Ronald Winter, a descendant of Scottish Highlanders, (themselves descendants of Viking raiders,) grew up in the farming country of upstate New York. He gave up an academic scholarship at SUNY Albany in 1966 to join the marines and fight in Vietnam. Winter served as a helicopter machine gunner, flying 300 missions, and earning numerous decorations, including 15 Air Medals, Combat Aircrew Wings, and the Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry. After Vietnam he returned to his studies earning undergraduate degrees in Electrical Engineering and English Literature. In a two-decade journalism career that included stints as investigative reporter, supervising editor, and columnist, Winter received several prestigious awards and a Pulitzer nomination. He currently works as a writer specializing in media relations and is a fierce advocate of veterans' rights. Winter speaks regularly to school and community groups on the history of the Vietnam War.