Robert Young Pelton, Writer
Author and filmmaker Robert Young Pelton is renown for overcoming extraordinary obstacles in his continued search for the truth. Pelton’s career consists of bypassing media, border guards, and military groups with the purpose of getting to the heart of the story. In his travels to and through the world’s most dangerous places, Pelton shares risks with his hosts and is often the sole surviving witness to history-shaping events. His recent journeys have taken him inside the siege of Grozny in Chechnya and to the battle of Qala-I-Jangi in Afghanistan. He was present at the rebel campaign to take Monrovia in Liberia, and accompanied the CIA in the hunt for Bin Laden in Pakistan’s tribal areas. He kept company with insurgents during the war in Iraq, and spent four weeks with Blackwater, in the RPG Alley in Baghdad.
Pelton is also known for penetrating many of the world’s most dangerous terrorist, rebel, and paramilitary organizations. His goal as a neutral observer and accurate chronicler of events has earned him access to all sides of many wars, including being the solitary journalist in combat operations with US Special Forces in Afghanistan and other covert military groups.
Pelton’s travels have not been without penalty. He has been kidnapped by right wing death squads in Colombia, survived both a plane crash in Indonesia and a head-on motorcycle accident in Peru, and gracefully endured numerous detainments and attacks.
His access to forbidden areas has allowed Pelton to return home with unforgettable interviews and footage, which he uses to write his articles, documentaries, and books. People around the globe were introduced to just one of the many characters from his travels when his world exclusive interview with American Taliban member, John Walker Lindh, was aired on CNN.
In addition to his work as Contributing Editor at National Geographic Adventure, Pelton has worked for Discovery Channel, National Geographic Channel, ABC News, CBS 60 Minutes, CNN, and other major media networks. His unique perspective, insight, and humor have made him a popular guest on news networks and entertainment shows, ranging from Oprah to NPR. As an author, Pelton is best known for his classic underground guide to surviving danger: Robert Young Pelton’s The World’s Most Dangerous Places (Harper Collins), now in its fifth edition. His other books include Come Back Alive (Random House), his intense autobiography, The Adventurist (Broadway Books), and Three Worlds Gone Mad (Lyons Press), a book about the people he met while involved in three separate wars. His most recent works include Licensed to Kill: Hired Guns in the War on Terror, a book about mercenaries and private contractors (Crown Publishers), and Raven (Penguin), a YA story based on his early childhood.
Want to know more about Robert Young Pelton? Check out his autobiography, The Adventurist.
Billy Waugh, War Hero
Sergeant Major (SGM) William "Billy" Waugh (US Army-Ret.) (born December 1, 1929), is a highly decorated American Special Forces soldier and a Central Intelligence Agency Paramilitary Operations Officer who served in the United States military and CIA special operations for more than fifty years. SGM Waugh served in the U.S. Army's elite Green Berets and the CIA's famed Special Activities Division.
Doc White, Ret. Naval Aviator and Oceanographer
Doc was born in Raleigh, North Carolina on 25 December 1946. He spent much of his youth sailing and exploring the Outer Banks of his home state. While visiting Key West in 1958, Doc began what was to become a life-long passion, scuba diving.
Upon graduation from the University of North Carolina in 1968, Doc was commissioned in the United States Navy. In 1969 he was given command of a patrol craft fast, better known as a swift boat. During 1969 and 1970, Doc worked with Special Operations in the Mekong Delta and on the Cambodian border of Vietnam. These operations were productive, but dangerous. Doc was wounded three times and awarded two Bronze Stars for valor, the Purple Heart, the Cross of Gallantry, and the Navy Commendation Medal for Valor.
In August of 1972, Doc was assigned to Naval Flight School. On December 7, 1973 he received his wings and designated a fighter pilot at NAS Miramar in San Diego, California. Doc flew the F-4 Phantom with Fighter Squadron 154. While with VF 154, Doc made Double Centurion on the aircraft carrier USS Ranger. Later assigned as an adversary pilot, Doc flew with VF 126 and, on occasion, Naval Fighter Weapons Scholl, better known as Topgun. His primary job was training pilots in aerial combat.
Though a pilot, Doc’s love of the sea and photography were never far away. After leaving the Navy and a short career as a pilot with Continental Airlines, Doc started a charter dive operation in San Diego, California. During subsequent years, Doc has designed, constructed and operated two vessels, the 54-foot Mirage and the 85-foot Mystique. His operations have taken him to Australia, New Guinea, Sri Lanka, the Galapagos, Alaska, Baja California, the Arctic, Caribbean, and the Mediterranean.
During that time, Doc has provided support and expertise for many television shows and documentaries, including NBC’s “Oceanquest”, “Wild Kingdom”, “Sea Trek”, “National Geographic”, “PM Magazine”, “In the Wild”, with Christopher Reeve, and ABC’s Blue Whale Special. Doc’s blue whale image has been judged one of the best 25 underwater images ever taken.
Professionally, Doc is an air transport pilot, multi-engine land; ship’s master 500 tons all oceans; and dive master. He is a member of the San Diego Yacht Club and Explorer’s Club.
Doc works with his wife Ceci. They specialize in the photography of marine mammals, including whales, pinnipeds, and polar bears. Doc donates his time and images in support of environmental groups and causes that protect the world’s oceans.