Lt. Col. Joel Burdette graduated from Tallassee High School in 1989. He attended Auburn University on an NROTC scholarship. After receiving a bachelor’s degree in aviation management in 1993, he was commissioned a Second Lieutenant in the U.S. Marine Corps and transferred to Quantico, Virginia for entry-level officer training and graduated from the Basic School class 5-93.
Burdette was then assigned to Marine Corps Communication Electronics School (MCCES) and graduated from Air Defense Control Officer Course (ADCOC) 2-94 with the 7210 Military Occupational Specialty (MOS). After Air Schools, he was assigned to MACS-6, Cherry Point, North Carolina and served there in various billets to include Watch Commander, Tactical Air Operations Center (TAOC) Officer and Assistant Operations Officer.
Burdette transferred from MACS-6 to Air Schools in 29 Palms, California as an Air Defense Training Section (ADTS) instructor in Dec 97. He served as an instructor and then as OIC of the ADTS. He attained a senior instructor rating while at Air Schools and was promoted to captain. He was then selected to attend Amphibious Warfare School.
Upon completion of AWS in May 2001, he was assigned to MACS-1, Yuma, Arizona. He was promoted to major (designated as MOS 7202) and served as the TAOC Detachment Commander there until July 2004. He then reported to Maxwell Air Force Base at the Air Command and Staff College and graduated in June 2005 earning a master’s degree in military operational art and science.
Major Burdette then transferred to Quantico and served as the Marine Air Ground Task Force (MAGTF) Staff Training Program Aviation Combat Element (ACE) Section instructor and OIC preparing the Marine Expeditionary Forces in support of OEF and OIF. He then transferred in July 2008 to U.S. Marine Forces Command in Norfolk where he was promoted to the rank of lieutenant colonel and served in the G-3/5/7 for Marine Aviation Current Operations.
Burdette then served as the Commanding Officer of 2d LAAD Bn in Cherry Point from Dec. 16, 2010 to Aug. 31, 2012. He last served in the 2d MAW G-3 Operations section prior to retirement June 30, 2013.
Burdette has graduated numerous MOS schools to include TopGun 04-97, Weapons and Tactics Instructor Course 2-98 (MOS 7277), Marine Division Tactics Course, Joint Aerospace Command and Control Course, Joint Tactical Information Distribution Systems Joint Interoperability Course, Multi-Tactical Digital Information Link Advanced Joint Interoperability Course, Network Design and System Management Course, and Joint Interface Control Officer (JICO) Course 00-03. He has participated in numerous exercises to include working with the Royal Air Force in the Netherlands where he was designated a JICO during Joint Project Optic Windmill-5. He has attained all qualifications within the TAOC to include Senior Air Director (SAD), Senior Air Defense Commander Operations Officer (SADC Ops) Officer and Senior Air Defense Commander (SADC). He has had two successful combat tours. He supported Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Southern Watch in Afghanistan and Saudi Arabia respectively from Dec 01 - May 02 as a JICO and Joint Interface Control Cell Detachment Commander. He led the TAOC Det to Kuwait and Iraq in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom from 15 Jan 03 through June 2003.
Burdette’s decorations include the Meritorious Service Medal with two gold stars, Joint Service Commendation Medal, Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal with two gold stars, Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal with gold star, Presidential Unit Citation, Joint Meritorious Unit Award, National Defense Service Medal with bronze star, Armed Forces Expeditionary Service Medal, Afghanistan Campaign Medal, Iraq Campaign Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, the Sea Service Deployment ribbon with bronze star and the United States Coast Guard Meritorious Team Commendation ribbon.
Since 1994, Burdette has been happily married to the former Stephanie Harrison of Tallassee. They are the proud parents of sons Joseph (18) and Luke (15). Of note, their son Joseph is currently serving our country, active duty in the United States Coast Guard. They are also actively involved in local ministry through Grace Point Community Church in Wetumpka.
Since retirement, he has pursued opportunities in the healthcare industry as the executive director and administrator of multiple senior living and memory care facilities.
He also served for a year as Commandant of Cadets at Lyman Ward Military Academy. He is the current chairman of The Connection Foundation (501c3) and is also currently serving as viice president of leadership and development for Community Eldercare Services, based in Tupelo, Mississippi, with skilled nursing and assisted living facilities across Mississippi, Tennessee and Alabama.