Bing West has written ten books about war and close-in battle. A graduate of Georgetown and Princeton Universities, in Vietnam he was a member of the Marine Force Reconnaissance team that initiated Operation Stingray –attacks behind enemy lines deep in the jungles. He also understands high-level strategy. While serving as Assistant Secretary of Defense under President Reagan, he chaired the United States Security Commissions with El Salvador, Morocco, Egypt, Jordan, Pakistan, South Korea and Japan.
His books include The Village, a narrative of 485 days of combat as an adviser that has been on the Marine Commandant’s Reading List for 40 years; The Strongest Tribe, a history of the Iraq war that was a New York Times Bestseller; and The Wrong War, a history of the Afghanistan war.
He is the recipient of Marine Corps Heritage Award in 2004 and again in 2012, the Colby Military History Award, the General Goodpaster Prize for Military Scholarship, the Free Press Award, the Father Clyde Leonard Award, the Marine Corps Russell Award for Leadership and the Veterans of Foreign Wars National Media Award. His articles appear in The Wall St. Journal, The New York Times, The Atlantic, The National Review and The Washington Post.
He is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and the Infantry Order of St. Crispin.
Owen attended Harvard University on an ROTC scholarship and rowed for the nationally ranked varsity heavyweight crew team. He served for six years in the Marine Corps and led an infantry platoon, an infantry company, and a reconnaissance platoon before departing as a captain to attend Stanford Business School. At Stanford, he was co-president of his class and the CEO of Challenge for Charity, the nation’s largest business school 501(c)3. Upon graduation, he joined Goldman, Sachs as an energy trader. He is presently the head of Global Natural Gas Trading and co-head of Global Power Trading. He is the founder of the firm’s Veterans Network.
Owen has taken three leaves-of-absence in his 19 years with Goldman. In 2001, he attempted the North Face of Mount Everest, turning back above 28,000 feet. In 2003, he took a leave of absence and joined 1st Force Reconnaissance Company for Operation Iraqi Freedom. In 2004, he visited the Marines outside Fallujah as a reporter for Slate.com. In 2006-2007, he led a small U.S. advisor team to an Iraqi infantry company on an outpost in Anbar Province.
Owen is an endurance athlete who has completed Ironman Triathlons, week-long adventure races, and 100-mile ultra-marathons. He has represented the United States six times in the Eco Challenge, a 350-mile expedition labeled “the world’s toughest race,” and has finished as high as 2nd, most recently navigating three Playboy Playmates to the finish line in Borneo. He was the 2015 Clydesdale (220 lbs.) 40+ National Champion in triathlon.
His writings have appeared in The New York Times, Playboy, The Marine Corps Gazette, Proceedings, Slate, the Wall Street Journal, Men’s Journal, Popular Mechanics, and Topic. His first novel, SHARKMAN SIX, won the Boyd literary award for best military novel of 2001. His second novel, FOUR DAYS TO VERACRUZ, was published in 2003. In 2005, he won the Marine Corps Leadership Essay contest. In 2012, his account of a U.S. advisor team in Anbar, Iraq – THE SNAKE EATERS – was published to critical acclaim.
Owen is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations. He serves as a director of the Marine Corps Scholarship Foundation and the Positive Coaching Alliance.