Oliver Laurence North was born in San Antonio, Texas and raised in Philmont, New York. He enrolled in the U.S. Naval Academy in 1962, but was not commissioned as a Marine Officer until 1968; he missed some time due to injuries sustained in an automobile accident.After his commission, he served in the Vietnam War as a platoon leader; as commanding officer of the Marine Corps' Northern Training Area (now Camp Gonsalves) in Okinawa, Japan, as a jungle warfare tactics trainer/instructor; at Marine Headquarters in Arlington, Virginia, and as operations officer of 3rd Marine Battalion, 8th Marine Regiment, 2nd Marine Div., Camp Lejeune, North Carolina.After graduating from the Command and Staff course at Newport, Rhode Island, he was assigned to the National Security Council (part of President Ronald Reagan's Cabinet) in 1981.North's most publicized assignment at NSC was to aid in negotiations for the Contras, a fighting force that was attempting to prevent a Communist regime, the Sandinistas, from taking power in Nicaragua. That led to his highly-publicized involvement in what came to be known as the Iran-Contra affair. North was the point man in a complicated trade-off that involved the sale of arms to Iran in exchange for the release of American hostages being held in Lebanon, then diverting the funds from those sales to aid the Contras in their fight to overthrow the Sandinista government.President Reagan fired North from his position in 1986 for allegedly acting without approval from his superiors. North testified under immunity in 1987 that his bosses, including President Reagan himself, knew everything that was going on with the negotiations and that he never once acted without prior approval from his superiors. His refusal to take the fall for the failed plan earned him a tremendous amount of nationwide support, along with many detractors who thought he acted on his own as an out-of-control maverick. For a time, the nation was swept with "Olliemania" during the trials, and with good reason.North retired from the Marine Corps in 1989 and is still very much in the public eye. His books include "Under Fire" and "Mission Compromised". In 1994, he was defeated by Chuck Robb in a bid for the U.S. Senate, representing Virginia. He hosted "War Stories with Oliver North" on Fox News Channel from 2001 to 2016.Oliver North is both lauded by some as a hero who stood up for his convictions and served his country and his government faithfully and ridiculed by others as a liar and lawbreaker.
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