Bio of Michael D. Miller


1. How  did you begin career? What inspired you?

I am not a writer. I grew up on an Oklahoma farm. After high school, I snagged an appointment to the US Military Academy at West Point. I graduated and became an Army officer, eventually being a captain in Vietnam in 1968. The book is about my experiences in Vietnam.

 Rather than being a writer, I am a man with an important story who learned to write in order to tell my story. The story is about the magnificence of the human spirit that is found in combat. I felt that I had to tell the story so that the achievements of the young Americans who I observed would not be forgotten.

 The story of our school building program in rural Vietnam should not be lost. There is much to learn about combining traditional military operations with genuine programs to win the support of the local people when we get involved in third-world affairs.

 2. My childhood as it relates to the book:

 My childhood on an Oklahoma farm was inspiring. I learned a love of the outdoors and hard work. I also learned about honesty and integrity as was found among rural-oriented people back in the 1950s. Will Rogers was my hero.

 Having honesty and integrity when you are leading young soldiers in combat is essential. They will not follow you if they do not trust and respect you.

 Later in life I obtained a MBA from Harvard University. I also worked overseas for fourteen years as a construction executive, all in less-developed countries. This gave me an important perspective about life in other cultures.

3. Honors or awards?

For my service with Task Force Builder I was awarded the Legion of Merit. At that time I was the only captain in the US Army to have that award. I felt very honored.

I also received five decorations for bravery in combat.

4. Where do you hope this book leads? Plans, goals for the future?

 The message of my book is relevant to today’s political and military situations. As we struggle to find out how to properly fight wars in third-world countries, it is valuable to see what happened when a small group of American soldiers built schools for poor rural Vietnamese villages.

 We had a powerful effect on the outcome of the war in our local area of Vietnam. Had our lessons been applied on a wider scale in Vietnam, we could have won the war.

Vietnam was a marketing failure more than it was a military failure. Our book shows a valuable approach to “marketing” the American message to the local people. It can be combined with regular military operations to greatly increase our ability to win the small third-world wars of the future.

It is much easier and better to win the local people’s good will than it is to kill them. It is also much more the “American” thing to do. After all, being “American”, we are different.

Michael D. Miller  
3400 Applewood Rd.  
Midland MI 48640  

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