to understand the war in Iraq.

  4. Marcus Fielding has painted a vivid picture of the pressure and responsibility carried within a major military headquarters. In reading of military operations it is often easy to focus purely on the frontline, ignoring the efforts of those that work to plan for the successful achievement of complex objectives. From dealing with corrupt local officials to the planning put into running an Anzac service in a time of risk, Marcus has captured his time in Baghdad with clarity and a desire to get his message across.

  5. TITLES TO NOTE: In Red Zone Baghdad Colonel Marcus Fielding presents his view of the last months of Australia’s involvement in Iraq. Along with larger concerns like the negotiation of the Iraqi-US Status of Forces Agreement, Fielding describes the day-to-day activities that were required to support and enable the building of the organisational infrastructure of the Iraqi nation, and the complex interactions that required tact and subtlety during the conduct of a complex counterinsurgency. Embedded in the Coalition’s Headquarters Multi-National Force-Iraq in Baghdad, Fielding allows us to understand the often-mundane tasks of everyday life in both the red and green zones during the last months of Australian troop deployment and the speed at which camaraderie between soldiers from different countries develops when far from home and family. Although a very personal view of Iraq at this pivotal time, this book is also an important part of the larger picture of Australia’s involvement. In Fielding’s words, ‘my story will add to a patchwork of accounts that portray a soldier’s life, far removed from the peace and certainty of life in Australia’.

  6. The Green Zone of Baghdad was the relatively safe zone where the headquarters of the Multi-National Force and the Iraqi government were based; the Red Zone was the much less safe area of the rest of Baghdad. Colonel Fielding has recorded what it was like to be there, the climate, the dangers. Baghdad was clearly an unpleasant and dangerous place.

  7. As a person who has spent nearly 40 years in the military, both Regular and Reserve, but never had the opportunity to deploy, I was intrigued more about the emotions and feelings involved in overseas service. Although Marcus has delpoyed on numerous occasions, this was special as it was in the heat of a multi-force HQ and was a seven day a week labour. I recall Peter Cosgrove’s book and how pleased he was when he successfully came through his first contact as a Platoon Commander in Vietnam and felt the quiet satisfaction that he had the “right stuff” to lead. For Marcus, in this environment, it came when he had to present complicated plans to all the US head sheds and came through with flying colours as a staff officer. And I can understand how surreal it would be after all that time in Iraq to be sitting in a taxi driving along the Tulla Freeway on his way home having survived the tour and returning to the hum drum of Australia, other than bonding with a loving family at the end of the taxi ride. I enjoyed the read and it gave me insights to deployment and the intensity of a multi-national HQ.

  8. This book is very descriptive of what life is like for a staff officer (action officer) at a major operations center. There are no heroics just day to day life. Good read

  9. The author, Colonel Marcus Fielding, a twenty-six year veteran with the Australian Army,was an embedded member of the Australian Army with the U.S. Military in Iraq for nine months. “A fine combat unit, they were deployed in southern Iraq, but was not permitted by their Government to join the fight except in highly restricted situations, which rarely eventuated. Aussie soldiers were embedded in various coalition headquarters. Members of the coalition found themselves attached as individuals to what were called Coalition Headquarters, but actually were US headquarters with small numbers of foreign soldiers performing various roles. The most common embedded foreign soldiers in these headquarters were Australians. “With combat operations in Iraq and Afghanistan running concurrently, the US was short of soldiers with specialist skills. The US scrambled to fill the positions in the higher-level headquarters from its allies. The highest coalition headquarters in Iraq, Headquarters Multi-National Force-Iraq, or MNF-I demanded large numbers of trained and skilled personnel and since the US was over-extended they were happy to have Australians with them. Since the Australian military was not over-extended, it was happy to send fresh, experienced, skilled and highly trained officers to embed in the US coalition. “What Marcus does so well is to describe the day-to-day activities of an embedded staff officer on a major coalition HQ. He talks about the big issues of combat and operations, the ebb and flow of public opinion, the mundane but essential people-focused activities, the morale raising visits of US personalities, all against the background of the violence that continued…In this book, w see Colonel Fielding and his fellow colonels, assisted by majors, solving the myriad day-to-day problems in a way that contributes so markedly to success in wars.” As a reviewer, I copied almost verbatim the above words from the introduction by Major General Jim Molan AO, DSC(retired) because I cannot say it any better. For me personally, Colonel Fielding wrote the book almost like a day-to-day diary, giving us not only clear descriptions of the good and bad events that occurred, but also kept it in sequence with the events in the US either about or closely affecting the war in Iraq. Many of the political ramifications, although I was aware at the time the news showed them, either forgot about them or was unaware of their effect for both the military and the Iraqis. Colonel Fielding was most complimentary about our military and also about the truly desperate lives of the Iraq civilians. I honestly believe this book should be included in our high school libraries for it is so explicit in the events and conditions of those times between 2007 and 2008. I heartily recommend it to all those Americans who would appreciate another viewpoint of this war.

  10. Although I have had relatives and friends in Iraq serving our country, I found this book very informative regarding all the intell, etc. it takes to keep our service men and women safe. I did enjoy the book and would encourage others to read this to get a better understanding of all the facets of war..I also was not aware of how many other countries were involved in Iraq.

  11. Great read,see things in a different light now.

  12. This was a good book to have read. I can’t wait to start another. I love books on military and this tells a great story of what one went through.

  13. I just finished reading your book. Thank you! It was a wonderful in site as to how others view the US and it’s involvement in Iraq.You gave me history that I did not know. I enjoyed your day to day thoughts and wish you would write a follow up book about “My daily life as a soldier in Iraq.” Just you, your friends, co-workers and people you met, not the politics. Best wishes to you and your family

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