Turk Madden is a freelance pilot.
He makes his sometimes lucrative but ofttimes scant living as a tramp aviator flying, preferably, a Grumman amphibian plane large enough to haul a respectable amount of cargo or a half dozen passengers all round the Pacific. At times he operates in the northern region near Japan on the east and and Vladivostok on the west and at others in the southern off Australia. And when the one-time contracts and his personal whim strikes him, he could be found across the wide expanse of ocean in South America. The point then really is that he is largely itinerant.
Such an occupation would hardly qualify him for membership in the compendium save for the fact that quite often the one-off jobs that he is presented with comes from Intelligence agencies of one nation or another. Lots of vital information can be gleaned from ten thousand feet up and covert agents have to find some way to get to and from their targeted assignments with planes being a whole lot faster than boats. Throw in the fact that usually the nations being spied upon or having their borders violated by infiltrating aircraft loaded with enemy agents and you have the makings for exciting cloak and dagger adventures.
Madden is an American though when was the last time he actually spent any time in the States is a fair question. We first encounter him in the early parts of 1941 and he has already been plying his trade up and down the Pacific rim for a few years with a wide assortment of contacts all over that huge region.
We learn that prior to that he had been under contract to the American government flying mail all around the Eastern Seaboard until a run-in with a mobster trying to "organize all the mail pilots" turned particularly nasty and there was a confrontation that did not end well for the mobster but also soured that region for Madden and he chose a whole different area of the globe to give a try. Interestingly, he apparently traded the small turmoil left in that wake for considerable more turmoil by taking part in the early days of the China Wars as Japan began its expansion.
We do not get told much more about his past but we quickly learn a good deal about the Madden of the present. We discover that he is a tall-ish man of just over six feet weighing around 200 lbs. and in pretty good shape for someone who sits in cockpit most of the time. We are told he enjoys knocking back a few with his pals and no matter if he is in New Caledonia or Western Russian or the Mato Grosso region of Brazil, he will know someone well enough to share a beer or two with. And always there will be a very friendly woman more than happy to ease his tense shoulders.
And there will be a tons of people who would love to separate his head from those shoulders because Madden can find trouble anywhere he goes, and he apparently would not want it any other way.