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Khaos Company

A Commander's Account and Lessons Learned from the 2019 MAGTF Warfighting Exercise

Captain Matthew S. Hanks, USMC, with Williamson Murray, PhD

DOI: 10.56686/9781732003170


Khaos Company offers a short story written with the intent to provide Marines with the perspective of what it is like to operate and fight at the company- and small-unit levels in operations of such a large scale and scope. This is a story about how a small yet cohesive company of Marines experienced chaos, friction, uncertainty, surprise, failure, success, relationships, and executed the maneuver warfare principles outlined in the Marine Corps’ doctrinal warfighting philosophy.

Captain Matthew S. Hanks is an infantry officer and a reconnaissance officer in the U.S. Marine Corps, and has served in various units on the East Coast, West Coast, and the Pacific regions. He has previously written articles for Marine Corps University, Marine Corps Gazette, and the U.S. Naval Institute Proceedings. Hanks is a native of Hull, Massachusetts, and is married to his wife, Deaven.

Williamson Murray graduated from Yale University in 1963 with honors in history. He then served five years as an officer in the United States Air Force, including a tour in Southeast Asia with the 314th Tactical Airlift Wing (C-130s). He returned to Yale University where he received his Ph.D. in military-diplomatic history, working under Hans Gatzke and Donald Kagan. He taught two years in the Yale history department before moving on to Ohio State University in fall 1977 as a military and diplomatic historian. He received the Alumni Distinguished Teaching Award in 1987. He took early retirement from Ohio State in 1995 as Professor Emeritus of History. Dr. Murray has taught at a number of academic and military institutions, including the Air War College, the United States Military Academy, and the Naval War College. He has also served as a Secretary of the Navy Fellow at the Navy War College, the Centennial Visiting Professor at the London School of Economics, the Matthew C. Horner Professor of Military Theory at the Marine Corps University, the Charles Lindbergh Chair at the Smithsonian’s Air and Space Museum, and the Harold K. Johnson Professor of Military History at the Army War College. He served as a consultant with the Institute of Defense Analyses, where he worked on the Iraqi Perspectives Project. In 2008 he completed two years as the 1957 Distinguished Visiting Professor of naval heritage and history at the U.S. Naval Academy. From 2011 through 2013, he served as a Minerva Fellow in the Strategy and Policy Department at the Naval War College. At present he is the Ambassador Anthony D. Marshall Chair of Strategic Studies at the Marine Corps University.



1.  The Calm before the Storm
2.  The Defense of Prospect
3.  The Long Night Movement
4.  Hidalgo City, Part I
5.  Hidalgo City, Part II




5 x 8 paperback
288 pages
PDF download

Marine Corps University