(Stars and Stripes)

Former Army aviator and FBI agent and New York Times bestselling author Don Bentley chatted last week with Military Matters co-host Rod Rodriguez about how his service experiences have shaped his fiction writing.

In this Fast Take episode, Rodriguez and co-host Jack Murphy examine how thrillers — such as Bentley’s Matt Drake series or the novels he has written in the Tom Clancy universe — relate to real-world military missions and special operations.

“This is where leadership and folks in decision-making positions, I believe, should be reading books like this,” Rodriguez said. “They should be reading Tom Clancy, they should be reading Matt Drake and Brad Thor books, but with a certain clarity. Not that this is like, these are plausible plots, but kind of like G-2ing these plots. Like, well, if that were real, how would you handle that? How would you realistically use the assets that you have to approach those situations?”

The key phrase there is “plausible plots.” Murphy warned that these stories can create “absurd ideas about military or espionage capabilities.”

“Like even to run a special op — like a special operations mission, not covertly, like just an overt special ops mission, like a Bin Laden raid or something like that, whatever the case may be — man, we have to deploy like half of the freaking Air Force to do some of those ops,” Murphy said. “… I did a story recently that includes some stuff about the recent evacuation from Sudan, and it was pretty easy to get all the JSOC package — you know, the guys who were on standby, get them all over there. But to get all the enablers and all the aircraft we needed for the mission took like a week.”

You can find Military Matters on Twitter @stripesmmpod.

Follow Jack Murphy on Twitter @jackmurphyrgr and Rod Rodriguez @rodpodrod.

A transcript of the episode can be found here.

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Brian McElhiney is a digital editor and occasional reporter for Stars and Stripes. He has worked as a music reporter and editor for publications in New Hampshire, Vermont, New York and Oregon. One of his earliest journalistic inspirations came from reading Stars and Stripes as a kid growing up in Okinawa, Japan.

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