Puyallup: News

Reserve Marine publishes book on Iraq War experience

For more than 30 years, Col. William Souza has served his country in the U.S. Marines. The reservist and father of two recently released his second book about working with the Iraqi intervention force in 2004.

Souza has led an impressive military career as a battalion commander of more than 1,000 Marines. Currently, he is a colonel in the Marine Corps Forces Reserve, serving with the 4th Marine Division.

“I’m a pretty active guy for a reservist,” the Puyallup resident said. “For me, it’s not a one-weekend-a-month commitment. As a reservist, I’m pretty involved with the Marine Corps.”

Souza has served on both active-duty and as a reservist. Specifically with the Global War on Terror, Souza deployed to Iraq, Afghanistan and the Philippines.

Penning the 160-page book about his experience working with the Iraqi Intervention Force brought back a lot of memories.

“I had to sit down and critically think about what I actually experienced and analyze why did that happen and what did it mean,” he said. “What were the potential ramifications of what we were doing? Were we successful in our missions?”

Souza and others were tasked to train the Iraqi Intervention Force, which was recently started by the Iraqi Administrative Defense.

“The insurgents were fighting against traditional Iraqi units and as a result of those units’ failure, they created this thing called the Iraqi Intervention Force, which had the primary mission of addressing issues with insurgents,” the 48-year-old said. “They were their own special force. We were the first advisors to go over there and work with these guys.”

Instead of being enemy combatants, Souza and his fellow service members were now partners with the Iraqis, working toward the same mission.

Souza’s book, “U.S. Military Advisors: The Iraqi Intervention Force's 6th Brigade,” is a pragmatic analysis based on his experiences.

“They (publishers) are going to suggest re-writes; they’re going to suggest you go in a different direction with your story. I wanted to present my story the way I wanted to,” said Souza, who previously published a book that gives young entrepreneurs the basic formula on how to run their own business.

Souza has gone through the process to get a Library of Congress control number, which means his goal of having his book in all 100,000 public libraries and 50,000 academic libraries across the country is within reach.

According to Souza, he wrote his book in about six months after writing nearly every day.

“You have to be very self critical of yourself. You have to pull a lot of things out (of the book),” he said.

Becoming self critical wasn’t the only challenge the Marine ran into. As a current reservist, there’s certain things he was allowed and not allowed to write in the book.

“I am subordinate to our elected officials, so I cannot say certain things because it is my opinion — that might go contrary to elected officials,” he said. “You have to be very careful what you say. Not to mention, lots of things happen in a war zone that if people weren’t there, they might read what you wrote or you don’t relay the message clearly enough, it might come across as something else. You have to be very careful when you’re an author like myself, who is currently serving, about what you write. Once you put it out there and it’s published, you can’t take it back.”

To purchase Souza’s book, visit amazon.com/U-S-Military-Advisors-Intervention-Brigade/dp/151145413X/ref=zg_bsnr_387040011_17.