John Burwell Wilkes has had a varied career as an attorney, judge, and airline executive while maintaining a parallel military career with the United States Marine Corps. He earned a B.A. in English from Vanderbilt University in 1965 and entered Officer Candidate School before serving a tour of duty in Viet Nam where he commanded an artillery battery in combat and was awarded a Bronze Star w/ “V.”
After release from active duty, Wilkes remained in the reserve program and returned to Vanderbilt Law School for his JD degree in 1972 and earned his pilot’s license in 1973. As a reserve officer, he commanded an artillery battalion and held important positions in the Marine Corps Combat Readiness program. His military background and civilian positions resulted in many contacts and associations with the intelligence community. Colonel Wilkes retired from the Marine Corps in 1996. He then became active in the Air Force Auxiliary and served as a mission check pilot and Commander of the Mississippi Wing of the Civil Air Patrol. In civilian life, Wilkes has served as Executive VP of Capital International Airways, an international passenger carrier, CEO of Buffalo Airways, an international cargo carrier, and Executive VP of an airplane leasing company in Ireland. The associated worldwide travel, personal contacts with military, corporate leadership, and international figure heads all play into the characterization and plot of his novel. Wilkes resides seasonally on the Mississippi Gulf Coast and Michigan’s west coast as an active boater and past district commander of the United States Power Squadrons. His hobbies are flying and singing American and Irish folk songs accompanied by his guitar.