Oliver North was born on October 7, 1943, in San Antonio, Texas. He entered the U.S. Naval Academy in 1963 and graduated with a commission as a 2ndLt in the U.S. Marine Corps on June 5, 1968. After completing the Basic School, North was sent to Southeast Asia where he served as a Platoon Commander and later as a Liaison Officer with the 3rd Battalion of the 3rd Marine Division in the Republic of Vietnam from November 1968 to November 1969. His next assignment was as an instructor at the Marine Corps Officer Basic School at Quantico, Virginia, where he served from 1969 to 1971, and then as commanding officer of the Marine Corps Northern Training Area on Okinawa, Japan, from 1971 to 1974. North was assigned to Marine Headquarters in Arlington, Virginia, from December 1974 to May 1978, and then served as operations officer for the 3rd Battalion, 8th Marine Regiment, 2nd Marine Division, from June 1978 to July 1980. Maj North next completed Command and Staff College, graduating in June 1981. His next assignment was as the deputy director for political-military affairs with the National Security Council from June 1981 to November 1986. Col North became famous for his involvement in the Iran-Contra Affair and his testimony in Congressional committee hearings to investigate Iran-Contra. He retired from the Marine Corps on April 30, 1988. After his retirement, Oliver North founded the Freedom Alliance in 1990, ran for a Senate seat in Virginia in 1994, became a best-selling author, hosted a radio show, and is currently the host of "War Stories with Oliver North" on the Fox News Channel. He is married to the former Betsy Stuart and they have four children-Tait, Stuart, Sarah, and Dornin.
His Silver Star Citation reads:
For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action while serving as a Platoon Commander with Company K, Third Battalion, Third Marines, Third Marine Division in connection with combat operations against the enemy in the Republic of Vietnam. On 25 May 1969, while Company K was participating in Operation Virginia Ridge near the Demilitarized Zone, the lead platoon came under a heavy volume of machine gun and automatic weapons fire supported by rocket-propelled grenades, directional mines, and mortars. In the initial burst of fire, the platoon commander and point squad leader were seriously wounded. Realizing the need for immediate action, Second Lieutenant North rapidly maneuvered his Second Platoon through the lines of the beleaguered unit and personally initiated an aggressive assault against the North Vietnamese Army emplacement, the momentum of which forced the stunned hostile soldiers to withdraw to another hill and enabled the treatment and evacuation of Marine casualties. After regrouping his forces, he fearlessly led an attack on the enemy's new position, killing one soldier as his men closed with the enemy, and causing the North Vietnamese Army force to retreat to previously prepared entrenchments on the ridgeline. Again reorganizing his men, Second Lieutenant North, with complete disregard for his own safety, assumed the foremost assault position and seemingly oblivious to the intense machine gun fire impacting around him, led his men against the hostile position. As the tempo of the battle increased, casualties mounted, and his unit's ammunition supply became short. Unwilling to unnecessarily risk the lives of his men, he halted the attack and, repeatedly exposing himself to the heavy volume of fire delivered by the determined enemy soldiers, boldly directed the resupply of his platoon and the evacuation of the injured Marines. After skillfully adjusting fixed wing air strikes upon the North Vietnamese Army unit, Second Lieutenant North dauntlessly initiated a fourth assault by his wearied men. Calmly braving the intense fire of the tenacious hostile soldiers, he moved from one Marine to another, directing their fire and exciting them to a last bold effort which, by his valorous perseverance, enabled his men to push the remainder of the North Vietnamese Army force from the ridgeline and to seize the objective. His heroic actions and vigorous efforts inspired all who observed him and contributed significantly to the defeat of the enemy. By his courage, dynamic leadership and unwavering devotion to duty in the face of grave personal danger, Second Lieutenant North upheld the highest traditions of the Marine Corps and of the United States Naval Service.