He joined the USMC in 1961 and received a commission as an officer in the Marine Corps upon graduation from college. He was a Naval Aviator flying helicopters and left active duty with the rank of Captain. He also flew the Presidential helicopter for three and a half years.
He retired from the Marine Corps Reserves as a Colonel after 30 years of service. He saw considerable combat in Vietnam, earning 34 Air Medals and 2 Purple Hearts. He was recalled to active duty for Desert Storm.
John C. Astle was a popular and influential Maryland State Senator. He was elected to the State Senate in 1994. He is semi retired and lives in Annapolis.