In doing what we ought we deserve no praise,
because it is our duty.
— Saint Augustine 

Bing West was born to be a Marine. When he was just two years old, his two uncles were in the Marine Corps and fought on Guadalcanal. Later, his family allowed a baseball team of Marines to use the attic of their Dorchester, Massachusetts home as a kind of clubhouse. 

There they’d be able to talk among themselves about things they’d never have been able to say to their families. Bing’s mother thought they’d make great babysitters.

By the time Bing was seven years old, he knew he’d be a Marine. 

During the Vietnam War, he was a platoon leader in Force Recon leading over 100 combat patrols. When his tour (66-68) was completed, the Corps asked him to write a guide for Marines coming into the country. The guide was titled Small Unit Action in Vietnam and the military published over 100,000 copies of it. 

Bing West spent time in Afghanistan with Marines on the ground when he was 70 years old.

Afterward, Bing served as the Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs in the Reagan administration. His son, Owen West, was also a Marine officer in Force Recon. Owen later became the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Special Operations and Low-Intensity Conflict under General Jim Mattis with whom Bing has co-authored a book.

Bing has authored 10 books centering on the Marine Corps. Many of them are about the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan where he made about 40 trips and spend time on the battlefields and with Marines in the field. 

His latest book, The Last Platoon is a novel that was released on December 15. We were furnished with an advanced copy here at SOFREP. We’ve also just recorded a podcast with Mr. West which you can find on SOFREP Radio