Bing West

Bing is the co-author of the New York Times #1 bestseller, ­Call Sign Chaos: Learning to Lead, written with General Jim Mattis.

A graduate of Georgetown and Princeton Universities, he fought as a Marine grunt in Vietnam. He later served as Assistant Secretary of Defense under President Reagan. His ten books include The Village, 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 (twice) of Marine Corps Heritage, 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 Hoover Military Historians Working Group at Stanford University, the Council on Foreign Relations and the Infantry Order of St. Crispin. He and his wife Betsy live in Newport RI and Hilton Head, SC. Bing has four children and eight grandchildren.

Owen West

Owen was an energy futures trader for twenty years before serving as Assistant Secretary of Defense for Special Operations from 2017-2019.

Owen attended Harvard University on an ROTC scholarship and rowed for the nationally ranked 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 to attend Stanford Business School. At Stanford, he was co-president of his class. Before entering the Pentagon, he was a partner at Goldman, Sachs, where he served as 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 took three leaves-of-absence during his 20 years with Goldman. In 2001, he attempted the North Face of Mount Everest, turning back above 28,000 feet. In 2003, he joined the Marine 1st Force Reconnaissance Company for Operation Iraqi Freedom. In 2004, he embedded with the Marines outside Fallujah as a reporter for Slate.com. In 2006-2007, as a Marine major he commanded an advisor team to an Iraqi infantry battalion outside Ramadi.

An endurance athlete, Owen completed several Ironman Triathlons and ultra-marathons. He has represented the United States six times in the Eco Challenge, a 350-mile expedition labeled “the world’s toughest race,” finishing as high as 2nd, including navigating three Playboy Playmates to the finish line in Borneo. He was the 2015 Clydesdale (220 lbs.) 40+ National Champion in the Olympic 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 Vera Cruz, 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 was a director of the Marine Corps Scholarship Foundation, the Positive Coaching Alliance, and is a certified trainer of youth coaches.