| GARY WILKINS |
* ABOUT THE AUTHOR - Biography *
Gary Wilkins' family is descended from the British colonist Bray Wilkins, who reached the Colonies in 1614 (or somewhen thereabouts), settling in Salem Township, Massachusetts. Bray was a well-established resident, and his family was involved in the witch trials that took place during Bray's later years. Among Bray's eventual decendants some 270-odd years later, is the Author.
Gary grew up in a suburb south of Boston, where he became fascinated with the military in general (and the Wehrmacht in particular) at about age 7, or 8, after discovering old episodes of the early 60's TV series "Combat!". Already a voracious reader, he immediately hit his local library in a search for any WWII history books they possessed - and discovered German Tiger and Panther tanks, and German Panzer Divisions. The resulting fascination with tanks and Armored warfare predetermined two future occupations: service as an Armor Officer, and the job of researching / writing about the German Military. His other two favorite subjects - the Roman Army, and Native American peoples - also came of age at this time.
His military career included positions as a Tank Platoon Leader; Tank Company XO (i.e., Executive Officer) and Battalion S-3 [Air] officer for 2-77 Armor Batallion; he also served for 18 months in the Republic of Korea, first as XO of Combat Support Company (CSC), 2-72 ARMOR; then Assistant S-1 of 1st Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division (Tong-Du-Chon, Korea), and finally as a Protocol Officer with 8th U.S. Army Headquarters in Yongsan Garrison, Seoul.
After this tour he returned stateside and subsequently left Military duty, though he returned once again to Asia (as a civilian) - this time to Japan - where he taught English and German to Japanese students (and taught himself conversational Japanese while there).
After Japan he went back to Korea and worked in a teaching position with a private language school, cohosted a Korean educational English TV show, and worked as the English editorial consultant for the Korea National Stock Exchange's International Department before joining the international sales team of "Kumho Chemicals" - (part of the Kumho conglomerate that also includes Kumho tires and Aseana Airlines) as the first foreign employee to ever serve at the company's head office in Seoul. He then returned to the U.S.
Through all this time, his interest in WWII Militaria - especially German military headgear - never lessened, and he was even able to conduct some investigative inquiries while overseas. Back in the U.S. he began the intensive research and correspondence required to write his first book, "The Collector's Guide to Cloth Third Reich Military Headgear", published in 2002. His second publication "AFRIKAKORPS: Rommel's Tropical Army in Original Color" (December 2004), is actually his first book as translator (with author - and son of an Afrikakorps Vet - Bernd Peitz). He also assisted Pat Spayd as co-editor of the book "Bayerlein: After Action Reports of the Panzer Lehr Division Commander from D-Day to the Ruhr" (Part of Pat's multi-volume series on Generalleutnant Bayerlein), released in November 2005.
Gary works as a civilian for Uncle Sam and has become a permanent resident of North Carolina where he lives with his guitars and his trusty old pal (a 17-year old Chihuahua) named Geppi.