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David Danelo

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Captain David Danelo, USMC, (ret.) graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy in 1998 and served for seven years as an infantry officer in the Marine Corps. In 2004, then-Captain Danelo served near Fallujah with the First Marine Expeditionary Force as a convoy commander, intelligence officer and provisional executive officer for a rifle company.  During his tour in Iraq, Danelo was awarded a Combat Action Ribbon, Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal with V, and Purple Heart.


After David Danelo left active duty, the U.S. Naval Institute commissioned him in 2005 as a freelance correspondent.  He spent a week reporting from the Gulf Coast after Hurricane Katrina, and a month covering the U.S. military in Ethiopia, Kenya, and Djibouti. David Danelo is the author of Blood Stripes: The Grunt's View of the War in Iraq and The Border: Exploring the U.S.-Mexican Divide.


Publisher’s Weekly said of The Border: Exploring the U.S.-Mexican Divide, “As a former military man, Mr. Danelo understands the hard-pressed officers of the Border Patrol, but he sympathises also with ordinary Mexicans lured to America by the dream of prosperity…He understands too the anguish of Americans who feel swamped by a rising tide of narcotics-fuelled violence…If you want a feel for the strange, dangerous and inspiring entity that is both the border and la frontera, this is a pretty good place to start. --The Economist


In 'The Border', author David Danelo set out on a lone journey from one end of the border to the other, to see if he could crack the code on this troubled - but unexpectedly seductive - human and natural landscape....Activists, left or right, will find this book uncomfortable, but its honesty makes it a great education for the rest of us. As for conclusions, Danelo isn't in the easy-answers business. --Ralph Peters, The New York Post


Marine veteran Danelo's picturesque reportage from both sides of the 1,952-mile line separating the United States and Mexico - the world's most traversed national frontier - reveals how the fraught political debate around immigration and border security masks a very complex set of issues, geographies, economic and emotional ties, histories and subcultures. Inserting himself squarely into the narrative, Danelo builds his account on firsthand impressions gathered while traveling along and across the border, splicing his strong first-person testimonials with analysis of the U.S. Border Patrol and the evolving presence of the military, and extensive interviews with law enforcement agents, coyotes, migrant workers, truckers and politicians. Danelo's Spanish is limited, as are his excursions into Mexico, making his narrative lean to the U.S. and English-speaking side of the equation. He also insists the military has a role to play in securing the border, an argument some may see as colored by his expected sympathies, given his background. Still, his overall assessment moves considerably beyond the simplistic war-zone rhetoric in the media, offering well-grounded if cautious hope for the future.”

Blood Stripes: The Grunt's View of the War in Iraq
David Danelo  More Info

The Border: Exploring the U.S.-Mexican Divide
David J. Danelo  More Info

According to book list Blood Stripes: The Grunt's View of the War in Iraq, is a “Vivid and eminently readable, Danelo's book portrays a marine infantry battalion in action in Iraq in April 2004. Most of the fighting was done in small-unit actions, in which the Iraqis had the advantages of knowing the territory and having, if not the support, at least the lack of opposition by the locals. The marines' advantages lay in training, discipline, and firepower quite aside from the artillery and air support they could call on. Above all, they had a collective code of ethics enabling them to maintain high unit cohesion against opponents who were frequently faction-ridden and as apt to shoot one another as to shoot the marines. The book subscribes to the thesis that the U.S. Marine Corps has substantially revived the ethos of the classical Spartan warrior and thereby has made its men the contemporary masters of ground combat. Another of those books that suggest that failure in Iraq, if it does come, won't come through the failure of U.S. ground troops.”

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