- Enlisted in the U.S. Marines at age 19; was wounded three times (and received a Bronze Star) during three tours of duty in Vietnam.
- Was a public-affairs officer in Beirut when the Marine base there was attacked by terrorists in 1983; retired from the USMC as a captain in 1984.
- Trained anti-communist guerrillas in Nicaragua and El Salvador while writing for Soldier of Fortune magazine in 1984-85.
- Founded Warriors, Inc., a company offering military advice to filmmakers, in 1985. First client: Oliver Stone, for Platoon (the first of seven Stone collaborations).
- All told, has advised on more than 40 movies and TV shows, including Saving Private Ryan, Band of Brothers, The Pacific,The Thin Red Line, and Forrest Gump.
- Has acted in many of the films he advised on, as well in as such TV series as L.A. Law, JAG, Chuck, Cold Case and Entourage.
- Hosted a talk show on KFI radio in Los Angeles from 2003 to 2010.
- Has published numerous novels, including a novelization of Platoon.
- Son Chris is a member of the rock band The Fire Violets.