I am honored to salute former NCIS/DEA Special Agent David Munson. His career is both inspiring and interesting as it spanned three agencies, as he also worked for the FBI as a liaison.
How did you become an NCIS Special Agent? Those familiar with CBS’ popular TV series “NCIS” know Leroy Jethro Gibbs was a Special Agent with Naval Investigative Service, which was later renamed as Naval Criminal Investigative Service. Some might remember that as the squad leader, Supervisory Special Agent Gibbs worked a case with Secret Service Special Agent Kate Todd. Her agency objected to her being involved with NIS, and Gibbs recruited her away from Secret Service.
Something similar happened to me. In college, I worked for the FBI with the understanding that upon graduation I would be at the top of the list of applicants to be an FBI Special Agent. Because I did liaison work for the FBI, I met weekly with NIS/NCIS. They recruited me to begin working for them as a Special Agent while still working on my bachelor degree. Like Gibbs, as an NIS/NCIS Special Agent, we were involved in counterintelligence and investigated felony crimes committed by sailors and marines. I conducted their background investigations for security clearances. After five years, I was recruited away by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), where I served as a Special Agent, an undercover Special Agent, and a Supervisory Special Agent. I am thankful for God’s protection in so many dangerous and violent situations.
What were your duties? All NIS/NCIS Special Agents are civilians. When investigations result in a criminal suspect, results are presented through the military chain of command and charges are filed as required under the Uniform Code of Military Justice. The jury is made up of military personnel. We S/As with DEA investigated drug smuggling and drug distribution organizations that dealt in wholesale quantities of controlled substances (even pot in hundred pounds or tons). Evidence was presented to Federal Grand Juries and trials held in Federal Courts.
What was the training and prep? The job as a special agent requires a four-year college degree. Once hired, basic training classes vary from eight to eighteen weeks, including physical training, evidence collection, interviewing and interrogation techniques, report writing, courtroom testifying, undercover tactics, etc. NCIS S/As are trained at Federal Law Enforcement Training Center (FLETC) in Georgia. DEA S/A’s are trained at Quantico Marine Corp Base in Virginia.
What did you like most about serving? The most enjoyable thing about my career was knowing I was engaged in a battle of wits with unsavory persons and I had the ability to ruin their day (or entire life) all while protecting society from criminals. It was a dangerous, but exciting career. A real adrenalin rush. A good idea of what the work was like is depicted in our second novel, Confirming Justice. In this thriller, an FBI agent and a DEA agent are involved in smuggling nearly a ton of cocaine from Colombia to Florida with a twin engine aircraft. It is inspired by one of my undercover cases and is very realistic. Each of our 8 novels reveal cases or events from our careers, which is why we call our thrillers ‘factional fiction.’
What prompted you to serve? As I mentioned earlier, I was working around FBI agents while majoring in business in college. Once I saw the things they did, I decided that was the job for me.
What was some of the greatest challenges you faced? When working for the Federal government, most assignments are in larger cities, and the government will send you where ever they find the need. Those assignments are often far away from where one grew up and far away from family. It means making new friends, then being transferred to another area of the country. As a Christian, the fellowship of other believers and the strength and guidance from God, compensate for the drawbacks.
What was the most rewarding experience? After many months of infiltrating a cocaine smuggling gang, more months of court room testimony, I heard the jury come back with a verdict of “Guilty!” It happened again and again over the years.
What is your advice to someone thinking about serving their country? Many people I have talked to about my career like the sound of it, but don’t want the danger involved. To these folks, I suggest they pursue a career as an ‘intelligence analyst’ or as they are called in some agencies, ‘intelligence research specialist.’ This career involves reviewing reports and intelligence memos, all to develop leads and associations between criminals. These leads are referred to military or civilian law enforcement. It’s less dangerous and has more regular work hours. Go for it!
THANK YOU DAVID MUNSON FOR YOUR SERVICE!
Today David Munson and his wife Diane, a former Assistant to US Attorney, co-write a series of Christian suspense novels.
Stolen Legacy, by Diane and David Munson, tells the daunting tale of Germany invading Holland, and the heroes who dare to resist by hiding Jews. Federal agent Eva Montanna stops protecting America long enough to visit her grandfather’s farm and help write a memoir of his dangerous time under Nazi control. Eva is shocked to uncover a plot to harm Grandpa Marty. Memories are tested as secrets from Marty’s time in the Dutch resistance and later service in the Monuments Men of the U.S. Army fuel this betrayal. The Munsons’ eighth thriller unveils priceless relics and a stolen legacy, forever changing Eva’s life and her faith.