Oliver Laurence North (born October 7, 1943) is a former United States Marine Corps Lieutenant Colonel, political commentator, television host, military historian, and New York Times best-selling author. North was at the center of national attention during the Iran–Contra affair, a political scandal of the late 1980s. North was a National Security Council staff member involved in the clandestine sale of weapons to Iran, which served to encourage the release of U.S. hostages from Lebanon. North formulated the second part of the plan: diverting proceeds from the arms sales to support the Contra rebel groups in Nicaragua (funding to the Contras had been prohibited under the Boland Amendment amidst widespread public opposition in the U.S. and controversies surrounding human rights abuses by the Contras). He is currently the host of War Stories with Oliver North on Fox News Channel.
North was born in San Antonio, Texas, the son of Ann Theresa (née Clancy) and Oliver Clay North, a US Army major. He grew up in Philmont, New York, and graduated from Ockawamick High School in 1961. He attended State University of New York at Brockport in Brockport, New York, for two years.
While at Brockport, North spent a summer at the United States Marine Corps Platoon Leaders Class at Marine Corps Base Quantico, Virginia, and gained an appointment to the United States Naval Academy in 1963. He received his commission as second lieutenant in 1968 (he missed a year due to injuries from an auto accident). One of North's classmates at the Academy was former Secretary of the Navy and current U.S. Senator Jim Webb. Although a heavy underdog, North beat Webb in a championship boxing match at Annapolis.