Single Harness: Your neighbor’s memoir…you just never know.
JACKSON HOLE, Wyo., Oct. 5th, 2015 — For 24 years, he was part of an elite military unit you’ve never heard of . . . and probably never officially will. Now he is the last living member of the team, and he is telling his story — or at least the parts of it he hasn’t sworn to take with him to the grave.
He is Millard Avon Gregory, and of course that is a pen name. His story is Single Harness© (hardback ISBN 978-1-4969-0007-1, AuthorHouse, available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and AuthorHouse).
Subtitled “Your Neighbor’s Memoir . . . You Just Never Know,” Single Harness is a collection of vignettes carved from Gregory’s time in the unit that prove truth is stranger than fiction.
Gregory touches only briefly on the unit itself: six teams of three men, trained to go into the world’s strongholds where ruthless dictators took refuge and where death squads terrorized their own people throughout the ’60s, ’70s and ’80s, and adjust the course of history. Gregory initially volunteered for the Army during the Vietnam War, but the recruiters had other ideas. “We don’t think you’ll pull good in double harness,” the sergeant who was interviewing Gregory told him, and with that, Gregory’s life — and those of countless other people who were liberated from violence by Gregory’s unit over the years– were irrevocably changed.
The unit itself would undoubtedly provide enough material to fill a book, if Gregory were inclined to spill his secrets. But it is the time between the missions, when Gregory lived the life of a civilian and built and sold several businesses as his “cover” career that provides the meat of Single Harness.
The author pulls very few punches when it comes to this part of his life, bringing the reader along on a Mexican jailbreak (one of his Team Members, who Gregory dubs “DR”, landed himself in hot water after a dalliance with a police chief’s mistress south of the border, so Gregory and his other Team Member, “Marlboro Man”, sprung DR and the three hightailed it back onto U.S. soil); a night living like royalty in a five-star hotel in San Francisco thanks to some quick thinking and a cheap costume rental; and through the building of four successful businesses — one of which Gregory won in a back-room backgammon game. He even tells how the boulder really came to be in the top of that tree.
Now 70, Gregory offers only a few details about the effects of his years of service. He speaks of lost sleep and faces he can’t forget and scars that don’t seem fully healed. But overall, Single Harness is a fun romp through the ‘60s and ‘70s and ‘80s, topped off with stories from the author’s childhood in rural Indiana and presented with a good dose of dry humor. Readers are sure to be entertained. “[Millard is] a strong writer, using Hemingway-like terseness but also showing a fondness for jocular understatement that barely conceals the violence of which he is capable,” wrote Kirkus Review. “[Single Harness is] a riveting glimpse of extraordinary measures; ethically speaking, the reader will be the judge.”
In order to continue protecting his identity, Gregory will not participate in face-to-face interviews or a book tour in association with the publication of Single Harness, but he is open to radio, podcast, and print interviews. Readers interested in learning more about the book can visit SingleHarness.com, which features audio interviews with the author and a blog run by a friend of Gregory. Originally written as a surprise for Gregory’s now-86-year-old colonel, it is dedicated to the other 17 members of Gregory’s unit. Single Harness is now available in hard cover, soft cover, and ebook editions.
Contact: Jim Baughman President MCT, Inc
Representing Millard A. Gregory
I am fortunate to be a long-time friend of this author. I know his sense of honor, his bravery and his fearless character. Single Harness is a wonderfully entertaining account of his (not uneventful) life. It is also the amazing story of what happened after he answered his Country’s call. Huge thanks to a courageous man for finally telling his story. It is a beautifully written and exciting account of what can be–and at times must be–accomplished by brave men, even when doing so is difficult, dangerous and their lives are on the line.
“Single Harness allows you to be a voyeur into the everyday lives of active covert operatives; those who make a difference in the lives of people we can’t help! A world we never knew existed. The reader then has to peer into their everyday life encounters and decide which ones are the operatives, as they walk among us. Exceptional people, with humble backgrounds, it just may be your neighbor.”
Not too many generations ago Americans knew what single harness meant. It referred to an animal – usually a horse – being of strength and temperament to function alone. The term was also applied to people and it referred to “character”. Being of skill, strength, and character sufficient to function alone: what a concept. But this ability is far the more unusual when there is risk to life and limb. And in the author’s life, there was grave risk.
I have the true honor of knowing the author. A man of character. Of strength. Of intelligence. Of humor. A hero. In “Single Harness”.
This is a saga by one member of a Special Team who, at their government’s request, helped right international wrongs and save lives while living quiet lives at home. Absolutely spellbinding!
E. A. Werling
A brief, between-the-lines memoir by a former government operative living with memories of covert missions he doesn’t talk about because he’s still sworn to secrecy.
Now approaching 70, debut author Gregory is, by his own account, the sole survivor of 18 elite special team members handpicked by the military and extensively trained in survival techniques, covert action and the lethal arts. Details of what he and his teammates Marlboro and DR did on these missions are necessarily vague, but they seem to have been carried out in the mid- to late 1960s into the 1970s, in Southeast Asia and in Central and South America. Between missions, Gregory—an Indiana native who dropped out of college to enlist at a time when the war in Vietnam was raging and many in his generation were doing everything they could to oppose it and avoid the draft—became a successful entrepreneur and worked variously as a salesman and business owner. He also emerges as a daredevil, a not-so-merry prankster, and a fairly heavy social drinker able to make friends and decisions fast. At his core, though, is a single-harness loner most at home in the wilderness. A subtheme of the book is that it’s impossible to know whether the older guy quietly living next door once did extraordinary things; maybe you don’t really want to know. Readers are also asked to understand that, in Gregory’s case, these things were done for this country and always to the perceived benefit of people elsewhere trapped in horrific circumstances. “We knew without anyone saying it that we would be able to make a difference in the lives of people who no one else could help,” he writes. And if the job was done right, no one would know they had even been there. Gregory has no regrets, he says, but he goes to bed after 3 a.m. to avoid dreams of bad guys and memories of how they looked the moment they realized what was about to happen to them. He’s a strong writer, using Hemingway-like terseness but also showing a fondness for jocular understatement that barely conceals the violence of which he is capable.
A riveting glimpse of extraordinary measures; ethically speaking, the reader will be the judge.
Kirkus Indie, Kirkus Media LLC, 6411 Burleson Rd., Austin, TX firstname.lastname@example.org
It is not too often you hear about a man that lived a special life. You then hear he wrote a book about that life, then you get to meet the man that lived that special life. How blessed I feel to get the opportunity to read an amazing life story, then shake hands with the man who has sacrificed so much to say that a sweet aunt I know sacrificed more. All because he decided to begin a fitness plan after many injuries. All lives are special. He makes you feel that way and want to be that way. He is a truly special person that may live next door. You just never know.
This is an amazing peek into the life of a great American. When you read this book, it makes you think about our heros that never receive the public appreciation they deserve. I hope there is more to come from this author as he obviously sacrificed a great deal for the rest of us…..it would be good for the rest of his story to be told even though his real identity may remain unknown.