I am very honored to have as my guest today, a fellow former Air Force Office of Special Investigations (OSI) Special Agent John (“Jack”) T. Miller. Jack is not only a former OSI agent, but he’s also an accomplished writer.
He served in the US Army (three years) and the USAF (eighteen years), before retiring in 1975 as an E-8, Senior Master Sergeant. So let me do the math…this means Jack entered the military before I was even born, but I won’t tease him too much!
Jack has had a long career serving the law enforcement community. He worked for the Clark County, Nevada, District Attorney’s office surveilling Organized Crime figures. He also went undercover with the FBI and the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Dept conducting long term stings against street thieves and burglars. He served with the Nevada State Gaming Control Board (GCB) as an enforcement agent and retired from there in 1988 as a Senior Agent. During those years he was an expert witness in state and federal courts in cheating cases. Not to be outdone, he worked part-time in casino surveillance (Eye in the Sky) at three different casinos and part-time as a contractor to the US Army conducting surveillance on civilian trucking companies hauling sensitive military equipment and ammunition. Jack fully retired in 2002. Let me personally thank you for your service to our country, to the Air Force OSI, and to the law enforcement community.
MA: So, what started your interest in law enforcement?
JM: I was born into the job. My dad was a Michigan State Police trooper from 1924 until 1949. I think law enforcement and investigations are in my blood. I have never had second thoughts about doing anything else. I enlisted in the Army to be an MP. Then, for personal reasons, I enlisted in the US Air Force to be an Air policeman. I did that job for seven years then applied to be a special agent with the Office of Special Investigations. I was selected and did criminal and counter-intelligence investigations for ten years.
MA: With such a varied and unique career, I’m sure you have a real experience tale or two to tell! What do you write?
MA: At what point did you start writing?
JM: During my time in the Air Force, I had been involved with some sensitive investigations. Naturally, my wife and three kids would ask what I did, but I could not tell them then. I decided I would write memoirs. At page 150 I realized that almost half of the memoir was about one counter-espionage case I ran. I hit delete a lot and restarted. After three years of writing, deleting, changing, adding and editing, I produced the next best seller in the United States and just knew I was going to be in the same category as Dan Brown and John Grisham. I sent the manuscript off to a publisher and received my first of several rejection letters. Dejectedly, I was watching TV one morning feeling sorry for myself and on one of the morning shows, a man was talking about his company and how it would publish unknown authors. Before long, I had in my hands my paper child and the new responsibilities of marketing and advertising. Something my life had not prepared me for.
MA: Tell us something about your books.
JM: I have a total of five. Cold War Warrior is my first. It is the true story of an airman approached by the Soviets to be a spy and does so after he notifies OSI and is approved to be an asset for the US government. We controlled what he gave the Soviets. The next is titled Cold War Defector and is a sequel to Warrior. In this self-published book, the Soviet case officer is caught. He is convinced to be a spy in place. He is instrumental in identifying a man, a military intelligence agent, who wants to commit treason against the US. My third book, Master Cheat, reveals how casino cheats organize, target, and cheat all casino games. My fourth, All Crooks Welcome, tells the story of the first long-term undercover police sting in Nevada. It happened in Las Vegas, and I was part of it. When the dust settled, we convicted 105 thieves and prostitutes. That one is traditionally published. My last book is The Medal. It is about a soldier who is in competition with life for the Good Conduct Medal. However, it seems that every time he could be qualified, something happens.
JM: The characters I use are most often actual people I have had dealings with. I disguise their real names, sometimes for security reasons and sometimes for my own protection. If the person reads one of my books, he will recognize himself as a character. His strengths and weaknesses are his or hers. I just write them as I see them.
MA: That sounds a bit risky to me, and you are much braver than I! Do you have any recurring characters?
JM: Yes. In every book I write there is a character named Frank Hawkins. His is an OSI Special Agent who retired and worked for the District Attorney’s office, and then went to work for the GCB. He spent some time in the Army before going into the USAF. Does that sound familiar? Yes Frank Hawkins is me. Always in a minor role in the book. I did not want to write a biography, although if a person read all my books, they could say I did. Biographies are of little interest unless you are famous to begin with. I am not and have no designs to be.
Every story I tell is based on actual events. Some are embarrassing to Frank Hawkins, and some are because of him. I like to call what I write, Historical Fiction. I take actual events which might not be too exciting by themselves and fictionalize the characters. I often embellish some activities leading up to the historical event. My goal is to entertain the reader and to educate him or her into what goes on behind the scenes of the event.
MA: Are you working on anything now?
JM: Yes, I am doing my first non-fiction project. It actually is a documentary anthology. I was assigned to two radar sites as a security policeman. One was an isolated remote site, and the other was isolated, but not remote. Those are military terms for being out in the sticks without or with your family. There are no medical facilities, no support functions, and recreation is limited. In spite of these hardships, the military personnel assigned did their jobs, and in some cases did not become alcoholics or go stir crazy. I am putting together stories from these radar site veterans of how they entertained themselves. Many of the stories they tell are humorous.
MA: Where can folks get your books?
JM: My books can be purchased through my web site, www.retafsa.com. When ordered each book is individually signed, and shipping is flat rate, regardless of the number ordered.
MA: Thanks for spending some time with us today, Jack. I’m always excited to have former OSI agent authors on the Child Finder Trilogy, and when I have someone with your amazing law enforcement credentials, I am even more delighted.