Jon Renaud is an ex-CID Agent. He bravely served our country for 20 years before retiring. During his 20 years Jon “earned two Bronze Stars for tours in Iraq in 2003 and 2005. During his tenure as a CID Agent, Jon led Counter Narcotics Teams, worked on high profile Homicide Cases, served as the Special Agent in Charge of a Detainee Abuse Task Force and had assignments on the protection details of the Secretary of Defense, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, and the Commander of Forces in Iraq”. Yeah, that’s impressive!
Renaud is a strong supporter of The Wounded Warrior Project. The WWP is a non-profit organization that has taken on the task of providing tangible support to severely wounded service members of the military. Jon Renaud has pledged any income he receives from the sale of his new book, Dereliction of Duty, to be donated to the Wounded Warrior Project. His novel is due out in June of 2010.
“A tough, veteran Army CID Agent, Thomas Fox, is recruited into the Army’s new Counter Terrorism Task Force to take on the growing threat of domestic terrorism and extremists in the ranks of the U.S. Military. But it is not long before a rouge U.S. Senator controlling the Task Force decides to take it in a new direction. He sends Fox to Baghdad to ensure a radical Islamic Cleric does not steal the upcoming elections in Iraq. After a failed assassination attempt on the U.S. Secretary of Defense by this cleric, the leaders of the Task Force give Fox the green light to take him out. But when something goes wrong, someone has to take the fall.” – From the summary of Dereliction of Duty, written by author and retired Army Chief Warrant Officer and former CID Agent Jon Renaud.
For starters, we really appreciate your service to our country. Please, describe your experiences as an agent of the CID.
As any solder will tell you, describing your military experience is tough. You know it happened and you know you were there, but finding the rights words is hard. My experiences with the Army and with CID were wonderful experiences that taught me a lot about myself and life in general. I had the opportunity to work with incredible people and travel to some wonderful places. But as a CID Agent there were also experiences that were not always good ones but they were just part of the job. The men and women of the Army CID are some of the most professional soldiers you will meet and they have an incredibly demanding career. They have to deal with some of the worst things you can imagine, from fighting illegal drug traffickers to assisting the victims and families of violent crimes.
I have some fond memories and some not so fond memories of my time as a CID Agent, but if I had the chance to do it all over again, I would. If there was one word that I would use to sum it all up, exciting!
Your bio on your website reads a bit like a thriller. How did you become involved in the Counter Narcotics teams and task forces you were assigned to and why did you choose to take that route with your military career?
While going through my CID Internship in the 90′s, my supervisor was an old CID Agent that worked undercover narcotics in Europe in the 70′s and 80′s. I loved hearing his stories and after listening to him, I knew that was what I wanted to do with my life. I was assigned to my first Drug Suppression Team in the 90′s and found I had a knack for it. It was fast paced and exciting, just what a twenty-something was looking for. As I continued through the ranks, I continued to gain experience in the different law enforcement techniques and was selected to become a Warrant Officer and Supervisory Special Agent. Then 9/11 happened and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan created opportunities to serve on some great Task Forces and get experiences that can not be gained anywhere else in the world. I can not recall a time when I was younger when I wanted to do anything else but be a cop. But, after years of running around the world and having fun, I promised my young son I would retire at the first opportunity, so I did.
What inspired you to write Dereliction of Duty?
I guess I would have to say my son inspired me to write Dereliction of Duty. I wanted to show him that there is nothing you can’t do. And writing this book was also way to share some of my experiences with friends and family without actually exposing them to the real world that CID Agents are actually exposed to. It was a great outlet and everyone loves a good action story.
Do the experiences of Agent Fox depict your real life experiences as a CID Special Agent?
The settings and locations he traveled to are actual locations that I have visited during my career and some of the back story is real. Also the characters he meets are drawn from a combination of real people I met and worked with, but the story itself is fictional. I can say that the lesson Agent Fox learns at the end of the story is based on a very tough lesson I learned while serving as a CID Agent.
How much of Agent Fox’s personality represents your own personality?
Agent Fox is cynical, sarcastic, and calculating. I would say if you ask my wife, he is a mirror image of me. I did try to give him a real personality and the one I know best is mine. I wanted to give my target audience, soldiers and veterans, a character they can relate to. Not the agents you see on the NCIC or CSI TV shows, but the type that come home from a war, are tired, have problems at home but still have to go on everyday and keep serving their country. So I hope it comes through to the readers.
Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
Of course! Without wanting to sound to political, the simple message is, we as a nation need to take a step back and see if the road we are traveling is the one we really want to be on. And I hope the big take away from my story is that sometimes a soldier can believe he is doing everything right, following every order he is given and still be wrong.
Are you working on a follow up project?
Dereliction of Duty is actually the first in a series of three novels I started. Number two and three are still in rough draft but I hope to have number two released sometime in 2011.
Can you share a little of your current work with us?
I can’t share the next story without spoiling the ending of Dereliction of Duty. But, there will be a preview in the back of the book when it is released. But starting April 5, I will be posting excerpts from Dereliction of Duty on my website at www.jonrenaud.com.
Do you see writing as a career?
No, if I thought of writing as work, I probably would not enjoy it as much. Also, if I had to try to live off of my writing, I would not be able to donate the proceeds to wonderful organizations like the Wounded Warrior Project.
Of all the non-profit organizations out there, why did you choose the Wounded Warrior project to donate your share of the profits for your book?
During my last tour in Iraq, I was assigned as the Personal Security Officer to General George Casey. Every time he traveled back to Washington he made it a point to visit the soldiers recovering at Walter Reed and Bethesda Naval Hospital. Traveling with him on these visits had a very lasting impact on me. The strength of these heroes was incredible and their courage and resilience was something I admired. The Wounded Warrior Project is dedicated to helping these heroes get their life back. It was just a natural fit.
I also know there are a lot of other great veteran charities out there working just as hard as the WWP and that is why I plan to select a different charity for each book I release. So, I hope Dereliction of Duty is a big success and creates and interest in the follow-ups.
What advice would you give to veterans returning home from the war?
Take all the time you need and accept the help that your family and friends offer. Seeking help is not a sign of weakness, it is a sign of strength.
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