Millard Peck

To fill in the CCDS profile, I was technically a psych major at Kenyon, but, in reality, became a member of Beta Theta Pi (the jock fraternity) and majored in football and lacrosse, ending-up as captain of the lacrosse team my senior year. After graduating from Kenyon, I spent a year at the University of Madrid, then joined the Army in Spain, to save the expense of flying home to get drafted.

I spent not quite 30-years in the Army, which included 45-months in Vietnam with the 5th Special Forces Group in the Central Highlands, the 9th Infantry Division in the Delta (South), and the 101st Airborne Division in I Corps (North). During that experience, I was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross, 3-Silver Stars, and a bunch of Purple Hearts.

After a four-year tour in the Foreign Language Department at West Point, where I was able to earn masters degrees in French and Spanish, I later went on to get advanced degrees in Portuguese and German, which led to a number of truly interesting overseas assignments, and enabled me to attend a variety of foreign military schools and training programs, among which were the French Parachute and Commando Schools, the French Command and General Staff College in Paris, the Uruguayan C&GS in Montevideo, the German Staff Collage in Hamburg, and the NATO Defense College in Rome.

Because of the languages, I had a very eclectic military career, the other highlights of which included two years at the Florida Ranger Camp, a tour in the 82nd Airborne Division, working at the Pentagon for Legislative Liaison (acting as a lobbyist for the Army), 3-years in Germany as a battalion commander, three-years in Special Operations during Grenada and the terrorist scourge of the 1980's, two years in Paraguay as the ODC Chief, and running the National Military Intelligence Center (NMIC) in the Pentagon.

It was the foreign languages that pointed me to overseas employment after retiring from the military. Also, the Army had become sort of a way of life, and I soon found myself doing military/security work in a number of bizarre, unpronounceable places.

Some of the highlights include working as the senior advisor to a Croatian infantry brigade in Bosnia for almost a year, where, rather than planning and conducting brigade-level operations, I mostly did training, as well as a certain amount of combat surgery with a Swiss Army knife. I got very tired of that, and then went to South Africa to become the security chief for a guy who ran safaris at a place called Timbavaati, just outside of Kruger National Park. At that time everyone thought that SA was on the brink of a civil war, so private protective security was considered essential to buoy client confidence, since a number of the safari-goers had cancelled their trips. After the situation in South Africa stabilized, I was supposed to go to work in Sierra Leone, but when my partner got killed there, I decided to take a less exciting job in Saudi Arabia as a brigade advisor to the 14th Royal Saudi Land Brigade in Tabuk, tutoring them through the transition from M-113 armored personnel carriers to Bradley Fighting Vehicles. After a year there I signed on with the Justice Department and went to Haiti, where I ran the Centre de Formation de la Police Nationale (the Police Academy) in Port-au-Prince for almost three years, before going to Liberia for a year as the project manager for a DOJ police development program in Monrovia.

I finally got sick of cops and went to Albania when Kosovo was hot, planning to go to work on the side of the good guys. After a while, I figured out that there were no good guys, so I headed down to Angola and spent the next several years working on and off as an advisor to Defence Services Limited (DSL), a security outfit whose clients were mostly the French, British, and US oil companies. I also ran a project for the US Embassy and the Angolan Army confiscating heavy weapons from former-UNITA strongholds in isolated areas of the outback, then running over them with tanks, to make sure they did not turn up on the black market (see photos below). Portuguese is now my best language.

For the past 2-plus years or so I have been doing intelligence work with Blackwater in Iraq and Afghanistan, truly ugly places. I am currently back in Baghdad, since I am curious as to how things are going to turn out. After that, in a year or so, I am hoping to settle in Cincinnati and spend some time with my collections of military memorabilia, firearms, and British sports cars. I still lift weights and work out a lot, since I have to keep-up with an under-30 group of guys, carrying about 30 pounds of body armor, plus weapons, ammo, and miscellaneous gear. All in all, since 1958, it's been a helluva ride ...

Millard Peck in Angola, Africa, 2004. He was heading up a project "to assist the Angolan Army in its effort to collect, catalogue, and then destroy all of the small arms left over from the incessant armed conflicts which have ravaged the country since the early 1960's. After bringing the weapons in, we demolish them by running over them with a tank. The idea, of course, is to keep them off the international arms market. Interesting work, and it keeps my self-winding watch from running down."