In Detach and Target, Lt. Col. Trevor Burke is one of the two team leaders dispatched to Jordan to confront an emerging terrorist threat. He’s on the cusp of the greatest achievement of his career, taking command of the 2nd Marine Raiders Battalion after an intensive training period at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, where he is put to the test in sometimes unexpected ways.

Q&A with Lt. Col. Trevor Burke

How would you describe yourself?

I’m driven. I pride myself on giving the perfect effort to everything I attempt. That means I give 110% or I don’t give at all. Half ass efforts give half ass results. I don’t know any other way.

I can see that in you. So what are some things that you strongly believe in?

(Laughs) I’m a warrior, and I believe in a warrior’s ethos. I will always put the mission first. I will never accept defeat. I will never quit. I will never leave a fallen brother behind.

What gets you through the Op tempo and deployments?

In tough situations I power through with sarcasm, sick humor, and drawing. A guy in my unit got a leg blown off. When I visited during rehab he asked, “Do you think Nike will sell me one shoe or at least charge me half price?” My gut was torn up, but he wanted me to draw a caricature of him to include in a letter to Nike, so I did. While that sounds fucked up to outsiders, it’s how we cope with harsh realities.

You recently lost Marine. Does that keep you up at night?

(Squares his shoulders) No. Don’t get me wrong, it hurts like hell to lose a brother. We all volunteered to defend this country. Most of us would rather die in the fight than any other way. I think my worst nightmare is not being able to protect those who can’t protect themselves. Nothing pisses me off more than taking advantage of our elders, children, and the weak. Terrorist do this without a second thought.

Will we ever defeat terrorism?

(Burke leans forward with his elbows on his knees) In 1945, our President had the courage to end Japan’s reign of terror. We conquered that nation and took away their will to fight. At the time, Japan’s Emperor was worshiped the way Muslims worship Allah. When we took away their will to fight, we gave them the will to focus on building a prosperous nation. When politicians decide that conquering the terrorist is more important than being reelected, then was can defeat terrorism. We have to break their will to fight.

I agree that if politicians put more effort into the issues versus their reelection progress could be made. But you seem to have a bitter taste in your mouth regarding politicians?

(Sinister grin) No, sir. I have no opinion on politics. My Commander in Chief is my leader. When I retire, I’ll have an opinion.

How do you relax after work?

Working out relieves stress. Drawing allows me to create. But, it’s flying that lets me escape and relax. (Leans back in his chair) There are moments in the sky when it’s just you, the clouds, and peace with the world.

Do you have a favorite book or movie?

I grew up watching old WWII and westerns with my dad. John Wayne was my childhood hero. But the one movie that I continue to watch is The Quiet Man. In the movie, John Wayne’s character is looking for his place in the world. He’s trying to put his violent past behind him and make a life with his new wife. (He pauses and laughs) And she is a pistol! Head strong, independent, and has standards that are almost impossible for him meet. (Burke holds his hands up as if looking for mercy)

Headstrong, independent, and with high standards. That sounds like Dr. McKay. Could art imitate your life Colonel?

(The smile drops from his face and he stands with an outstretched hand) It’s been a pleasure talking with you. Good luck with the rest of the team.