Possessing a formative intrigue with aviation from the age of 9, Robert C. Mikesh was recognized for building model airplanes during his early years. Entering the military as a commissioned second lieutenant in the United States Air Force in 1950, he subsequently advanced through the grades to major by 1963. In 1970, he retired from the Air Force and began a tenure as a museum curator at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Air and Space Museum in Washington, D.C., a position he held until 1991. Congruent to this role, he was also a senior curator in aeronautics at the Smithsonian Institution from 1983 to 1991.
Following his resignation from the Smithsonian Institution, Mr. Mikesh served as the owner and manager of R. Mikesh & Associates in Temple Hills, Maryland, for several years. In the present day, he is acclaimed for his expertise in aviation history, as well as his reputation as a noteworthy writer. Since the early 1960s, Mr. Mikesh has authored more than 23 books on aviation history with respect to World War I and World War II, particularly involving Japanese aircrafts. Several of his books have been translated into Japanese, and he has further contributed more than 140 articles to various publications.
Currently, Mr. Mikesh maintains membership with the advisory board of the United States Air Force Museum since 1996, has sat on the board of directors of the World War I Aero Publication since 1992 and has been a trustee of the Bristol Heritage Collection since 1997. Holding a private pilot license for many decades, he previously pursued coursework at Iowa State College in the mid-1940s prior to commencing his military career. In recognition of his military prowess, he was honored with a Decorated Distinguished Flying Cross with Oak Leaf Cluster and an Air Medal with Thirteen Oak Leaf Clusters.
Married to the late Ramona Louise Barton for 52 years, Mr. Mikesh is the proud father of two sons, Michael Robert and Christopher James. He has also eight grandchildren. Following in their father’s footsteps, Mr. Mikesh’s sons were both involved in aviation for a period of time, and Mr. Mikesh’s wife was also a pilot. In his spare time, he enjoys piloting aircrafts, writing for aviation books and magazines, model building and photography.